In this article, we take an in-depth look at cannabis flavonoids – what they are, and how they contribute to the effects of cannabis.
So far, we’ve identified over 480 active compounds in cannabis. These compounds mainly include cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at cannabis flavonoids – what they are, and how they contribute to the unique effects of the cannabis plant.
WHAT ARE FLAVONOIDS AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
Flavonoids belong to a group of plant chemicals known as phytonutrients. They are found in almost all fruits and vegetables, usually responsible for giving them their vibrant, attractive colours.
Flavonoids play an important part in plants, especially regarding flower colouration, producing yellow, blue, and red pigmentation in flowers or fruits which naturally attract pollinating animals like bees.
There are over 6,000 different types of flavonoids, which are usually broken down into 12 separate categories. Anthocyanidins, flavan-3-ols, flavonols, flavones, flavanones, and isoflavones are the flavonoids with the most dietary importance.
WHAT EFFECTS DO FLAVONOIDS HAVE ON HUMANS?
Recent research suggests that flavonoids may be partly behind the many health and dietary benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.
Research from the Linus Pauling Institute (a research institute at Oregon State University) suggests that flavonoids have a wide variety of health benefits. For example, plant flavonoids are believed to have anti-inflammatory, antithrombogenic, antidiabetic, anticancer, and neuroprotective effects.
The research from the Linus Pauling Institute references other evidence which shows that flavonoids may improve cardiovascular and metabolic health. Studies also suggest that some flavonoids may help diabetic patients with glycemic control.
FLAVONOIDS IN ANCIENT MEDICINE
Flavonoids belong to a group of phytonutrients known as polyphenols. In ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, polyphenols were commonly used to promote skin protection, brain function, and regular blood sugar and blood pressure. Polyphenols were also noted for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Today, research suggests that flavonoids can also help with:
- Weight management
- Cardiovascular disease
Flavonoids can easily be purchased in supplement form. However, flavonoid supplements may cause side effects including nausea, vomiting, tremors, and dizziness, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Many flavonoids are believed to be concentrated in the skins of fruits and vegetables. They are also very fragile compounds, and tend to be eliminated by most cooking procedures. Hence, raw vegetable/fruit diets are believed to produce the most benefits from flavonoids.
WHAT FLAVONOIDS CAN BE FOUND IN CANNABIS?
Cannabis contains flavonoids just like many other plants. In fact, the intense aromas, colours, and flavours you might attribute to a particular strain are usually caused by the flavonoids (and terpenes) in that particular plant.
Cannabis flowers are full of all different types of colours, including shades of green, yellow, orange, red, and sometimes even blue and purple. These flavonoids are expressed throughout a cannabis plant’s life cycle, and play key roles in filtering UV light, as well as deterring pests and diseases.
Unfortunately, due to prohibition, not a lot of research has gone into identifying, classifying, and studying the flavonoids found in cannabis. For now, we know that cannabis contains some of the following flavonoids:
- Cannaflavins A, B, and C
The range of flavonoids found in cannabis plants varies depending on the genetics and grow conditions of a certain plant. Right now, our understanding of the flavonoids in cannabis and their role is limited. But with further research, we’re confident we’ll soon find out how they contribute to the unique effects of cannabis in all its forms.