Flavonoids and Cannabis – Alchimia weblog


The numerous unique varieties of cannabis include hundreds of compounds (the precise quantity is difficult to calculate), each and every with its personal traits and properties. You will most most likely have heard of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids as elements of the plant, with the initial two occupying a lot of the common interest. Nonetheless, it is estimated that flavonoids represent 10% of the total substances created by the plant, and two.five% of the dry weight in leaves and flowers. But what are flavonoids? What is their objective, and how do they act? In this report we will answer these concerns.

Flavonoids are accountable for the colour of the flowers, stems and leaves.

What are flavonoids?

Described for the initial time by Robert Doyle (1664), the initial flavonoid – citrine – was identified by Nobel Prize winner Szent-Györgyi in 1930. These days, “flavonoids” is the name made use of to refer to a wide variety of secondary metabolites (phytonutrients) present in terrestrial plants, and also in some algae. Given that there is massive diversity in each the biosynthesis and the chemical composition of these compounds, it is estimated that a lot more than five,000 flavonoids can be located in plants, fruits and vegetables (some sources even point to 9,000 or a lot more).

In addition, we know that their metabolic functions inside the organism of plants and animals (and of course humans) are hugely crucial, and so – as we will see later – there has been lots of investigation into the properties and applications of flavonoids, as properly as into their synthesis.

The beautiful colours of autumn are partly thanks to flavonoids

The lovely colours of autumn are partly thanks to flavonoids

Its name comes from the Latin flavus, which implies “yellow”, and is straight associated to the function of these molecules in plants, employed as pigments (not green but yellow, blue or red) in the aerial components of the plants, for unique purposes:

  • Attracting pollinator insects
  • Capturing particular wavelengths of light
  • Defending from UV Rays
  • Regulating the cellular cycle
  • Modulating auxin transport
  • Defence against herbivores

Flavonoids give us these spectacular tones in fruits, vegetables and plants, and are of course accountable for the colours in cannabis, as we saw in our prior weblog report devoted to them. Plants from the Purple family members of genetics, for instance, generally include a substantial quantity of anthocyanins. The concentration of flavonoids in each and every instance depends on various aspects, specifically associated to genetics and expanding situations (light cycle, temperature).

The basic structure of anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid

The fundamental structure of anthocyanins, a sort of flavonoid

Classification of flavonoids

The flavonoids are principally divided into 3 main groups, according to molecular structure and metabolic pathway: Flavonoids, Isoflavonoids and Neoflavonoids. Nonetheless, inside each and every of these primary groups we obtain unique classes, based on their functional groups:

  • Chalcones: attract pollinating insects by way of the colouring of flowers
  • Flavones: yellow in colour, are located in flowers such as primrose or in the skin of grapes
  • Flavonols: present in leaves and flowers, plays a part in protection from UV rays
  • Flavandiols: can be located in bananas, alfalfa or mistletoe
  • Anthocyaninas: water-soluble pigments that lend red, blue and violet tones to leaves and flowers, for instance in berries and forest fruits
  • Tannins: macromolecules (polymers) formed by anthocyanins. Present en tea, they have an astringent flavour and shield the plants from herbivorous animals

The classification of flavonoids is complex offered their fantastic diversity in terms of molecular structure and synthesis, so by familiarising ourselves with these substantial groups, we can get an notion of the numerous properties that these compounds possess, and appreciate how complicated their classification can be based on the elements or parameters selected.

Forest fruits contain a large quantity of anthocyanins

Forest fruits include a substantial quantity of anthocyanins

Flavonoids in cannabis

We currently know that, as properly as cannabinoids and terpenes, cannabis also consists of flavonoids, some of which are exclusive to this plant. They are located in unique concentrations, primarily in the flowers, but also in stems and leaves (they have not been located in seeds or roots). As we have observed, flavonoids can shield from pests, UV rays and herbivorous animals, as properly as providing the plants their certain character in terms of colour, aroma and flavour. They are as a result pretty crucial compounds for the survival of the plant, which also perform to give them their personal exclusive character. Clear examples of this are cultivars like Grand Daddy Purple or Peyote Purple, with their characteristic spectacular colours.

