Have you ever wondered why cannabis has such a powerful effect? Cannabinoids are the compounds most discussed, but have you heard about flavonoids or terpenes?
Through the entourage effect, they interact with other cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD), to create potential therapeutic benefits and play a significant role in personal wellness.
Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the flavonoids and terpenes in cannabis products and discuss the potential therapeutic effects of these active compounds.
What Are Cannabis Flavonoids?
You may recognize flavonoids if you’re a fan of tea, cocoa, berries, or wine. Flavonoids are bioactive compounds that consist of polyphenolic compounds and are usually found in superfoods. They can be broken down into four main groups:
Flavonoids are responsible for creating the taste and pigmentation of cannabis as well as for other foods and plants.
However, flavonoids are also pharmacologically active. There’s accumulating evidence regarding the potential health benefits such as pain reduction, improvements in cognition, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Some flavonoids are unique to cannabis, while others can be found in other plants. Let’s now explore some of the flavonoids in detail.
What Flavonoids Are Found in Cannabis?
There are at least 20 flavonoids found in cannabis (Sativa) that fall under one of the following groups: flavonoids, isoflavonoids, neoflavonoids, or anthocyanins.
Flavonoids can be broken into the class of either flavone or flavonol depending on the position and presence of double bonds, ketones, or hydroxyl groups. Some of the most popular flavonoids include cannflavin A, kaempferol, apigenin, quercetin, and luteolin.
A flavone that is primarily known for its anti-inflammatory properties due to its ability to inhibit the inflammatory pathway of prostaglandins. Unlike other flavonoids, cannflavin A is only produced in the cannabis plant and cannot be found in other superfoods. When taken alongside CBD and/or THC, there is a potential for a greater reduction in inflammation.
A flavonol that can be found in plant species like broccoli and kale. According to research, Kaempferol may have anticancer properties, antifungal properties, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, it potentially has an antidepressant effect, and it is believed that combining it with CBD and/or THC may lead to the alleviation of depression and anxiety due to a synergistic effect.
A flavone that is capable of altering neurotransmitter levels in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which may result in relaxation and happiness. It can be found in foods like chamomile tea and oranges and can also be used to lower blood pressure. It is believed that apigenin combined with CBD helps to enhance its natural sedative effects.
A flavonol that can also be found in red apples and onions. It’s known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-fungal effects. There are many ongoing studies regarding the potential of quercetin to treat fibromyalgia.
A flavone that is also present in celery and green peppers. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and anti-tumor effects and has great synergy with cannabinoids.
What Are Cannabis Terpenes?
If you’re a fan of essential oils, then chances are you’ve heard about terpenes. Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds in plants that are responsible for their aroma, taste, and color. Typically, they can be found in foods like citrus fruit and herbs, hence terpenes like limonene found in lemons and limes.
Like flavonoids, terpenes also have many potential medicinal benefits, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-depressant effects. The specific effect experienced depends on the type of terpene present. We will quickly cover some of the most popular terpenes in cannabis strains in the sections below.
Different Terpenes And Their Effects
Hundreds of terpenes are found in cannabis flowers, concentrations, oils, etc., but cannabis researchers have only studied a handful well enough for us to know about their benefits.
Some of the most common and well-studied terpenes include limonene, beta-pinene, and beta-caryophyllene.
- Limonene, as mentioned earlier, can be found in foods like lemons and is well known for its antibacterial properties. Additionally, according to research published in PubMed, it may help reduce inflammation and serves as an anxiolytic.
- Beta-pinene (not to be confused with alpha-pinene) is often found in pine trees (hence the name) and is known for its antidepressant properties. It has also displayed the potential to improve cognition and reduce pain.
- Beta-caryophyllene can also be found in black pepper and cinnamon and is unique in that it’s the only terpene known to act as a cannabinoid. There’s potential for it to be used to manage anxiety and depression and may help reduce inflammation.
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