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Cannabis Flavonoids: What Are They & What Do They Do?

Flavonoids are fascinating little compounds found throughout the natural world, including in cannabis. They’re also the subject of more than a few studies to better understand their effects within the human body and if there are any therapeutic properties within them. While the jury is still out on their future potential, let’s dive into what we do know about flavonoids in this guide, answering the questions:

  • What are Flavonoids?
  • What Do Flavonoids Do?
  • Where Do Flavonoids Come From?
  • How Are Flavonoids Different From Terpenes?
  • Answering FAQs About Cannabis Flavonoids

What Are Flavonoids?

Flavonoids are secondary metabolites that occur naturally in cannabis and other plants. Metabolites perform important roles within the marijuana plant; while primary metabolites can aid a plant’s ability to grow and reproduce, secondary metabolites like flavonoids help give cannabis its unique color, defend cannabis against the suns rays and predators, and even attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to aid in reproduction.

In addition to their functions in the marijuana plant, flavonoids have also displayed antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties have researchers exploring whether flavonoids could provide therapeutic benefits for a variety of conditions, but we need significantly more research before we can say anything definitively.

What Do Flavonoids Do?

Have you ever been told to add color to your plate in the form of brightly colored vegetables? Have you ever marveled at a particularly gorgeous nugget of premium flower? The colors we see are, in part, the result of flavonoids. These colors aren’t just to make these vegetables and plants appealing to your eyes, they’re also designed to attract pollinators that will aid in the plant’s reproduction.

In addition to color, flavonoids also aid in the plant’s defense from environmental damage, like UV rays from the sun, and pests. We know this because we’ve seen that certain flavonoids are produced in marijuana in response to things like temperature, humidity, and rainfall.

Interestingly, flavonoids also seem to have a synergistic relationship with cannabis terpenes—the compounds that give marijuana its distinct scent and flavor. It turns out that flavonoids work with terpenes to create those distinguishing odors and flavors of strains that allow us to differentiate between, for example, a Granddaddy Purple and a Blueberry.

Where Do Flavonoids Come From?

Flavonoids come from a variety of places. They can be found in fruits and vegetables, grains and roots, and flowers and leaves. There are some flavonoids that are unique to cannabis, and these are called cannaflavins. These marijuana-specific cannaflavins can be found with other naturally occurring flavonoids in most parts of the cannabis plant, including the leaves, flowers, fruits and seedlings. The two places we typically don’t find flavonoids in marijuana are in both the roots and the seeds.

Wondering about cannabinoids too? Our guide to cannabinoids and their effects can answer your questions.

How are Flavonoids Different From Terpenes?

Flavonoids and terpenes have qualities that synergize with one another, and they also have unique differences between them. For example, flavonoids contribute to the plant’s color, and terpenes contribute to the scent and taste of marijuana. However, flavonoids can work with terpenes to influence the aroma and flavor too. More distinct is where each compound can be found. Terpenes are found within the marijuana plant’s trichomes. Flavonoids are found throughout the plant in everything from the leaves and flowers to the fruits and seedlings. Additionally, terpenes are more abundant than flavonoids—there are about 100 terpenes compared to around 20 flavonoids.

Ultimately, flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids are compounds within the plant that are all believed to work together to create the entourage effect—the idea that it’s all the compounds in marijuana that create the sensations we experience when consuming marijuana, not just THC.

FAQs About Flavonoids

We love our curious customers’ questions. Here are a few of them and their answers:

Are terpenes flavonoids?
No. Terpenes and flavonoids are two distinct compounds found in marijuana.

How many flavonoids are there in cannabis?
There are roughly 20 flavonoids found in cannabis.

What flavonoids are found in cannabis?
There are over a dozen types of flavonoids found in the cannabis plant.

Experience Flavonoids Yourself

If you’re purchasing premium cannabis flower, be sure to take a look at the bright colors on each bud. While you’re at it, be sure to ask your budtender for the best and boldest flavors available at your local dispensary.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Ohio and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.