What are flavonoids and what are their effects?

When talking about beneficial compounds from cannabis, most people probably think of cannabinoids and terpenes. However, research from recent years indicates that flavonoids also play an important role. In this article, we will focus on where flavonoids can be found, how they can affect our health, and which flavonoids are typical of the cannabis plant.

What are flavonoids?

Flavonoids are natural compounds found in plants, fruits, vegetables, tea or wine. They belong to the group of phytonutrients. Flavonoids are responsible for the color and fragrance of flowers and fruits, act as a protective filter against UV rays, serve to attract pollinators and protect plants from pathogens.

Division of flavonoids

Flavonoids can be divided into six main subtypes/subgroups according to their chemical structure into:
  • Flavones - e.g. apigenin, luteolin 
  • Flavanones - e.g. hesperetin, eriodictyol and naringenin
  • Flavonols - e.g. quercetin, kaempferol, rutin, resveratrol
  • Isoflavonoids - e.g. genistein, daidzein
  • Anthocyanins - e.g. delphinidin, peonidin
  • Chalcones - e.g. flavocavin, butein
However, different researchers use different subdivisions, and so we may encounter seven, ten or twelve different subgroups in studies. However, in this article we will focus mainly on the flavonoids contained in the cannabis plant.

Effects of flavonoids

However, flavonoids are not only useful for plants and fruits, but also have a variety of beneficial effects for humans. Most commonly, flavonoids are associated with antioxidant effects (protection against free radicals), the ability to reduce inflammation and support the body's defences. But flavonoids can do much more, at least according to what some research suggests.

What are the other possible benefits of flavonoids?

  • Improving blood vessel permeability
  • preventing and helping to treat gout
  • preventing neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease
  • lowering blood pressure levels in patients with hypertension
  • antibacterial effects
  • anticarcinogenic properties (induction of apoptosis of cancer cells)

Flavonoids in cannabis

More than 20 flavonoids have been identified in Cannabis sativa. Specific to the cannabis plant is the canflavin class - these are flavonoids that are found nowhere else. Canflavins A, B and C are distinguished. 

Studies show that canflavins A and B could serve as a promising anti-inflammatory therapeutic agent, as they were about 30 times more effective than aspirin when tested in human rheumatoid cells. Canflavin C is also being investigated for its potential therapeutic benefits.

Canflavins and other flavonoids from the cannabis plant, as well as cannabinoids and terpenes, are involved in the so-called entourage effect - a theory that holds that active substances work better together than separately.



Other known flavonoids found in the cannabis plant and their characteristics can be found in the table below:






One of the most widely used flavonoids; plant pigment; powerful antioxidant, natural "antihistamine", promotes respiratory health, lowers blood pressure in hypertensive patients, may reduce inflammation.

Cannabis, green tea, berries, kale, red wine, onions, apples


Promotes sleep, has a positive effect on cholesterol levels, slows the decline in testosterone levels.

Cannabis, parsley, onion, chamomile, parsley, orange

Kemferol (Kaempferol)

Has antibacterial properties, beneficial effects on chronic inflammatory diseases, potential to stop the growth of cancer cells.

Cannabis, kale, spinach, broccoli, leeks, beans, tea


Has promising potential in the treatment of pain, neuropathy and chronic inflammatory diseases.

Hemp, celery, broccoli, artichoke, green pepper, parsley, thyme, dandelion, carrots, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary, citrus, oregano


Has strong antioxidant effects, can induce apoptosis in cancer cells, relieves pain associated with inflammation, helps with hormonal imbalances.

Hemp, hawthorn, bamboo, passionflower, buckwheat, millet, mung bean, flaxseed.


Flavonoids have not received much attention for a long time, but in recent years a number of studies have emerged describing their beneficial health effects and possible future clinical applications. For example, it appears that canflavins, flavonoids specific to the cannabis plant, could not only act as antioxidants but could also have the potential to reduce inflammation, pain or neurodegenerative processes in Alzheimer's patients.

The importance of flavonoids is also supported by a theory known as the entourage effect, which assumes that the benefits of cannabis on a range of ailments can be explained by the interaction between cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Computer models and cell culture and animal studies are promising, but clinical studies will be necessary to confirm the therapeutic effects in humans. 

Currently, intake of fruits, vegetables and beverages containing flavonoids is recommended, but recommendations on daily intake of flavonoids will have to wait. It is likely that research in the coming years will also reveal what ratios of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are beneficial for certain diseases. 

Author: Michaela Mádlová, translation: AI


Photo: Shutterstock

 Briefly and simply:

  1. Hemnia does not want to, nor can it, replace the expert care of your physician.
  2. Hemnia products are not drugs (or medicines), so please do not treat them as such.
  3. Hemnia offers cannabis products, but do not look for any narcotic or psychotropic substances. We do not offer or recommend them.

Click here to read the full text of the Disclaimer.