Cannabis flavonoids, what exactly are they?

Flavonoids, another thing why cannabis is so great! In this article we are going to have a better look in to the world of flavonoids, what exactly are they? What are their functions? Why are they good for humans? Read on to find out!

Sinces a few years more and more research has been put into cannabis and it’s compounds. These days, researchers have found more then 480 bio-active compounds in cannabis of which the most populair are: Terpenes and Phytocannabinoids (you probably heard from one of these!). However they are not the only important compounds. Take flavonoids for example. They exist out of 20 varieties, have important functions and they represent up to around 10% of all compounds found in cannabis:

Flavonoids are part of a group of chemicals called phytonutrients and they’re not only found in cannabis plants. Scientists have found them in most fruits, flowers, vegetables and nuts (while they are the most under-studied compound in plants). In all of nature they’ve found approximately 6000 different types of flavonoids and they can be devided in 12 different categories. The most important are:

    • Flavonols
    • Flavones
    • Anthocyanidins
    • Flavanones
    • Flavan-3-ols
    • Isoflavones

Functions of flavonoids

Flavonoids have different functions in a plant which all are quite important. Their most primare function is providing colour pigment (Yellow red and blue) to flowers and fruits. These bright colours attract pollinators like bee’s and helps the plant to reproduce. Next to that they also protect the plant from negative aspects in their surroundings. Think about harmful UV radiation, pests and diseases! However, flavonoids in cannabis are very under-studied because of prohabition thats why there is still much to learn.

Fact: The word flavonoid comes from the latin term flavus which refers to the colour Yellow. Pretty logical when you think about it: One function of flavonoids is providing this colour pigment to flowers.

Pharmacological functions of flavonoids:

Just like the many great things they do for plants, some flavonoids are also pharmacologically active compounds which means they contain major medicinal benefits for humans and animals.

Great examples of these are:

  •  Catechins: This flavonoid is found in multiple tea’s, cocoa and some other pome fruits. It’s known as an antioxidant and offers great cardiovascular health benefits.
  • Quercetin: This one is found in lots of different fruits and vegetables. So it’s pretty common and offers anti-fungal properties while it acts as an antioxidant.
  • Cannaflavin A (Found in cannabis): Studies shows that this pharmacologically active compound has anti-inflammatory properties that might be better then those found in asparine.

There are even more studies that suggests flavonoids also could help with:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Neurodegeneration
  • longevity

Some of these studies are petty new and not really profound and should be examined more!

Ancient medicine

The group that flavonoids are a part of (phytonutrients/polyphenols) were often used in ayurvedic and ancient chinese medicine. Next to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, they were used to increase skin protection against UV-radiation, brain function and regulates blood sugar/pressure.

Flavonoids in cannabis

Just like in all these fruits and flowers, cannabis is also filled with flavonoids and they are pretty important. Let’s begin with the aroma and taste of cannabis: Just like terpenes, flavonoids determine the taste and aroma of a cannabis strain. These characteristics in cannabis are possible because of synergistic qualities that terpenes and flavonoids share together. This means that they strengthen each other in their functions.

Next to that, flavonoids are the cause of the beautifull colouration through the lifecycle of a cannabis plant. Different shades of green, yellow, red and even purple are being caused by flavonoids called: anthoxanthins or anthocyanins. These flavonoids are being released in different stages of the plant’s life and play a huge rol in UV-protection (filtering) and deterring pests & diseases.

All flavonoids we have found in cannabis are:

  • Cannaflavin A, B and C
  • Vitexin
  • Isovitexin
  • Quercetin
  • Orientin
  • β-sitosterol
  • Luteolin
  • Kaempferol
  • Apigenin

The amount of compounds found in a plant really depends on the strain/genetics and growing conditions. The research is very limited on these kind of subjects and we don’t know much about flavonoids yet. In the future, scientists will find out more about their porperties and how we can use them to improve our health/life. Until then, we have to be patient and curious!


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