What are flavonoids ?
Just under 500 active compounds have been discovered in Cannabis, which is considerable. These elements are mainly, cannabinoids, terpenes, and the subject of this article, flavonoids. And if it is true that one hears much more about CBD or THC, you will see that the flavonoïdes also deserve that one pays attention to them.
What are flavonoids ?
Discovered by chance in 1936 by Albert Szent-Györgyi, who received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1937, the various flavonoids represent a large family of more than 6,000 elements. They are plant pigments, responsible for the color of flowers and fruits. Like terpenes, flavonoids are present in all plants, including hemp (Cannabis Sativa).
These 6 000 flavonoids are classified in 6 groups :
- Flavones found in marjoram, sage, thyme or beer
- Flavonols with antioxidant power, which are found in blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, peppers, but also in beer and red wine.
- Flavanonols present in oregano and red wine
- Flavanones are found in citrus fruits such as grapefruit and oranges.
In plants, flavonoids are antioxidant agents, but they also play an important role in the protection of plants by providing the pigments necessary for the color of flowers, leaves or fruits. This is to attract pollinators, deter or attract certain herbivores. They also contribute to the protection against the UV of the sun, and the microbial agents.
What are the health benefits of flavonoids ?
Naturally present in vegetables and fruits consumed in human food, flavonoids have shown, in vitro, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Since a few years, the lucrative sale of food complements containing flavonoids gave place to many very varied, and sometimes even fanciful allegations. This is why, the European health authorities, have chosen to regulate the subject on their effects, by recalling that the vast majority of studies published to date, were carried out on cells in vitro.
Flavonoids in food
Fruits and vegetables that we eat every day are rich in flavonoids. Their consumption is good for health, and if we respect the slogan of Santé publique France, by eating 5 fruits and vegetables per day, then we ingest between 150 and 300 mg of flavonoids daily.
Today, even if the role of flavonoids remains to be determined with more precision, scientists agree that a regular intake of flavonoids is undoubtedly interesting to be in shape, but that it is preferable that they come from a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Cannabis and flavonoids
Before going further, let us stop for a moment on cannabis. Cannabis is still too often associated in the collective imagination, with the psychotropic effects of a famous cannabinoid that it produces, THC. But cannabis is not a plant, but a family of plants:
- Cannabis Sativa, or industrial hemp : It is used to produce CBD (cannabidiol) oil from the plant's flowers. The other parts, like the leaves and the stem are used in other industries (Textiles, building, food, etc.). Cannabis Sativa is therefore very rich in CBD, and contains a negligible amount of THC which must be less than 0.2% in France.
- Cannabis Indica : This is recreational cannabis, grown illegally or not depending on the state. It is very rich in THC, and contains little CBD. Its consumption remains prohibited in a large majority of countries in the world, even if certain governments start to evoke the subject of its legalization.
- Cannabis Ruderalis : Low in THC and CBD, it is currently not used in any particular way.
The effects of CBD on the body
CBD is not psychotropic, and in recent years, scientists have published numerous studies on its benefits. People who consume CBD, do so for its effects :
- Anti-inflammatory : CBD (cannabidiol) is effective in treating inflammation, as shown in several in vivo studies (MECHA, et al. 2013, KOZELA et al. 2013, BUCCELLATO et al. 2011, RIBEIRO et al. 2012). This is why it is very popular with people suffering from inflammation such as athletes, or patients with certain pathologies.
- Analgesics : Cannabidiol is a natural analgesic, scientists have been able to show that CBD was as effective as a conventional painkiller to relieve pain in the short term.
- Anxiolytic : CBD has anxiolytic effects, and helps combat stress and anxiety. In 2013, a study of 48 patients with anxiety disorders highlighted the anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol, even at low doses.
- Improving sleep : Several studies have shown the properties of CBD in improving sleep, including its action on increasing the duration of sleep and its depth. (2013 CHAGAS et al.)
CBD, terpenes, flavonoids and entourage effect
The entourage effect is well known in herbal medicine, or it is considered that the "totum", that is to say the whole plant and what it contains, is at the origin of the therapeutic effect. Thus in the case of hemp (Cannabis S.), it is the surrounding effect, the synergy of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that would produce the therapeutic potential.
To consume an isolate of CBD in oil would be thus much less effective, than to take CBD with broad spectrum (containing CBD, terpenes and flavonoïdes).
How to choose your CBD oil ?
CBD products are numerous, and available in several forms, such as oils, gums or candies, flowers, or e-liquids. The criteria for choosing a product are few, but important if you want to enjoy the maximum effect of surrounding, and therefore the benefits of CBD :
- Is the CBD oil broad spectrum (cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids) ?
- What is the extraction method used ?
- Is the oil organic ?
- What are the guarantees of quality of the manufacturer ?
If you buy a product with all these qualities, you will enjoy all the benefits that hemp can offer you.