Until recently, and despite its long history, nobody knew too much about weed. Of course, we all know its effects well, its munchies, its sleepiness, but only now are we learning about how it works. Turns out, the many compounds in cannabis work best together. There are cannabinoids. Terpenoids. Flavonoids too. What role do flavonoids play in cannabis plants? How do they affect us?
Most everybody knows about cannabinoids these days. Cannabinoid therapy is already widespread treatment for a variety of medical issues. Queuing at weed stores in Washington D.C. is already a thing, making evidence ever clearer. Terpenes give buds their flavor. Their smell. Terpenoids are also therapeutically useful and targeted for medicines, but what about flavonoids? What are they?
Flavonoids are important compounds. They are phytonutrients, essential for the survival of plants. They exist in near all vegetables and fruits and are, in fact, responsible for their temptingly vibrant colors. Flavonoids are what color flowers. They are what turn tomatoes red. They are behind the yellows, greens, blues too, and play a crucial role in attracting animals for pollination, like bees and birds. In the same way, they warn off predators with bright and frightful colors.
There is no shortage of flavonoids. They are simply abundant. They number well over 6,000 already and growing every day. While every flavonoid is important, some have a bigger effect on health than others do. Flavon-3-ols, anthocyanidins, flavanols, flavanones, isoflavones, and flavones are especially worth mentioning. They contain the most nutrition, a fact most vital for dietary benefit.
Effects of Flavonoids
Flavonoid studies are extremely interesting. They suggest that these compounds are responsible for the many health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, information gathered by Oregon State University reveals their significant potential for therapeutic use. It shows flavonoids with capable neuroprotective, anticancer, anti-thrombogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Interestingly, this barely scratches the surface of their value medicinally. Other studies further suggest that flavonoids play a much larger role than previously thought in the betterment of metabolic and cardiovascular health. Yet other studies show flavonoids helping diabetics achieve improved glycemic control. In fact, the potential of flavonoids appears endless in study after study.
Flavonoids in History
Flavonoids are much, much more than phytonutrients. They belong specifically to polyphenols, a particular family of phytonutrients. In ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, people would use polyphenols to treat a myriad of medical issues, like improving cognitive function and helping to regulate blood sugar and pressure, and even treating skin ailments. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Currently, evidence exists aplenty that proves flavonoids highly capable of helping with:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Neurodegenerative Disorders
Flavonoids are readily available in supplement form already. However, according to this same study, it is not particularly wise to use them in this way. Flavonoids work best, are much healthier too, in their natural state. They can cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and even tremors when taken as supplements. It is smarter to consume weed and other flavonoid-rich plants for their many benefits.
This is good reason to eat the skins of fruits and vegetables. It is likely why your grandparents always told you to. Flavonoids are most concentrated in the skin. What is more, they are vulnerable to the elements, like all molecules, and this includes the cooking process. Heat tends to destroy flavonoids, which is why you should always include some raw bud in your diet. Or fruits. Vegetables.
Types of Flavonoids
Flavonoids are not exclusive to cannabis plants. They are everywhere, in most plants, and in abundance too. The pungent and fragrant aromas, the vibrant colors, the salivating flavors all derive from the terpenes and flavonoids a plant contains. Cannabis nugs are particularly vibrant. Diverse yellows, greens, purples, browns, pinks, reds, oranges, all the colors you can think of. These pigments are the hard work of flavonoids.
As cannabis grows, and indeed throughout its life, it is rich in flavonoids, producing them on a constant basis. Flavonoids do more than color and fragrance buds, however. They also deter pests, filter ultraviolet rays, prevent disease, and boost mood. Unfortunately, because of existing federal law and past prohibition, study of these plants has been difficult. This is now changing. Cannabis is available for study. Thus far, we know weed contains the following flavonoids:
- Cannaflavins A, B, and C
In order to produce flavonoids, cannabis plants need good genetics and good conditions for growing. This is what decides the flavonoids you get. Scientists know very little about these interesting compounds. As study continues, this knowledge grows. With more study, ongoing feverishly, researchers will learn the exact contribution that flavonoids make to the overall effects of weed, most notably its physical ones.
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A little Google browsing will teach you all you need to know about cannabinoids, terpenes, and now, flavonoids. These compounds work best together, synergistically. However, because flavonoids tend to degrade under heat, they are best raw. Smoke your buds, puff your pipes, tend your bongs. This is all part of the cannabis experience and important. Just remember to chew some every so often too.