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Synergy with Cannabis and Other Herbs: Thinking Beyond Plant Constituents

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"using multi-plant preparations can help mitigate side effects and enable more effective dosing. Dr. Deborah Malka, the author of the Dosage and Delivery of Cannabis Medicine course, mentioned that one of the keys to success in using cannabis consistently is to avoid saturation. She had integrated other botanicals in her clinical practice to decrease the amount of cannabis required for a particular patient, for example using ginger and cannabis for nausea. “One of the best ways to avoid saturation is to use another agent so that you can keep the cannabis at a lower dose,” she said. “That’s why they make herbs in combination. Cannabis should be no exception.”16

Another known benefit of synergy is the reduction of side effects. Herbal synergy may offer an increased safety profile while potentiating the therapeutic properties. Herb/pharmaceutical drug interactions do exist, for example, CBD dominant preparations act on CYP450 pathways which may amplify the power of antiepileptic drugs.17 However, plant compounds generally act as low-affinity modulators to the body’s system, while single target drug preparations are generally high affinity.12 An example of this is the synthetic cannabinoids in Spice and “Special K” that strongly bind to CB1 receptors (causing a psychoactive effect) while whole-plant cannabis extracts only modulate these receptors in a moderate way."

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