What are cannabis flavonoids and why are they important?

Medical cannabis is now becoming known for its therapeutic potential, primarily due to well-known compounds like THC and CBD. However, the plant’s benefits extend beyond these cannabinoids. One group of compounds that play a crucial role in the cannabis plant’s overall profile and potential health benefits is flavonoids. Despite being less well-known, flavonoids are a key component of cannabis’s complexity and efficacy.

What are flavonoids

What Are Flavonoids?

Flavonoids are a diverse group of plant chemicals found in many fruits, vegetables, and grains. Foods like dark chocolate, green tea leaves, red wine, and berries are potent sources of flavonoids. In cannabis, flavonoids are one of the many compounds that contribute to the plant’s aroma, and flavor.

Flavonoids also influence the pigmentation of cannabis, similar to how they affect other flowers. The vibrant, deep purple color of certain cannabis strains is due to flavonoids called anthoxanthins or anthocyanins. In other plants like berries, anthocyanin can produce red, purple, or even blue hues depending on pH levels.

Fun fact: Flavonoids also act as a defense mechanism for plants, preventing damage from environmental stressors like bacteria, fungi, insects, and the sun’s UV rays.

Let’s explore each major flavonoid present in cannabis and understand its distinct properties and potential health benefits.

Cannflavin A and Cannflavin B

Cannflavin A and Cannflavin B are unique to cannabis, known collectively as cannaflavins. They stand out due to their potent anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it promising for conditions like arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.

Flavonoids - Red apples


Quercetin is a widely distributed flavonoid found in many fruits, vegetables, and grains, such as Apples, Kale, Cocoa (chocolate), Red onions, Berries, and Red wine. In cannabis, Quercetin has exhibited the following –

  • Antioxidant Properties: Quercetin is a potent antioxidant that helps neutralise free radicals, thereby protecting cells from damage.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: It also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for conditions like asthma and allergies.
  • Antiviral Potential: Quercetin has shown antiviral properties that enhance the body’s immune response, adding another layer of protection.
Flavonoids - Celery


Apigenin is another flavonoid present in Celery, Parsley, Tarragon, Basil, Oranges, and cannabis, with research showing its calming effects.

  • Anxiolytic Effects: Apigenin has been studied for its ability to reduce anxiety by modulating neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant: It also possesses strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, contributing to overall cellular health and protection against oxidative stress.
Flavonoids - Kale


Kaempferol is a flavonoid most abundant in Beans, Kale, Endive, Cucumbers, Onions, Green beans, and cannabis, with studies revealing a range of health benefits.

  • Antioxidant Properties: Kaempferol is known for its strong antioxidant effects, which help protect cells from oxidative damage.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: It also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for inflammatory conditions.
  • Neuroprotective Effects: Research suggests kaempferol may help protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in neural tissues.

Flavonoids vs. terpenes

Flavonoids are primarily responsible for the color of the cannabis plant. Meanwhile, terpenes are the primary contributor to the unique scent of a particular cannabis strain. The potential health benefits of flavonoids differ from those of terpenes. Another point of difference would be that there are a lot more terpenes than flavonoids in nature. For context, researchers have identified more than 150 terpenes and only over 20 flavonoids in cannabis Sativa.

While both flavonoids and terpenes have different profiles in the cannabis plant, they work in tandem to enhance your sensory experience of a particular cultivar. Scientists credit this to the entourage effect. This concept suggests that the combined effect of these compounds is greater than the sum of their individual effects. The entourage effect plays a crucial role in enhancing the therapeutic potential of cannabis.

How do I know which flavonoid to look out for?

By understanding the effects of the common cannabis flavonoids, you can identify which strain is most beneficial for your needs with a specialist consultant.

At Mamedica, we offer one-to-one consultations with our specialist doctors during which your bespoke treatment plan will be determined.

During this initial assessment, our specialists will understand your pain and health concerns to ensure your medical cannabis treatment is stress-free, simple, safe, and effective. Check your eligibility for treatment here.

Now you know what a flavonoid is and why they matter, remember to keep an eye on our blog as we share everything you need to know about medical cannabis.