What Are Flavonoids?
Flavonoids are phytonutrients that can be found in nearly all fruits and flowers. They are responsible for giving plants their pigmentation (or colour). They also contribute to the aroma and flavour of cannabis.
There are 20 flavonoids unique to the cannabis plant.
Cannaflavins are cannabis-specific flavonoids that have been linked to a variety of therapeutic benefits, including antioxidant effects.
However, cannaflavins remain understudied, and more research into their medicinal benefits is needed.
All the same, there are some types of cannaflavins whose health benefits have been highlighted.
Common Types of Flavonoids in Cannabis
Kaempferol - It's a powerful antioxidant also found in vegetables and fruits. It helps increase the body's antioxidant defence against free radicals, promoting cancer development .
Cannflavin A and Cannflavin B - These are flavonoids exclusive to cannabis with powerful anti-inflammatory effects .
They may also have anti-cancer properties with medical benefits in pancreatic cancer treatment 
Quercetin- It's an abundant flavonoid found in citrus fruits, coffee, red wine, and onions. It’s shown to reduce inflammation, a condition linked to many health problems like heart and kidney disease  . It may also be antioxidant- qualities that may give it cancer-fighting properties .
Silymarin- It’s a power-packed flavonoid with various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and cardioprotective properties .
How Do Terpenes and Flavonoids Compare to Cannabinoids (THC and CBD)?
There are over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plant. However, the two most abundant and most studied are CBD and THC.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive compound that causes a "high," while CBD is also a psychoactive compound but not intoxicating. Both compounds are responsible for the medicinal benefits of cannabis, but THC is also associated with recreational use.
It is considered within the scientific community that all the compounds in cannabis work together to give cannabis its unique medicinal properties.
How Do These Compounds Work Together? (The Entourage Effect)
People take CBD and THC in various ways, and they can be consumed separately or together. However, research suggests taking cannabinoids together with smaller organic compounds like terpenes and flavonoids is more effective.
This effectiveness is due to the interaction between cannabinoids and phytochemicals called the “Entourage effect.”
The "Entourage effect" is the theory that all compounds in cannabis, when taken together, work together (or synergistically) to cause better therapeutic effects than when taken alone.
2018 research proposed that certain flavonoids and terpenes could improve CBD's therapeutic potential . The research revealed that these compounds could improve brain health and cognition above CBD's solitary ability to treat cognitive impairment.
Cannabis is good for helping with sleep. The addition of terpenoids with pain-relieving, anti-anxiety, or sedative effects enhances symptom reduction allowing for better sleep as opposed to a mere hypnotic effect. Some terpenoids with these effects include linalool, caryophyllene, and myrcene .
Another study revealed that patients with social anxiety might benefit from a dose of pure CBD. However, there would be a higher clinical efficacy of CBD extract for anxiety and cognitive impairment if anxiolytic (or anxiety-relieving) limonene and linalool could be added .
For the case of addiction, CBD has shown anti-addiction therapeutic benefits. It has been shown to help treat cravings and addiction relapse for heroin and tobacco smoking .
Terpenoids could provide adjunctive support to CBD’s anti-addiction benefits. A clinical trial had cigarette smokers inhale black pepper vapor, which reduced nicotine craving significantly . The dose simulated the act of cigarette smoking without the presence or actual burning of nicotine.
The success of black pepper was attributed to its terpene profile. It included myrcene via sedation, pinene for increased alertness, and caryophyllene via CB2 activation and a presumed mechanism of action in addiction treatment .
CB2 receptors are important components of the cannabinoid system. THC activates CB2 receptors to perform their role in regulating immune signalling and inflammatory responses in the body .
The cannabinoids and terpenes in medicinal cannabis work in tandem: THC activates the CB2 receptors while CBD works to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC.
Overall, with research on terpenes and flavonoids at infancy, there's still a lot of untapped medical potential. But with more studies being carried out, we will better understand the therapeutic benefits of these compounds.
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