Cannabis is a complex plant filled with nearly 500 different compounds. By now, you’re likely familiar with at least a few of the cannabinoids, namely THC and CBD. Recent research has uncovered the potential benefits of several other cannabinoids such as CBN, CBC, and CBG. Terpenes have also gained a lot of attention.
These aren’t the only compounds in cannabis, however. The plant also contains what are known as flavonoids. Just what are flavonoids, and what do they do? Read on to find out.
What They Are
Flavonoids aren’t unique to cannabis. In fact, they’re found in many different plants, including nearly all fruits and vegetables. These phytonutrients give those fruits and veggies their vibrant colors and play a role in attracting pollinators and deterring pests.
In cannabis, flavonoids give the buds their color. For example, the deep purple in some strains comes from the presence of anthocyanins. According to research on the compounds, flavonoids may provide medicinal benefits, too. However, it’s not entirely clear whether this is also the case in cannabis plants.
What They Do
Research on flavonoids in fruits and vegetables demonstrates that the phytonutrients may provide anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and anticancer benefits. They may also help to improve heart health. In Ayurvedic and ancient Chinese medicine, they were used to protect skin health and promote brain health.
Flavonoids and the Entourage Effect
Despite their name, flavonoids might not play a role in the flavors or aromas of the cannabis plant. However, they may play a part in the entourage effect. This term refers to the phenomenon that occurs when the various compounds within the cannabis plant work together to enhance its benefits.
You may have heard that CBD can help to tame the psychoactive effects of THC, creating a mellower, less intense high. Researchers believe that flavonoids have similar synergistic abilities. More research is needed to confirm this belief, however.
Types of Flavonoids in Cannabis
As we already mentioned, flavonoids aren’t unique to the cannabis plant, but two specific ones are. Current research shows that cannflavins A and B may have some very potent pain-killing properties. Researchers believe these compounds may help to enhance the pain-relieving effects of certain medications.
Some studies are showing that cannflavin B, in particular, may be the most potent pain reliever in cannabis. It may provide greater analgesic benefits than CBD or THC alone.
There are several other flavonoids in cannabis, each offering certain potential benefits, such as:
- Apigenin. Also found in chamomile and celery, apigenin is believed to be a nontoxic tranquilizer.
- Kaempferol. Found in many different fruits and vegetables, this flavonoid may help manage diabetes and prevent HIV from transforming into AIDS.
- Luteolin. This flavonoid may help to improve heart health and also help prevent heart attacks.
- Orientin. Found in plants such as acai and black bamboo leaves, orientin offers anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anticancer, and antidepressant benefits.
In the grand scheme of things, cannabis research is still in the early stages. While more and more benefits are uncovered, many things about the plant are still unknown. Research is showing, however, that these various compounds all play a role in what you experience.