If you’re a cannabis aficionado, you’ve probably heard the science surrounding cannabinoids: CBD is good. THC is bad. Class dismissed. Well, not so fast – because the benefits of terpenes and flavonoids have been largely overlooked. Today, we’re going to take a closer look…
Just when you thought the world’s most notorious plant couldn’t be any more misunderstood – allow us to introduce you to the flavonoids and terpenes in cannabis.
But first, let’s clear one thing up: these two chemical compounds are actually found in thousands of other plants, fruits and vegetables – only people commonly associate them with cannabis because of the plant’s high concentration of them.
And interestingly, scientists now believe that the benefits of cannabis are a lot more effective thanks to these terpenes and flavonoids working together with other compounds (like CBD.) It’s called the entourage effect, but more on that in a minute…
First, what’s the tea with terpenes?
What Are Terpenes?
Put simply, terpenes are what give cannabis its renowned “skunky” smell. You know, the smell that turns heads in the street no matter where you are in the world. The smell that evokes excitement, fear, curiosity or even anger. But whether you love or hate it – there are around 100 different types of these terpenes in cannabis, so they’re here to stay.
The main role of terpenes is to protect the plant by deterring herbivores and attracting pollinators. (Genius, really). However, research is now surfacing that suggests terpenes can have a positive impact on the human body…
Types Of Terpenes In Cannabis
There are approximately 20,000 different types of terpenes found in nature (that we’re aware of) but there are a few types that are particularly prevalent in the cannabis plant – ready to jump in?
Studies on mice have confirmed what many humans have long believed to be true: myrcene can have pain-killing properties. Not only that, it is believed to contribute to the relaxing and sedative effect of cannabis. Myrcene is also found in many other fruits and hops. In other words, it’s what helps to give beer and mango its delicious flavour – so it’s kind of a big deal.
Limonene is one of the most common terpenes in nature – think lemon, mandarin, orange and grapefruit. And just like these brightly coloured citrus fruits, limonene is believed to brighten your mood. Not only that, studies show it could stimulate immune function and prevent cancer.
Another study on mice investigated the effects of the linalool terpenes, which is commonly found in plants like lavender, jasmine and rosewood. The mice that inhaled linalool experienced calming effects and induced sedation – and it is also believed to have antiseizure effects.
Humulene is believed to be an effective anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent, as well as contribute to pain relief. Oh, and once again, it also contributes to the taste of hoppy beers. Let’s all take a moment to thank our friend, humulene.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. There’s over 100 different types of terpenes in Cannabis, such as Caryophyllene, Pinene, Alpha-Bisabolol, Eucalyptol, Camphene and more – and each compound contains its own unique benefits that interact in different ways with cannabinoids and endocannabinoid system.
Now, what about the lesser known compound, flavonoids…
What Are Flavonoids?
So if we associated terpenes with the smell and flavour of plants – then flavonoids are responsible for the vivid colours we see in fruits, vegetables and flowers. Without flavonoids, the world would be pretty dang dull.
But it’s not all about looks; the striking colours of plants and flowers serve many purposes – from attracting pollinators, as well as protecting them from UV rays, pests and diseases.
And while much of the hype surrounding cannabis has been in response to the findings on cannabinoids and terpenes – this lesser known compound is finally making its way to the spotlight (albeit, slowly).
There are numerous different groups of flavonoids, including anthocyanidins, flavanols, flavones, flavonols, flavonones and isoflavones. And each of these groups of flavonoids hosts a unique set of benefits and actions. But today, we’re going to take a broad look at these benefits…
Flavonoids for longevity
We all want to live a long, healthy life – don’t we? Well, the good news is that flavonoids can help us to do just that. Studies show that flavonoids can reduce inflammation, boost immunity and prevent common diseases.
One particular study found that flavonoid consumption could reduce the mortality rate from coronary heart disease, due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory behaviors. Animal studies have also revealed positive signs that flavonoids could lower cancer risk in the lungs, mouth, stomach, colon and skin. However, it has been made clear that more human studies need to be done. Further to this, studies show that a diet high in flavonoids may also decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes.
So you know that age-old saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well, it’s actually the quercetin flavonoids in an apple each day that keeps the doctor away – it just didn’t quite have the same ring to it.
Flavonoids for weight maintenance
Did you know that diets rich in flavonoids could also help to maintain your weight, or even contribute to weight loss? One study concluded that foods rich in flavonols, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins, and flavonoid polymers could help to prevent obesity and the negative side effects that come with it.
Flavonoids to boost your mood
It’s no secret that what we eat can impact how we feel. And more research is starting to look into the impact that flavonoids have on our mood and mental health – revealing it could increase our cognitive performance and decrease our chances of developing depression.
And while we still have so much to learn about flavonoids and their impact on our health – they could just hold the secret as to why fruit, veggies and plants are so good for us.
Eat those vegetables – Mum was right all along.
Terpenes, Flavonoids And Cannabis: Let’s Bring It All Together
So let’s circle back: Cannabinoids are good for you. Terpenes are good for you. Flavonoids are good for you. But when we bring them all together? Well, that’s when the magic happens.
You see, it’s widely known that different strains of cannabis have different effects. And if we consider the fact that when two cannabis plants have the exact same cannabinoid assembly, but the terpenes and flavonoid structures are different – this can result in a range of different experiences. Incredible, right?
You see, terpenes and flavonoids can impact how cannabinoids work within our body.
This astonishing finding is called the entourage effect, which is the belief that consuming the whole cannabis plant (rather than a single aspect of it) could increase the overall effects and benefits.
And what’s more, here at the Hemp Collective, we blend a number of natural ingredients that also contain terpenes and flavonoids with our own organic hemp. These include black pepper, myrrh, lemongrass, copaiba oil, lavender, orange and grapefruit – to name a few.
So terpenes and flavonoids do more than colour and flavour our world. They interact with cannabinoids, and ultimately, our endocannabinoid system. Like one big happy family – they’re all better together.