Veteran medical cannabis patients tend to understand the basics of cannabinoids and terpenes. They know that certain cannabinoid and terpene profiles are better for their conditions than others. But what about flavonoids? Do they offer any benefit in a medical cannabis scenario?
The jury is still out on that one, according to Brigham City, Utah’s Beehive Farmacy. Like so much within the medical cannabis space, there is not enough scientific data to speak unequivocally about the potential benefits of flavonoids one way or the other. So for the time being, there is very little value in looking for products containing specific flavonoids.
Naturally Occurring Substances
Flavonoids share some similarities with terpenes. Among them is the fact that they are naturally occurring in nearly all plant life. There are some flavonoids that are pretty universal. Others are specific to one type of plant or another. In fact, there are a small number of flavonoids that are only found in cannabis plants. They cannot be found anywhere else.
Flavonoids also occur naturally in varying levels. Some flavonoids are found in higher concentrations depending on the plant producing them. Others occur in concentrations that are not all that impressive. Understanding all the implications of a plant’s of flavonoids really requires an individual approach to each given plant.
Nature’s Purpose for Flavonoids
Another similarity between flavonoids and terpenes is nature’s purpose for them. Flavonoids tend to play two distinct roles: attracting pollinators and defending against pests. For instance, pollinators might be attracted to a plant due to the colors its flavonoids produce. At the same time, pests are deterred because the flavonoids do not taste particularly good.
Cannabis producers tend to rely on flavonoids for producing different colors in their plants. Flavor isn’t much of an issue, given that flavonoids tend to be rather bitter and obtrusive. But colors are a different matter. A deep purple color made possible through a particular flavonoid profile could make a medical cannabis product very attractive.
Not Much by Way of Medical Benefits
As for medical benefits, there is not a whole lot to say. There is scant evidence suggesting that flavonoids offer any medical benefits at all. If there are medical benefits lurking under the surface, they could be hindered by three things:
- Limited Absorption – The human body does not absorb flavonoids as readily as other plant compounds. Where absorption is limited, medical benefits tend to be equally limited.
- Complex Metabolism – Numerous metabolic pathways offer different ways for flavonoid metabolites to get into the body and affect its systems. But we still know little about flavonoid metabolism. It is very complex.
- Rapid Excretion – Absorption and metabolism aside, flavonoids are excreted very quickly. The faster a compound is excreted by the human body, the less time it has to positively influence systems.
From what we can tell, the human body doesn’t do a particularly good job of taking advantage of flavonoids. So while there may be plenty of flavonoids in a medical cannabis product, they might actually contribute very little to the effectiveness of that product at relieving symptoms.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes Are More Important
Flavonoids can create interesting colors during cannabis cultivation. The colors can even be a selling point for raw flower. But when it comes to medical efficacy, cannabinoids and terpenes are far more important.
If you are a medical cannabis patient, learn all you can about cannabinoids and terpenes. Discuss them with your medical provider and pharmacist as well. If you can find the right cannabinoid and terpene profile, you’ll be better off. Then start looking at flavonoids if you want to.