What are cannabis flavonoids and what do they do?
It’s likely you’ve heard of terpenes, cannabinoids, and common cannabis compounds, but what about flavonoids? Flavonoids are the latest, and greatest term to get to know, when growing and consuming cannabis. Like terpenes, flavonoids are dual in purpose serving to protect the plant, while also adding to its unique characteristics. So, what are cannabis flavonoids and why do you need to know? Keep reading to find out more on the trending term in weed.
What are flavonoids?
Flavonoids exist in all plants. It’s a common plant chemical, that’s just one of many phytonutrients. Flavonoids can be found in fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and are responsible for their vibrant colors. Contrary to its name, flavonoids’ primary function is providing color pigmentation to the plants. In fact, its name comes from ‘flavus’ which is latin and references the color yellow.
Like terpenes, flavonoids serve more of a purpose than adding to the color or taste of cannabis plants. For the plant’s sake, flavonoids protect against natural predators, like pests, diseases, and even harmful UV rays. They differ in the fact that flavonoids add to the coloring of cannabis plants, while terpenes add to its flavor, only.
Why cannabis flavonoids matter
In all plants species, there are over 6,000 different flavonoids - but some are specific to cannabis, only. These flavonoids are known as cannaflavins. Even more important is the fact that cannaflavins and other flavonoids are pharmacologically active, too. That means, they produce their own therapeutic and beneficial types of effects - just like terpenes, and cannabinoids.
Another similarity flavonoids, and terpenes share, is their ability to work synergistically with cannabinoids. Meaning, altogether they amplify one another’s effects - also known as the ‘entourage effect’. So, in addition to contributing to cannabis strain’s unique flavors, appearances, and aromas, flavonoids help add to their unique effects, too.
Last, but not least, cannabis flavonoids add to the ‘character’ of each cultivar or strain. For instance, anthoxanthins or anthocyanins are flavonoids that produce a red, purple and blue shade. These flavonoids are found in certain berries, and also in strains that are commonly known as ‘purps’ or that have a pink, purple, or blue hue to them.
Common cannabis flavonoids and their effects
Even though flavonoids are severely understudied, we do know some specifics about the effects of the most common ones. But using flavonoids for specific health benefits is nothing new. History shows ancient civilizations like the Chinese and Ayurvedic used flavonoids, or ‘polyphenols’ as remedies or medication. Records show flavonoids were helpful in improving skin protection, brain function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. They were also noted for being anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, too.
In today’s modern world of medicine, we’re slowly finding that flavonoids have a variety of benefits that add to cannabis’ therapeutic effects. Including these most common flavonoids and what we know about them so far.
- Cannaflavins A, B, and C - These flavonoids are the most prominent in cannabis. They’re proving to be anti-inflammatory in nature.
- Β-sitosterol - Beta-sitosterol is a flavonoid that may be helpful in reducing cholesterol levels, and combating prostate cancer.
- Vitexin & Isovitexin - One study has proven that the vitexin and isovitexin flavonoids are antioxidant, anti-analgesic (pain relieving), and neuroprotective.
- Apigenin - Many animal studies have been conducted on apigenin and its unique effects. The studies have proven the flavonoid is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, sedative, and has cancer fighting abilities. Another apigenin effect that’s common to cannabis is its ability to reduce anxiety, too.
- Kaempferol - Not only can Kaempferol relieve depression symptoms, it can also fight coronary heart disease. This may be in part due to the flavonoids antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Quercetin - Like Kaempferol, Quercetin is also beneficial for depression and a powerful antioxidant. In addition, the flavonoid has antifungal and antiviral traits.
- Orientin - Orientin is commonly found in tea, and is antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective in effects.
Experience flavonoids with cannabis
Now that you know how to answer, ‘what are cannabis flavonoids’ you can better understand how the unique compounds elevate your experience. Cannabis flavonoids not only add to the bag appeal of your favorite strain, but also the unique flavor and effects it delivers. It’s a cannabis compound that’s less well-known than others, but just as important. As research continues to grow, you can enjoy self-exploring flavonoids yourself with growing and consuming.