Flavonoids in cannabis have potentially huge benefits for our wellness.
Flavonoids in cannabis, and other plants, are biologically active compounds that may help contribute to good health. Specifically, studies show these may help with the maintenance of heart health, possess potential anti-cancer benefits, and enhance metabolic regulation.
People typically get their daily intake of flavonoids from fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are also found in plant-derived foods and in beverages, such as tea and wine. And it’s a good thing too because according to the some estimates, 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide are associated with fruit and vegetable intake of less than 800g/day! Cannabis, however, is another great source. Unfortunately, there is no data yet on how much the flavonoids in cannabis would supplement a diet low in fruits and vegetables.
Significantly, there are variations in the chemical structure of flavonoids that has led to a broad categorization into 6 groups: flavonols, flavan-3-ols, flavonones, anthocyanins, and isoflavones. Each group has a different metabolic effect and unique bioactivity.
What do Flavonoids do?
As powerful antioxidant agents, flavonoids act to correct the damage that everyday stress and toxins place on our bodies. In addition, these play a role in regulating cellular activity and clearing out free radicals that can cause damage to proteins and DNA.
How do Bioflavonoids Help the Body?
Bioflavonoids is just another name for flavonoids – these words mean the same thing. There are several different areas of research that are investigating how flavonoids help the body:
Cardiovascular Health and Flavonoids
Results of a study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews (2015) Jaime L. Clark, Peter Zahradka, Carla G. Taylor. Efficacy of Flavonoids in the Management of High Blood Pressure. Nutrition Reviews, December 2015;73(12):799-822. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv048. suggests that flavonoids may help with controlling high blood pressure. Interestingly, flavanones and flavanols accomplished this by restoring cells in the endothelium (the lining of blood vessels). In doing so, these were better able to control vascular relaxation, blood clotting, and immune function.
In fact, a study in the Journal of Translational Medicine (2015), Valentia Ponzo, Ilaria Goitre, Maurizio Fadda, Roberto Gambino, Antonella De Francesco, Laura Soldati, Luigi Gentile, Paola Magistroni, Maurizio Cassader, Simona Bo. Dietary Flavonoid Intake and … Continue reading found that patients with a diet high in flavonoids had a lower risk of experiencing a negative cardiovascular event (stroke or heart attack).
Additionally, a study published in the journal called Nature Communications (2019)Nicola P. Bondonno, Frederik Dalgaard, Cecilie Kyrø, Kevin Murray, Catherine P. Bondonno, Joshua R. Lewis, Kevin D. Croft, Gunnar Gislason, Augustin Scalbert, Aedin Cassidy, Anne Tjønneland, Kim … Continue reading investigated a Danish human cohort of 56,048 participants, and found a daily dose of flavonoids associated with improvement of cardiovascular-related and cancer-related mortality.
Flavonoids and Cancer
These large scale studies in humans and animals show that flavonoids may help in the fight against cancer. Significantly, the potential anticancer activities of bioflavonoids include reducing the following activities of cancer cells: cell proliferation, angiogenesis (blood vessel formation), and metastasis. A review published in AntiCancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry (2013), Marcio Carocho, Isabel CFR Ferreira. The Role of Phenolic Compounds in the Fight Against Cancer. Anticancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry 2013;13(8). DOI10.2174/18715206113139990301.
Generally, these benefits are a result of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of flavonoids. Moreover, maintaining a healthy diet that includes flavonoids may decrease the risk of cancer.
Diabetes and Flavonoids
Additionally, naturally occurring flavonoids may have anti-diabetic benefits. Generally, in vitro and animal models suggest these benefits include: glucose homeostasis, improved insulin resistance, and reduction in the formation of fat cells. Moreover, a meta-analysis published in Medicine (2018)Hui Xu MD, Jia Luo MD, Jia Huang MD, Qian Wen MD. Flavonoid Intake and Risk of Type II Diabetes Mellitus. Medicine 2018 May; 97(19): e0686. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000010686.indicates that a diet high in flavonoids may decrease the risk of Type II diabetes.
What is the Right Dose of Flavonoids?
The optimal dosage is approximately 500mg/day for cardiovascular-related risk. Further, 1000 mg/day may lower cancer risk. Importantly, above these amounts, there was no additional benefits to these factors.
