The entourage effect describes how different components of the cannabis plant interact to create the unique effects of various strains and products. This “entourage” of diverse plant chemicals should theoretically provide effects that differ from a single isolated compound like CBD or THC.
This study will utilize the services of 20 healthy adult participants, who will visit a research unit on several different occasions. On each visit, they will consume (via a vaporizer) either an inactive placebo, limonene alone, THC alone, or the combination of THC and limonene.
Because two different dose levels of THC (15 and 30 mg) and limonene (1 and 5 mg) will be tested in addition to placebos, participants will actually do nine different treks to the laboratory, making this one of the most comprehensive studies of its type to date.
How do this study’s limonene ratios compare to strains?
This study is very well designed, but one thing I had to question was whether the levels of THC and limonene correspond to actual terpene profiles of available strains. For example, is there an existing strain that actually has 5 mg limonene for every 15 mg THC? To answer this, I turned to Leafly’s strain database.
This plot shows the distribution of limonene content in different cannabis flower products. We can see that many products have very little limonene (less than 0.2% by weight). Only a few products have a high level of limonene (above 0.8%). These products deliver about 8 to 10 mg of limonene per gram of cannabis.
We next looked at the ratios of THC to limonene in different strains. The highest ratio of THC to limonene in the clinical study is 30:1 (30 mg THC to 1 mg limonene). A few came close, with Banana OG offering a match:
The other ratios being tested are simply not available in THC-dominant strains. To achieve these ratios, the lowest of which is 3:1 (15 mg THC to 5 mg limonene), you would need to supplement with additional limonene. (This actually wouldn’t be too hard given that limonene is present in so many common foods!)
Whether or not you’re able to replicate these exact ratios in your own cannabis routine, this study will undoubtedly add important findings about how terpenes and cannabinoids interact in our bodies, bringing us that much closer to understanding which strains are best for our individual needs.