Flavonoids are a group of natural substances with variable phenolic structures, that are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers, tea and wine. These natural products are well known for their beneficial effects on health and more efforts are being made to isolate them. They are important for human health because of their antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti‐inflammatory activities. They also act as free radical scavengers as they are potential reducing agents that protect from oxidative damage.
Flavonoids are not just unique to the cannabis plant. Scientists have identified thousands of them all throughout nature, from flowers to fruits and vegetables. However, there are some that are known to be found only within cannabis. These are known as cannaflavins.
Similar to terpenes, flavonoids share a role in how we perceive cannabis through our senses. But there’s a lot more to flavonoids than what meets our nose and taste buds. In fact, flavonoids are among the most understudied compounds found within the plant.
Scientists agree there are about 20 flavonoids present in cannabis. Some of the most common flavonoids and their benefits include:
- Cannaflavin-A, -B, & -C: anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antioxidant, and anticancer
- Quercetin: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective, cancer-fighting, immunoprotective, eases skin irritation (topical use)
- Isovitexin: antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperalgesia, and neuroprotective
- Apigenin: anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, anticancer
- Beta-Sitosterol: anti-inflammatory
- Luteolin: anti-oxidative, tumor-fighting, anti-inflammatory
- Orientin: antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective, neuroprotective
- Catechins: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-proliferative, cardio-protective, helps lower cholesterol,
- Vitexin: antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperalgesia, and neuroprotective
Like most compounds in cannabis, flavonoids are non-intoxicating—i.e., they will not get you high. In fact, flavonoids are thought to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC.
In the benefits department, flavonoids are thought to contribute to the “entourage effect” The entourage effect is the term experts coined to describe how cannabis compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids have been observed to work synergistically to optimize their therapeutic potential.