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By Lilly Bertone
Before we dive deeply into the different terpenes and cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, it’s important to first talk about The Entourage Effect.
Along with THC, the cannabis plant produces over 400 different chemical compounds that include dozens of other cannabinoids like CBD and CBN, and hundreds terpenes like pinene, linalool and myrcene. When the compounds are applied together (whether it’s through smoking, vaping or especially transdermal applications), they work to provide unique effects and benefits.
Think of it like The Beatles. There is no doubt that John, Ringo, George and Paul have had successful solo careers. But they were never as good as when they were creating music together. That’s the entourage effect!
Photo from johnstoskopf.blogspot.co.uk
The entourage effect is a good reminder for patients not to focus on one specific cannabinoid or terpene for their relief. In a 2011 study titled “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects”, Dr. Ethan Russo studied the benefits of common cannabis compounds. This study confirmed the widely known fact that CBD helps buffer the anxiety and paranoia that can come with consuming THC.
Another exciting discovery was that while pure CBG can powerfully inhibit MRSA bacteria, when it is combined with the terpene pinene (also known for being effective against antibiotic resistant bacterial strains) further enhanced it’s antibiotic effects thanks to the increased permeability that terpenes provide.
One of the other noted combinations was CBN with THC acting as a more effective sedative than when either was used alone. In the cannabis market today, you see that data reflected in tinctures and vape pens with the high CBN to THC ratios being featured as a potential aid for sleep.
While it’s still considered a theory, it’s promising to see more studies being done to confirm what consumers seem to have known for ages.
We all love spending time with our furry friends, and these days, more and more people are interested in cannabis -- but when it comes to smoking cannabis, we should make sure to keep our distance?
Our pets are sensitive to THC. THC toxicity can cause depression, ataxia, vomiting, and urinary accidents, as well as tremors and slow heart rates. For some pets, THC toxicity can instead cause agitation and high heart rates. So it’s best for them to avoid the second-hand smoke that comes from human cannabis smoke. If you are going to light up, and you want to avoid accidental effects for your pet, please make sure that you smoke in a different room or outside your house!
When we smoke cannabis, the temperature of the combustion process creates tar as a byproduct. Many tiny tar droplets easily become scattered around in the smoking environment, including on clothes, on the couch, and in areas where pets may be tasting or eating. The amount of THC from the tar is usually minuscule though, so it is unlikely that one session risks immediate intoxication for your pet, but depending on the exposure the pet has, and how often, the risk may build up to a meaningful exposure that could be concerning. Nevertheless, the health risks are currently unknown.
So should we be smoking around pets?
The answer is “no, probably not” but of course, there are many alternatives to smoking that are safer.
A great (and healthier!) alternative is vaporizing cannabis instead of smoking it. With vaporization, or “vaping” there is no tar or second-hand smoke involved, due to the absence of combustion. Instead, specific temperatures are used to heat the cannabis in precise ways, eliciting a much more controlled mist of product, not any tar products. Consuming edibles is another option, as long as they are kept out of reach from interested animals.
CBD is also safe around pets. More and more, studies are showing that it seems to be free of toxic components that would intoxicate or pose unwanted risk to animals.