Word of the Day: Flavonoids

When it comes to talking about cannabis, it’s a little like Pee Wee’s Playhouse: “Today’s magic word is…..Flavonoids!!” I have been hearing this word for a while now. It’s a fascinating subject because flavonoids, like terpenes, contribute to the healthful nature of cannabis just as they do in all plants.

Flavonoids give vegetables, fruits and flowers their color. They make the blue of the blueberry and the red of the raspberry. Basically, flavonoids comprise almost every color in plant matter other than the color green, which is typically made of chlorophyll.

Flavonoids are a type of poly-phenol phytonutrients known as glycosides, a form of sugar. Well known antioxidants, some flavonoids even have anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory qualities. Certain flavonoids have proven effective in the treatment of HIV.

Flavonoids also have an influence on a plant’s taste and smell. Some estimate there to be over 4,000 flavonoids in nature and as many as 20 in cannabis. The most common found in cannabis are quercetin, luteolin and kaempferol. Those unique to cannabis are known as cannaflavans. Cannaflavan A, for instance, can be used to treat headaches.

When one combines a possible 120 cannabinoids with 30 terpenes and terpenoids as well as 20 flavonoids the combinations — or possible “entourage effects” — are almost infinite. Here, the entourage effect indicate that each individual plant grown from seed expresses a different ratio of all these potential ingredients: flavonoids, terpenes and cannabinoids. Just like wine made from the same vines but harvested during different years, plants grown from the same seeds but during different harvests will show varying characteristics as a result of inputs like weather.

The therapeutic effects of terpenes and flavonoids have been studied for quite some time. Recent cannabis-specific research has only recently begun, but it is already becoming clear that the combined effect of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids has profound healing and regenerative powers. It is not just active component at work in cannabis, it is all ingredients working in concert together!

As with all things, it’s important to be aware and knowledgeable about what we ingest. That’s why getting groovy with the science of things like flavonoids and terpenes heightens the medical cannabis experience. From headaches to cramps to muscle aches to promoting an enriched athletic experience, cannabis provides a great deal of benefits without negatives like chemical inputs from pharmaceuticals and more. Get to know flavonoids, terpenes and cannabinoids.

Got a fun flavonoid story to tell? How has medical cannabis helped you? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Image Credit: Cassie Boraiko

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