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“The Ensemble Effect,” Minus THC?

Mell Green
Written by Mell Green

Today, we are witnessing the consumption of cannabis reach new highs. However, many people are just starting to understand the complexities within the extraordinary plant. Cannabis contains a plethora of chemical compounds that produce their own unique set of effects, but when combined, work synergistically to produce what scientists commonly refer to as the “entourage effect.” But where it really gets interesting is Harvard Professor Dr. Lester Grinspoon’s theory: that the “entourage effect” should really be named the “ensemble effect.”

Without getting too science-y, Dr. Grinspoon believes that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), terpenes, and other phytocannabinoids work better together for achieving the greatest therapeutic benefit, which is said to work wonders in the body.

Nonetheless, while some companies have used this theory as a unique way to sell and market their products, others have seemed to dismiss it, opting solely for the sale of THC-free products. This might seem like a less-than-sensible thing to do considering what we’ve just learned. However, there may be a few reasons why:


THC can be great in the right doses. The overindulgence of the cannabinoid doesn’t come without side effects which can include paranoia, dizziness, etc. Products containing non-psychoactive ingredients are ideal for addressing ailments without the high, and CBD is a good example of this as it’s normally used for its medicinal purposes, unlike THC which is mainly consumed recreationally.


That is to say, the production, distribution, and sale of all constituents of the cannabis plant have not yet been made fully legal. This would, of course, include THC, CBD’s psychoactive sibling. On the other hand, hemp-derived CBD (CBD extracted solely from hemp plants) is legal everywhere in the U.S. under the Farm Bill (which may mostly be due to its lack of psychoactivity) and for this reason, companies are able to skirt legal scrutiny by selling products free of THC.


Given the nature of THC and current regulation, it has been considered harmful if consumed by animals or children. If too much were accidentally consumed, your dog or cat could suffer from much of the same symptoms overindulgence causes in humans, including lethargy, seizures, elevated heart rate, and others. Considering these factors, companies don’t have much wiggle room to market anything that could be helpful for either of these groups.


Although these seem like quite reasonable explanations as to why a company may choose to sell products free of THC, many have seen success doing just the opposite. No matter which properties are at work, cannabis will affect everyone differently. Knowing this shouldn’t deter you from trying any product, whether THC-free or otherwise. Of course, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor first before doing so.

Image Credit: Health Europa

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Mell Green

Mell Green

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