The cannabis flower, or bud, is made up of lots of different chemicals. Surely you are familiar with at least one of these chemical groups – Cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids, like THCa and THC, or CBDa and CBD, are substantially responsible for the effects of smoking or otherwise consuming cannabis. You may have also heard of other group of chemicals, like terpenes or terpenoids, which are vastly responsible for the smell and flavors that we experience from cannabis flowers. Terpenes and Terpenoids also effect the experience by augmenting, or otherwise modifying, the effect that the cannabinoids have when we consume them.
Today we’re going to take a look at another group of chemicals found in cannabis, still. These are called flavonoids.
Have you ever wondered where the colours come from on purple weed? You have flavonoids to thank for that. In fact, many of the colours and hues that come out of flowers, fruits, and vegetables, have flavonoids to thank! To some degree as well, flavonoids contribute to the tastes and aromas in cannabis flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
There are over 5,000 flavonoids which might be found in nature, and they exist in all kinds of fruits and vegetables, as well as flowering plants, and they fulfil many different functions.
On one hand, flavonoids are important for coloration, which is incredibly important to attract insects and encourage population for reproduction, survival, and fruiting. They are also useful in the filtration of UV lighting, and some flavonoids have the potential to protect plants from harmful pathogens and disease. Flavonoids secreted by plants even serve to communicate with the bacteria which form symbiotic relationships with the roots in the soil.
Are Flavonoids good for you?
Flavonoids are absolutely pharmacologically active. This means, that not only are they responsible for the pigments and colours in cannabis but they are also responsible for synergistic effects with cannabinoids and have their own therapeutic effects. Research into flavonoids is new and they is a lot that is still to be discovered, however there has been encouraging investigations of flavonoids for the treatment of certain cancers, inflammation, and other diseases and health problems.
Which flavonoids are found in cannabis?
Cannflavins A, B, and C
These three flavonoids are in a subgroup called flavones, and are therefore ketones. For the most part, these three flavonoids are entirely unique to the cannabis plant and not found anywhere else in nature.
Cannflavin A, B, and C are all being studied for a list of potential therapies. Cannflavin C is particularly being investigated for its role in COX-2 inhibition and for treatment of inflammation.
All three flavonoids might have some roll in the treatment of certain cancers.
This is one of the most abundant dietary flavonoids, and in fact the average human contains somewhere between 25mg and 50mg of quercetin in their diet every day!
It’s found in onions, fennel, kale, cranberries, plums, green tea, chocolate, and many more foods. Of course, its also commonly found in cannabis.
This flavonoid primarily serves to add pigment to plants and their leaves. It serves as a powerful antioxidant that is antiviral and also anti-fungal.
This is a common flavonoid found in basil, oranges, mint, and cannabis.
It’s very interesting for its effects on GABA receptors, and in fact it makes up a substantial amount of the total flavonoids in chamomile, and may be responsible for its mild sedative effects.
There is also some investigation on its ability to treat anxiety and depression.
Ginger, Dill, cannabis, and broccoli are all commonly sources of kaempferol. It’s found in very high concentrations in saffron and its what gives rose pedals their colour.
Studies are underway to determine possible cancer treatments made from this flavonoid as it has been shown to modulate cell death.
These actually include a number of different flavonoids and are responsible for the reds, blues or purples that come out in your cannabis plants. The temperatures, and pH often change how anthocyanins react and this is why we get so many different colours from them.
Current research suggests that there maybe some therapeutic value in these flavonoids for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Getting the most out of cannabis flavonoids
There is still a lot we don’t know about flavonoids, either from cannabis or from the many other plants, fruits, and vegetables from which we derive our daily consumption of them. This being said, there are some reasonable assumptions that can be made. While surely there is some amount of vaporization and consumption of flavonoids when smoking or vaporizing cannabis, the vast majority of these compounds are probably destroyed by the heat.
If you have interest in being sure that you are consuming the flavonoids available to you in your cannabis flower without wasting it or damaging it, cold, broad spectrum extraction of your cannabis is the best option.
Ethanol is notoriously non selective, and would be a great option as a solvent for making an extract and then making an edible concentrate. The motive in all of this is to consume flavonoids by eating them, and we also want to ensure preservation of these flavonoids during processing of our edible concentrate.
The future of flavonoids
There is still a lot to investigate regarding the potential therapeutic potentials of flavonoids, a group of chemicals which we all consume daily in many of our most common foods.
What we know for sure, is that flavonoids are responsible for an important portion of our experience consuming cannabis and growing it, and we have these chemicals to thank for all of the beautiful colours we find in our cannabis gardens.