In cannabis, flavonoids provide the colourful buds and some of the plant’s striking flavours and aromas. Cannabis contains many important compounds. Even beside famous cannabinoids like CBD and THC, flavonoids deserve their place in the spotlights, too. They don’t just benefit plants, but they appear wholesome for humans as well. Much is still unclear, but researchers are working hard to demonstrate the healing potential of flavonoids.
Flavonoids: Plant Colour, Scent, And Protection
Those opposed to cannabis solely regard the plant as that weed; the plant that simply gets you high. There is more to cannabis than just getting high, however. The plant is rich in compounds with medicinal potential, including fairly well-known cannabinoids like CBD and CBN. Flavonoids, however, have always been shying away from the spotlights. At best, we saw them as substances that give flowers and fruits their pretty colours. They have more to offer than just that, though.
Flavonoids are found in just about any plant, in which they are responsible for all non-green colours. In addition, they affect the flavour and smell of plants and their fruits, along with terpenes, another class of natural plant compounds. But they also play a part in combating pests such as fungi and insects. What’s more, they also help shield the plant from harmful UV rays and disease. They interact with terpenes and phytonutrients in ways we don’t fully understand yet. On average, cannabis contains some twenty different flavonoids; these make up some 10% of all active compounds found in the plant.
Whenever you use cannabis (whether by smoking or eating), flavonoids will affect you one way or another. Their effect will usually be more subtle than a spot of colour here and there. The entourage effect allows flavonoids to interact with the other compounds in cannabis like terpenes and cannabinoids. They mutually affect each other’s chemistry, which may boost or alter the effects.
Flavonoids And Their Effects
Flavonoids are found in all plants, fruits, and vegetables. By now, over 6,000 flavonoids have been identified, some of them carrying names that reveal their origins. The flavonoid that gives tangerines their attractive orange colour is called tangeritine, for example, and gentiana flowers contain a flavonoid called gentisine. Some flavonoids are wholly unique to specific plant species. Cannabis contains a range of flavonoids, including some unique ones. These are known as cannflavins.
Flavonoids are important for plant life. Without their distinctive colours and scents, plants would not be able to attract insects vital for their reproduction. However, these substances can also make a positive contribution to human health. Take quercitin for example. Found in fruits and vegetables (and in cannabis), quercitin has antifungal properties and is an antioxidant. Catechine (found in cacao and tea) is another antioxidant, with beneficials effect for the heart and arteries.
The many substances naturally occurring in cannabis work together by synergy. This means that the effects of substances increase when you take them together, compared to taking each one in isolation from the rest. The whole is truly greater than the sum of its part here: this is called the entourage effect. CBD, for instance, is known to inhibit the effects of THC; whereas certain terpenes are capable of boosting THC’s effects in turn. We don’t know exactly how flavonoids in cannabis interact with the other components yet. There are strong indications, however, that they are part of the entourage effect as well.
Research focusing on flavonoids specific to cannabis is scarce. A number of preliminary studies demonstrate that Cannflavin A has anti-inflammatory properties more powerful than those of aspirin. It works by blocking production of a hormone-like substance called prostaglandin E-2. One of the major benefits of Cannflavin A is the way its effects increase as you use more of it, contrary to some regular anti-inflammatory agents. Right now, cannflavin B and C are also under scrutiny for their potential medical applications.
Other flavonoids found in cannabis include orientin, quercetin, apigenin, and kaempferol. These also have antifungal properties, potential to protect against fungi, and possibly even anticarcinogenic effects.
How Can You Benefit From Flavonoids?
Smoking, eating, or vaping cannabis will provide you with flavonoids, as will using CBD products. The exact flavonoid profile and content of cannabis plants can vary due to weather effects, genetic makeup, and any number of other circumstances. Much is yet to be discovered about the exact workings of flavonoids in cannabis. As of yet, we cannot provide the cold hard facts claiming they will work wonders for your health. Still, you can safely assume that the flavonoids will do their job, along with the cannabinoids and terpenes, no matter how you prefer to use cannabis. After all, they have been doing so for millions of years, in all the plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables that we know.