July 22, 2021 6 min read

You've heard of the entourage effect between cannabinoids, but what is the ensemble effect?

To put it simply, the ensemble effect refers to a cannabinoid synergy that is more specific and targeted than what you might find in a general full-spectrum formula.

Products that utilize the ensemble effect of cannabinoids usually target a specific wellness need. Many experts believe that understanding the ensemble effect and using it to your advantage is a more effective approach to experiencing hemp's wide spectrum of wellness benefits.

Still confused?

We'll break it down:

Table of Contents

What Does Ensemble Effect Mean?
What's the Difference Between Ensemble Effect and Entourage Effect?
Is the Ensemble Effect Scientifically Proven?
How is the Ensemble Effect Used?
Cannabis Strain Profiling: A Perfect Example of the Ensemble Effect
Other Examples of Ensemble Effect in CBD Products
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • The ensemble effect is a targeted cannabinoid synergy used by experienced manufacturers to create a CBD product that offers very specific benefits. 
  • If you're looking to target specific wellness concerns, like poor sleep or anxiety, targeted CBD products may be more beneficial than general full spectrum formulas. 
  • CBN, CBG, THC, and various terpenes are just a few examples of compound that may be paired with CBD to produce these targeted effects. 

What Does 'Ensemble Effect' Mean?

In order to explain the ensemble effect in greater detail, we need to cover the more common type of hemp cannabinoid synergy—the entourage effect.

The entourage effect refers to the synergistic benefits between different cannabinoids when taken together, like in the form of full spectrum CBD products. Studies have shown that cannabinoids may produce stronger or more effective results when paired with other natural hemp cannabinoids and terpenes.

The example often used to explain this is that CBD has been shown to potentially negate some of the negative effects associated with THC use, like paranoia and anxiety. While this does display a perfect image of cannabinoid synergy, it only really scratches the surface, and is actually a better example of the ensemble effect.

What's the Difference between the ‘Ensemble Effect’ and the ‘Entourage Effect’?

Good question!

The ensemble effect is the same thing as the entourage effect, but on a smaller, more precise scale. For instance, in the ensemble effect, the cannabinoid and terpene combination is usually specifically chosen in order to reap a particular effect or benefit.

On the other hand, the entourage effect relies only on the general synergy between the hemp cannabinoids and terpenes derived from the original hemp material, which is usually just trace amounts of many different compounds and a larger amount of CBD.

A visual comparison of the entourage effect and the ensemble effect.

Experienced hemp manufacturers are well versed in the many benefits associated with cannabinoids and terpenes derived from hemp, which means they can create targeted cannabinoid formulations to help consumers address specific wellness benefits.

For instance, CBN is known to promote restfulness, and is often combined with CBD to create products that target sleep ailments, like insomnia, or are meant to improve sleep. Certain terpenes, like myrcene, have also shown a link to promoting more restful sleep, so they may also be found in specific formulations designed for night time use.

In other words, utilizing the ensemble effects allows manufacturers to create products that offer more personalized benefits than just full spectrum CBD alone.

One example of this is our CBG + CBD Clarity Tincture, which utilizes Cannabigerol (CBG), a cannabinoid known for mood regulating and anti-inflammatory effects. Our CBD + CBN Dream Tincture uses the same concept—CBD, CBN and various terpenes work together in an ensemble effect to provide more targeted sleep benefits than full spectrum CBD could provide on its own.

Vida Optima CBN Dream Tincture

Is the Ensemble Effect Scientifically Proven?

When looking for scientific proof behind the ensemble effect, you may be hard-pressed to find anything legitimate that addresses the phenomenon by name. That's not to say that there's no scientific proof behind a cannabinoid synergy, but until recently all synergistic benefits between cannabinoids were labeled as the “entourage effect” or simply as “cannabinoid synergy.” 

When you look at the cannabinoid synergy research available, like Ethan Russo's infamous study on cannabinoid synergy titled "Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects,” you'll notice that very specific terpene and cannabinoid combinations were studied often for a very specific benefit.

In other words, most of the evidence we have that suggest a synergistic benefit between cannabinoids and terpenes actually verifies the ensemble effect and not necessarily just the entourage effect from a general full spectrum CBD formula.

How is the Ensemble Effect Used in CBD Products?

As we mentioned previously, the ensemble effect is usually only used by experienced cannabinoid manufacturers, because it takes a bit of knowledge to understand how to best combine cannabinoids and terpenes to the user's benefit.

Hemp regulations are scarce, however, which means that any brand can claim the benefits of the ensemble effect when they combine any two terpenes or cannabinoids. Of course, random combinations may not target the labeled ailment, and could potentially have no added benefit at all.

When the ensemble effect is used by an experienced manufacturer instead, you get potent and powerful targeted hemp formulas that meet very specific wellness needs, like promoting focus or enhancing sleep.

Usually the ensemble effect is used alongside full spectrum CBD, which means that the product will contain a small amount of the full spectrum of cannabinoids found in hemp and a more prominent amount of the specific cannabinoids and terpenes chosen to help combat the specific ailment at hand. This essentially means that the consumer may benefit from both the ensemble effect and the entourage effect when using the product.

A photo of a genetically enhanced cannabis strain and a tincture made from it, both of which offer the targeted benefits of the ensemble effect.

Cannabis Strain Profiling: The Perfect Example of the Entourage Effect

if you think about the job of a cannabis geneticist, you realize that the ensemble effect has been around for a really long time. When new strains of cannabis are made (by crossbreeding other strains until specific conditions are met), the goal is usually to produce a strain that has a very specific cannabinoid and terpene profile, which provides very specific effects.

This is why some cannabis strains are known to promote energy and focus, while some promote feelings of relaxation, and others are known to be extremely effective at combating pain.

The ensemble effect is not new, but is sometimes mistakenly called or overshadowed by the entourage effect. Of course, we now know that the ensemble effect may be the way to go if you're looking for specific wellness benefits from full spectrum CBD products.

Other Examples of the Ensemble Effect in Hemp Products

We gave a few examples of products that utilize the ensemble effect earlier in this article, but we want to reiterate because using targeted formulas to address specific benefits is the entire concept behind the Vida Optima line.

We believe that CBD is a powerful wellness supplement that provides general balancing benefits that may be right for anyone. Our Vitality CBD Collection is focused on providing high-quality CBD supplements that easily integrate into your daily routine and improve your overall wellness.

Our CBD Multivitamin Gummy, for instance, includes full spectrum CBD alongside essential vitamins B12 and D3. The gummy is designed to promote overall health and endocannabinoid balance, but isn't designed to target specific ailments.

Still, we wanted to do more to offer unique, targeted benefits for those who need them. We use the ensemble effect concept to create ailment-specific formulas to help meet these needs. Our Dream Collection and our Clarity Collection both include hand chosen terpene and cannabinoid profiles to help promote sleep and mental clarity, respectively.

Vida Optima Vitality CBD Tincture

Although the ensemble effect applies specifically to cannabinoids and terpenes, we use the same concept to create “boosted” benefits in other ways. For instance, we combine CBD with immune-supporting supplements like Vitamin C or Elderberry in our CBD + Vitamin C Chews and our CBD + Elderberry Lollipops.

Curious how you can use the ensemble effect to your advantage? Check out one of our CBD collections, or feel free to reach out to us if you need help deciding!

Resources

1. "Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/ 


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