May 20, 2021

What Are Flavonoids & Why Do They Matter?

 Huh, flavonoids?

You may have heard of cannabinoids and terpenes, but you may not have known about a third super-important compound in your CBD.

Flavonoids matter because research has shown that they have a lot of potential health benefits to offer.

But — what are they, and why are they in your CBD? Let’s take a look.

What Are Flavonoids?

Ever wonder why fruits and vegetables come in such a vivid spectrum of colors? We have flavonoids to thank for that.

Flavonoids are phytonutrients — plant compounds that are responsible for the pigmentation of fruits, vegetables, and tons of other plants! These compounds help protect plants from disease and the bright colors produced by the flavonoids attract pollinators.

Scientists have discovered around 6,000 varieties of flavonoids. Many flavonoids are specific to certain plants, while other flavonoids are found in many different plants. For example, cannflavin is only found in cannabis — whereas kaempferol is found in many plants like kale, beans, broccoli, and cannabis!

Where Are Flavonoids Found?

Basically, everywhere.

Flavonoids are produced by all plants. So, anything vegetal is chock-full of flavonoids. You can be sure to find them in:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Roots
  • Flowers
  • Wine
  • Tea

Flavonoids are abundant in the natural world, and if you get your recommended dose of fruits and veggies you’re consuming a lot of ‘em.

Because flavonoids are plant compounds, humans and animals can’t produce them. But flavonoids are definitely present in fauna. Flavonoids in creatures are the ones gleaned from consuming plants.

Flavonoids & Health Benefits

The research on flavonoids suggests that they reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems. Foods containing flavonoids are thought to be effective in reducing high blood pressure. There’s also some evidence suggesting that flavonoids might reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

While flavonoids overall have been studied extensively, federal laws have made it difficult to study the flavonoid compounds specifically found within the cannabis plant. So, there’s still a lot more left to learn.

Types Of Flavonoids

There are several major subcategories of flavonoids. They all have pretty similar names so it’s easy to get confused. Here’s a quick rundown on the types:

  • Flavones: These work as natural pesticides for the plants and might help reduce inflammation when consumed. Some plants containing flavones include peppermint, chamomile, and cannabis. Common flavones found in cannabis include apigenin and luteolin.
  • Flavonols: Studies report anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties associated with flavonols. It can be found in vegetables like broccoli, onions, and kale — and also cannabis. Kaempferol and quercetin are two flavonols that are often found in the cannabis plant.
  • Flavanols:Foods containing this flavonoid include tea, cocoa, and apples. Flavanols can help lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation.
  • Flavanones: These are powerful compounds with anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial Flavanones are specific to citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruit.
  • Isoflavones: Isoflavones are mostly found in soybeans and other legumes. They might help reduce the risk of hormonal cancers.
  • Anthocyanins: These have antioxidant properties and are associated with supporting heart health. They give many fruits red, blue, and purple hues. Some anthocyanin-containing plants include red grapes, blueberries, and blackberries.
  • Cannflavins: Lastly, we have a flavonoid subcategory that’s only found in — you guessed it — the cannabis plant! Current research suggests cannflavins have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Now that you have an overview of flavonoids as a whole — let’s get into the flavonoids in CBD.

Flavonoids In CBD

Scientists have identified more than 20 flavonoids in the cannabis plant. The most common flavonoids found include:

  • Apigenin
  • Luteolin
  • Kaempferol
  • Quercetin
  • Cannflavins A, B, and C

Cannflavins

Cannflavins are a class of flavonoids only found in the cannabis plant. Yup, cannabis has its own unique flavonoid! Pretty cool huh?

Cannflavins were discovered in the 1980s. Researchers found that cannflavins A and B showed an anti-inflammatory effect that was a whopping 30x more powerful than aspirin — whoa!

Not much else is known about cannflavins, but scientific interest is rapidly rising.

Apigenin

As it’s found in many other plants, apigenin’s therapeutic potential has been well-researched, particularly in animal studies.

Some of the potential health benefits of apigenin include:

  • Anti-diabetic properties
  • Neuroprotective qualities
  • Improving anxiety and depression symptoms
  • Cancer-fighting effects
  • Reducing inflammation

Luteolin

Luteolin is another flavonoid that may be found in your broad-spectrum CBD products.

Research-backed health benefits of luteolin:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Potentially improves cardiac functions
  • Anti-tumor qualities

Kaempferol

Aside from many green leafy vegetables, kaempferol has been identified in cannabis. Kaempferol seems particularly beneficial in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases, particularly cancer.

Some of the health benefits reported include:

  • Antioxidant properties
  • Inflammation regulation
  • Reducing cancer risk

Quercetin

Another flavonoid often present in the cannabis plant, quercetin is known for its therapeutic potential.

Potential health effects of quercetin:

  • Anti-carcinogenic qualities
  • Potentially lowers risk of brain disorders like dementia
  • May ease allergy symptoms

Flavonoids, Terpenes & Cannabinoids

Flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids are all plant compounds found in CBD products. What’s the difference?

Like terpenes, flavonoids help plants defend themselves against environmental harm, pests, diseases.

One difference is that terpenes play a bigger role in forming the aromatic character of cannabis plants, while flavonoids are in charge of the pigmentation.

Cannabinoids are a little different because they prompt more noticeable responses in your body. For example, THC is known for its psychoactive effects, and CBD is known to produce calming effects.

Research suggests that all three compounds work together to produce unique and potentially powerful health benefits. This synergistic potential is known as the entourage effect.

Flavonoids & Broad-Spectrum CBD

One of the biggest draws of broad-spectrumCBD products is that they remove the THC but keep everything else. You’re left with all the other naturally occurring compounds in your hemp-derived CBD. This includes CBD’s fellow cannabinoids along with the terpenes and flavonoids.

So, if you don’t want to miss out on potential entourage effect goodness, consider broad-spectrum CBD.

Flavonoids Are Fantastic

Flavonoids are important compounds found in pretty much every plant you can think of — including the cannabis plant. They’re responsible for the rich pigmentation of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. They work hard to help plants attract pollinators and defend against diseases and pests.

There’s been a lot of research into the health benefits of consuming flavonoid-rich fruits and veggies. Studies suggest that a flavonoid-rich diet lowers the risk of cancers, chronic diseases, and supports brain health.

Not as much is known about the direct effects of flavonoids found in marijuana and hemp, and this remains a key area of research to explore. More studies are needed to fully comprehend the role of flavonoids in hemp-derived CBD, but it’s thought that they work together with cannabinoids and terpenes to boost the effectiveness of each other.

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