An apple a day keeps the doctor away; the same with cannflavins, so make sure you have it. Fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods, in general, provide significant benefits to our health due to all the vitamins and nutrients they provide to our bodies. Among the wonderful natural compounds that plants give us, we find flavonoids: one of the most mysterious and understudied organic elements present in fruits, vegetables, stems, bark, plants, and flowers such as cannabis.
In addition to having a beautiful function in nature, flavonoids can bring unique benefits to people's general well-being and significantly influence how our body interacts with and interprets cannabinoids and terpenes. Science still has many questions regarding these compounds, but you are on the right track if you want to unwrap the veil of mystery that covers the knowledge about flavonoids and cannflavins.
Keep reading, and you will understand a little better exactly what these compounds are, what function they perform, and what effects and benefits they can bring to our smoking experience.
What are Flavonoids?
Flavonoids are a broad group of natural compounds primarily responsible for providing the characteristic coloration of vegetables, fruits, grains, flowers, and wine; basically, all plant-based foods. There are more than 6,000 different types of flavonoids, and they are what provide the radiant colors in plants that attract bees, birds, and butterflies.
Flavonoids are present in fruits such as apples, strawberries, plums, grapes, and pears; in vegetables such as onions, parsley, carrots, spinach, and other plant-based foods like nuts, soybeans, green tea, chocolate, and red wine, among many more foods.
What do Flavonoids Do?
Flavonoids contribute to the more optimal functioning of the body while protecting it from the stressors and toxins that we receive every day. These particles achieve this by fighting free radicals responsible for causing oxidative stress in our bodies while helping to regulate cell activity.
Another function of natural flavonoids is to give color and pigmentation to non-green plants and flowers to attract pollinators. In fact, the term "flavonoid" comes from the Latin "flavus," which refers to the color yellow. Another partial function of flavonoids is to protect plants from pests, diseases, and harmful UV rays; they occur throughout nature in virtually all plants and flowers, including cannabis.
Some flavonoids happen exclusively in cannabis, and they receive the name cannflavins. Cannflavins influence the character of each cannabis strain and play an influential role in the synergistic effect known as the Entourage Effect that occurs through the interaction of all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in cannabis working together.
There is still little concrete evidence regarding the number of benefits and clinical uses that cannflavins may have. Nevertheless, a 2020 scoping review of more than 25 studies on cannflavins reconfirmed and summarized what studies on preclinical models already suggested. These studies highlight promising potential therapeutic and medicinal properties and point out their possible medical applications and use.
Among some of the possible cannflavins benefits, we find that they can be excellent antioxidant agents. Cannflavins also have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and show antiparasitic, neuroprotective, and even anti-cancer qualities. So, although there is still a long way to go in fully understanding the properties of cannflavins, preliminary results from existing studies look quite promising.
Cannflavins as an anti-inflammatory.
The results of some studies carried out on animal cell models suggest that cannflavins A and B, in particular, have potent anti-inflammatory qualities. In fact, a 2019 study showed that the anti-inflammatory properties of cannflavins can be up to 30 times greater than those of Aspirin.
Cannflavins inhibit the production of a group of lipids related to prostaglandin and inhibit an enzyme involved in producing another compound called leukotrienes. These lipids are responsible for generating inflammatory responses. Evidence showing the effective anti-inflammatory activity of cannflavins suggests that they might work as a natural pain reliever. Because cannflavins are not addictive, they could present a healthier alternative to other counterproductive pain treatments such as NSAIDs and opioids.
Terpenes vs Flavonoids
Many people pay close attention to the Indica or Sativa classification of cannabis strains to get an idea of the nature of the high and the medicinal effects it can generate. But, the truth is that the compounds that most influence the high and general effects of cannabis strains are terpenes and flavonoids.
These natural compounds are responsible for giving the flavor, smell, and color to cannabis, as well as to other plants, and both flavonoids and terpenes are capable of generating a series of potential therapeutic effects on their own and, at the same time, influencing the way in which you experience cannabis.
Flavonoids occur naturally in almost all plants and flowers, and there are thousands of them. Flavonoids can affect the pigmentation, flavor, and color of plants and work closely with terpenes and cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant to generate the effects that cannabis exerts. However, they are some of the most understudied compounds in plants, and there is still much to learn about them.
Terpenes are organic compounds in herbs, fruits, flowers, and plants. Terpenes are responsible for giving them their smell and taste. They are common in aromatherapy and essential oils as they can provide certain benefits and therapeutic applications. Likewise, they greatly influence the effects generated by cannabis, can promote well-being, and have positive psychological effects.
Difference Between Terpenes and Flavonoids
Both terpenes and flavonoids can generate effects in the body, work synergistically with other compounds, and even function similarly. The main difference between these compounds would be that they do not occur in the same strains of cannabis, much less in the same concentrations.
Another remarkable difference would be that flavonoids significantly influence the pigmentation of plants and flowers, while terpenes have more influence on their smell and taste. Additionally, there are many more varieties of terpenes than flavonoids.
Strains High in Cannflavins
Cannflavins are flavonoids that occur exclusively in cannabis plants. But, because cannflavins are relatively new both for science and for cannabis users, there is still no concrete information about which cannabis strains are more abundant in the content of these flavonoids. Likewise, there are no extracts or concentrates of this specific type of compounds yet; they are only available in small amounts in some strains and cannabis concentrates and edibles.
However, science and advances in today's extraction methods may soon change that. Despite little information about which strains are cannflavins rich and the fact that you can only get them in low concentrations, we know that the best way to get these flavonoids is through cannabis-infused edibles and from traditional cannabis smoking. Some oils and tinctures can also maximize flavonoid intake depending on the preparation and extraction method used.