Medical marijuana and ‘the entourage effect’.
In 1963, Israeli researcher, Raphael Mechoulam, determined the structure of cannabidiol (CBD), an important component of Cannabis or marijuana.
A year later, he became the first person to isolate delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Over the ensuing decades, Mechoulam and his team continued to isolate numerous compounds from Cannabis.
Mechoulam’s team first identified the known endogenous cannabinoid, a chemical actually made by the brain itself; he named it “anandamide.” In the Sanskrit language, ananda means “supreme bliss”.
There are more than 480 natural components found within the Cannabis plant, of which 66 have been classified as “cannabinoids.”
Those are chemicals unique to the plant, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiols.
There are, however, many more, including: Cannabigerols (CBG); Cannabichromenes (CBC); other Cannabidiols (CBD); other Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC); Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabinodiol (CBDL); other cannabinoids (such as cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabitriol (CBT) and other miscellaneous types).
These components of the cannabis plant likely exert some therapeutic effect, more than any single compound alone.
Cannabinoids are more effective together than in isolation: That is the “entourage effect.”
Unlike other drugs that may work well as single compounds, synthesized in a lab, Cannabis may offer its most profound benefit as a whole plant, if we let the entourage effect flower.