Flavonoids: A Brief Overview Of Cannabis’ Hidden Potential
Cannabis has more than 200 bioactive compounds. Most of them are understudied but functions of some of them, like THC, CBD, and terpenes, are well understood. However, cannabis has a substantial hidden potential — take for instance chemical compounds known as flavonoids. Roughly 10% of these are known to be present in cannabis plants.
Flavonoids can be found throughout nature — from flowers to vegetables. Some of them, though, are present only in cannabis and known as cannaflavins. The primary role of flavonoids is to shape our perception of cannabis through our sense. However, it’s not their only function because they also add therapeutic value to the plant.
What Are Flavonoids?
The word ‘flavonoid’ comes from the Latin term ‘flavus,’ which refers to the yellow color as it appears in nature. Flavonoids are groups of polyphenolic compounds that act as secondary metabolites to plants and fungi. A primary function of flavonoids is to provide color pigmentation to plants, but the full spectrum of features is quite broad. For example, flavonoids protect plants against potentially harmful UV rays, pests, and diseases.
What Role Do Flavonoids Play in Cannabis?
Flavonoids are widely understudied, but there is a brief overview of the known functions of these compounds in cannabis.
1. Flavonoids are responsible for cannabis flavor and aroma
We are used to believing that terpenes define flavor and aroma of cannabis. However, flavonoids play an essential role in providing distinguishing profiles we use to differentiate strains. Both odor and character are brought by the synergy of terpenes’ and flavonoids’ qualities.
Flavonoids also affect the pigmentation of the plant. Deep purple cannabis strains look so thanks to the flavonoids known as anthoxanthins or anthocyanins.
2. Flavonoids Add Therapeutic Value
Research has shown that flavonoids are pharmacologically active which means that they add the medicinal benefits to the plant.
For example, the flavonoid quercetin can be found in many fruits and vegetables and is known as an anti-fungal and anti-oxidant. In cannabis, cannaflavin A brings anti-inflammatory properties, while Orientin, Quercetin, Silymarin, and Kaempferol are shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antioxidant and anti-cancer potential.
3. Flavonoids Bring Synergistic Effect
“The entourage effect” is a term to describe the synergistic nature of the many pharmacologically active compounds on cannabis. Endocannabinoid system in our bodies is a vast network of receptors that covers every system. Cannabinoids bind to these receptors to produce various effects which are further influenced by other compounds found in cannabis. The reason why we experience cannabis’ effects is that these compounds have the synergistic properties. CBD, for example, modulates the effects of THC at the blood-brain barrier. Flavonoids are, probably, have the same role. However, to describe this process in details, we need more research.
This post is based on this material.
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