Nonetheless, and largely due to prohibition, not sufficient information exists and a lot more research of the flavonoid content material in cannabis are required in order to decide which are the most typical. Of the a lot more than 20 flavonoids located in cannabis up till now, the following compounds stand out for their concentration, some of them being the so-named cannaflavins – exclusive to this plant:

  • Cannaflavins A, B &amp C: created exclusively by cannabis plants, these compounds act on the inflammatory pathway of prostaglandins, which implies they have anti-inflammatory effects (demonstrated in laboratories) a lot more potent than, for instance, aspirin. In addition, this impact, shared with other terpenes and cannabinoids, would produce a higher synergy in between these unique substances. So far, most research have focused on cannaflavin A.
  • Vitexin: located in larger concentrations in seedlings than in adult specimens, could be valuable to inhibit thyroid peroxidase and treat gout.
  • Isovitexin: a flavone with related properties to Vitexin.
  • Apigenin: acts on GABA receptors (like cannabinoids), supplying sedative and anxiolytic effects. In addition, it is specifically valuable throughout organ transplants to cut down the undesirable effects of an immunosuppressant made use of in these circumstances, Cyclosporin A. Rodent research have shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, canceling tumour development.
Cannabis plant with green leaves and purple flowers

Cannabis plant with green leaves and purple flowers

  • Kaempferol: valuable to treat symptoms of depression, like some cannabinoids. It is attributed to have preventive action against coronary heart illness or cancer, as properly as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Quercetin: located in practically all vascular plants, supplying anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant effects.
  • Orientin: typical in cannabis and tea plants, it is a potent antioxidant, an correct scavenger of free of charge radicals. It also has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, as properly as anti-cancer properties.
  • Luteolina: related effects to Orientin, it also seems to enter into synergy with the other compounds.
  • Beta-sitosterol: isolated for the initial time precisely from the cannabis plant, this phytosterol reduces the level of cholesterol and prevents coronary heart illness.

Properties and applications of flavonoids

Naturally, despite the fact that like molecules such as CBD they are not psychoactive, the effects of these polyphenolic metabolites play their part in the so-named entourage impact, whereby the many compounds present in cannabis enter into synergy to potentiate and modulate their properties. In addition, flavonoids have in themselves been recognized for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties for years, positive aspects felt by animals and humans when they feed on plants, fruits or vegetables.

If you want to take benefit of their properties by consuming fruits and vegetables, you will require to take into account a couple of factors, such as that the highest concentration is generally located on the skin, or that when cooking meals, practically all flavonoids are lost due to the fact they are water soluble, which means it is greatest to consume these foods raw.

Great overall health!

Research and publications on flavonoids consulted for this report:

  • Cannabis sativa: The Plant of the Thousand and 1 Molecules, Christelle M. Andre, Jean-Francois Hausman, Gea Guerriero
  • Medicinal Properties of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids in Cannabis, and Advantages in Migraine, Headache, and Discomfort: An Update on Present Proof and Cannabis Science, Baron EP
  • Polyketide synthases in Cannabis sativa L., Isvett Josefina Flores Sanchez
  • Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Handful of Promising Leads. Advances in Pharmacology, Russo, E., Marcu, J.
  • New Procedures for the Complete Evaluation of Bioactive Compounds in Cannabis sativa L. (hemp), Federica Pellati, Virginia Brighenti, Johanna Sperlea, Stefania Benvenuti
  • Flavonoid Glycosides and Cannabinoids from the Pollen of Cannabis sativa L., Samir A. Ross, Mahmoud A. ElSohly, Gazi N. N. Sultana, Zlatko Mehmedic, Chowdhury F. Hossain, Suman Chandra
  • PKS Activities and Biosynthesis of Cannabinoids and Flavonoids in Cannabis sativa L. Plants, Isvett Josefina Flores-Sanchez, Robert Verpoorte
  • Flavonoid variation in Cannabis L., M.N Clarck, Bruce A. Bohm
  • Biologically active cannabinoids from higher-potency Cannabis sativa, Radwan MM, Elsohly MA, Slade D, Ahmed SA, Khan IA, Ross SA


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