To put things in perspective, to achieve 500mg/day, you would need to eat one apple, one orange, 100g blueberries, 100g broccoli and one cup of tea.
What About Flavonoids In Cannabis?
An important plant source of flavonoids is cannabis, and flavonoid content even provides antioxidant properties to the plant itself. Altogether, about 20 different flavonoids have been identified in cannabis to date.
Cannaflavins, however, are a type of flavonoid unique to cannabis. Moreover, cannaflavins, along with terpenes, are responsible for the flavor and aroma of cannabis. Further, the unique flavonoids in cannabis affect its pigmentation. Additionally, bioflavonoids create the beautiful colors of cannabis.
Medicinal Benefits of Flavonoids in Cannabis
Many of the flavonoids contained in cannabis were shown to be anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, to have anti-cancer and anxiolytic effects. Subsequently, two of them were shown to reduce topical inflammation by 65% and chronic edema by 41% in animal models of skin disease.
A study published in Frontiers in Oncology (2019), Michele Moreau, Udoka Ibeh, Kaylie Decosmo, Noella Bih, Sayeda Yasmin-Karim, Ngeh Toyang, Henry Lowe, Wilfred Ngwa. Flavonoid Derivative of Cannabis Demonstrates Therapeutic Potential in Pre-Clincal … Continue readingidentified a flavonoid found in cannabis to have significant therapeutic benefits in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. This is significant, given the aggressive nature of pancreatic cancer and the lack of success in conventional therapy.
This area of study needs more research. Importantly, there are other beneficial compounds, such as terpenes, also present in significant amounts in cannabis. We can’t discount the possibility of any “entourage effects”. This term is used to describe the variety of therapeutic benefits of cannabis that are due to the combined action of many different compounds in cannabis.
The Need For More Research
More data is needed to determine precisely the amounts and ratios of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids (and other compounds that we are likely yet to discover) that are beneficial for management and treatment of various diseases and syndromes.
Additionally, this research raises the possibility of creating a strain with appropriate ratios of flavonoids needed for maximal predictable therapeutic benefit.
|↑1||Jaime L. Clark, Peter Zahradka, Carla G. Taylor. Efficacy of Flavonoids in the Management of High Blood Pressure. Nutrition Reviews, December 2015;73(12):799-822. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv048.|
|↑2||Valentia Ponzo, Ilaria Goitre, Maurizio Fadda, Roberto Gambino, Antonella De Francesco, Laura Soldati, Luigi Gentile, Paola Magistroni, Maurizio Cassader, Simona Bo. Dietary Flavonoid Intake and Cardiovascular Risk: A Population Based Cohort Study. Journal of Translational Medicine July 2015; 13(218). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-015-0573-2.|
|↑3||Nicola P. Bondonno, Frederik Dalgaard, Cecilie Kyrø, Kevin Murray, Catherine P. Bondonno, Joshua R. Lewis, Kevin D. Croft, Gunnar Gislason, Augustin Scalbert, Aedin Cassidy, Anne Tjønneland, Kim Overvad, Jonathon M Hodgson. Flavonoid Intake is Associated with Lowered Mortality in Danish Diet Cancer and Health Cohort. Nature Communications (2019)10:3651 | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11622-x.|
|↑4||Marcio Carocho, Isabel CFR Ferreira. The Role of Phenolic Compounds in the Fight Against Cancer. Anticancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry 2013;13(8). DOI10.2174/18715206113139990301.|
|↑5||Hui Xu MD, Jia Luo MD, Jia Huang MD, Qian Wen MD. Flavonoid Intake and Risk of Type II Diabetes Mellitus. Medicine 2018 May; 97(19): e0686. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000010686.|
|↑6||Michele Moreau, Udoka Ibeh, Kaylie Decosmo, Noella Bih, Sayeda Yasmin-Karim, Ngeh Toyang, Henry Lowe, Wilfred Ngwa. Flavonoid Derivative of Cannabis Demonstrates Therapeutic Potential in Pre-Clincal Models of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer. Frontiers in Oncology. July 2019; 9: 660.doi: 10.3389/fonc.2019.00660.|