David B. Finlay, Kathleen J. Sircombe, Mhairi Nimick, Callum Jones, Michelle Glass

Published in Frontiers in Pharmacology

25 March 2020



The entourage effect was a proposed explanation for biological observations that endocannabinoid ligand activities can be modified by other lipids released from cells at the same time. An increasing volume of anecdotal reports and interest in the plant have provoked research into the activity of minor chemical constituents of the plant—including volatile terpenoids such as myrcene, α- and β- pinene, β-caryophyllene, and limonene. However, to date, no clear interaction has been identified. The current study was designed to determine whether terpenes in the cannabis plant have detectable receptor-mediated activity, or modify the activity of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, or the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonylglycerol at the cannabinoid receptors. In addition, we have utilized a standard radioligand binding paradigm with ability to detect orthosteric and allosteric interactions of test compounds. With the possible exception of a weak interaction of β-caryophyllene with CB2, no data were produced to support the hypothesis that any of the five terpenes tested (either alone or in mixtures) have direct interactions with CB1 or CB2, as the binding of radioligand ([3H]-CP55,940), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannabidiol were unaltered by the presence of terpenes. Similarly, terpene functional effects were also not detected, either alone or in combination with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, or 2-arachidonoylglycerol. This study adds to the evidence that the putative entourage effect cannot be explained by direct effects at CB1 or CB2.


DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2020.00359



Finlay DB, Sircombe KJ, Nimick M, Jones C, Glass M. Terpenoids From Cannabis Do Not Mediate an Entourage Effect by Acting at Cannabinoid Receptors. Front Pharmacol. 2020;11:359. doi:10.3389/fphar.2020.00359