Flavonoid Friday: Everything You Need to Know About Cannflavin A Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

ACS Blog Image - FlavonoidFriday Cannflavin A

Flavonoid Friday: Everything You Need to Know About Cannflavin A Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

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What’s the first thing you reach for when you’re in pain? Aspirin? Ibuprofen?

What if you could reach for a plant medicine up to 30 times stronger than Aspirin with none of the long-term side effects?

It almost sounds too good to be true, but that’s the power of Cannflavin A. Cannflavin A is a flavonoid specific to cannabis plants. Scientists have known about the anti-inflammatory properties of Cannflavin A for over 40 years, but are only now beginning to study this compound properly.

Here’s everything you need to know about pain-relieving Cannflavin A and what it brings to your favorite cannabis strains.  

What Do Flavonoids Like Cannflavin A Do?

We know of over 8,000 flavonoids in nature, but some are only present in cannabis. These are called cannaflavins and include Cannflavin A.

Flavonoids, like Cannflavin A, are phytonutrients, polyphenolic compounds essential for a plant’s growth. They are responsible for a diverse set of functions like cell cycle progression, protection against UV rays, and warding off predators, fungi, and bacteria. In our bodies, flavonoids provide important nutrients as well as a boost in antioxidants.

In cannabis, flavonoids are also responsible for the colors in the bud, as well as the aroma and taste. These tiny molecules work hard!

How are Flavonoids Involved in the Entourage Effect?

Flavonoids are among the most understudied compounds on the planet, but we know they’re an essential part of the “entourage effect.” The entourage effect describes how cannabinoids and other chemical compounds in a strain of cannabis interact with our endocannabinoid systems. Each strain has its own unique ratio of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, depending on how it was grown. These ratios explain why different strains have different effects: some deliver powerful, euphoric head highs while others can put you to sleep or make you hungry.

Flavonoids are pharmacologically active, meaning they provide medicinal benefits. While they are not essential nutrients, they are life span essential because their presence in our diet can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Flavonoids like Cannflavin A perform crucial functions like fighting free radicals, regulating cellular activity, and warding off diseases. There’s not much these little compounds can’t do!

What Is Cannflavin A?

Cannflavin A is a cannaflavin, meaning it’s a flavonoid found only in cannabis. 

Cannflavin A is a more powerful pain reliever than Aspirin. However, prohibitive laws and extraction challenges have made studying Cannflavin A difficult. Cannaflavins make up less than 1% of the plant by dry weight, so getting enough of the compound to use and study can be tough.

Fortunately, emerging technology may help solve the problem. The University of Guelph’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology recently developed an extraction method called “in silico” genome mining, which can cost-effectively extract and purify Cannflavin A.

Antioxidant Properties of Cannflavin A

Cannaflavins share the same powerful antioxidant properties as other flavonoids, fighting free radicals in the body.

Free radicals are bad news. These uncharged molecules cause a nasty chain reaction called oxidation when they react with molecules in your body. When oxidative stress builds over time, it can lead to a variety of health problems, from early aging to cancer, strokes, and heart disease. 

That’s why antioxidants, like Cannflavin A, are vital to our health. Flavonoids provide the body with a boost to naturally reduce harmful oxidative stress.

Cannflavin A and Inflammation

The powerful pain-relieving qualities of Cannflavin A were first discovered in 1985 by Marilyn Barrett at the University of London School of Pharmacy. Today, scientists are exploring this flavonoid as an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

  • A 2019 study found Cannflavin A exhibits anti-inflammatory activity 30 times more powerful than Aspirin and other NSAIDs.
  • A 2014 study showed that Cannflavin A inhibited hormonal activity to reduce leukotriene production, an inflammatory mediator.

Cannflavin A Benefits

While research on Cannflavin A is still in the early stages, this small molecule shows promise as a breakthrough treatment for a variety of medical issues.

  • Neuroprotective properties: A 2019 study on cannaflavins and Alzheimer’s Disease found that Cannflavin A enhances cell viability against toxicity by up to 40%.
  • Antiviral properties:
    • A 2019 study found Cannflavin A antagonizes the HIV-1 protease enzyme, which makes HIV infectious, suggesting it could be one viable treatment option.
    • A 2016 study examined 2,194 plant-derived metabolites against the Dengue virus. They found Cannflavin A bonded well with target proteins in the virus and should be studied further for possible treatment options. 
    • Another 2016 study of 2,263 plant-derived metabolites against the Zika virus found that Cannflavin A bonded with target proteins and had “drug-like properties” to fight the virus. 
  • Anti-parasite properties: A 2011 study showed Cannflavin A had a “moderate” effect on destroying single-celled organisms in the parasite Leishmania donovani.

What Foods Are High in Cannflavin A?

Well, none! Cannflavin A is unique to cannabis plants, so you won’t find this flavonoid on your next trip to the grocery store. You can reap the benefits of Cannflavin A through cannabis consumption.

 

What Is the Best Form of Cannflavin A?

Cannabis! Consuming edibles, full-spectrum cannabis oil, or smoking the plant are (currently) the best way to consume Cannflavin A. Currently, this cannaflavin is only available in small quantities. However, advanced extraction methods may change that soon.

How the Body Processes Cannflavin A

Similar to other flavonoids, like kaempferol, Cannflavin A attaches to sugar moieties. These sugars are not uniform, and differences in the sugars affect how well we can absorb this flavonoid. More research is needed to determine how well our bodies absorb and process this compound.

 

How to Consume Cannabis to Get the Most Cannflavin A Absorbed into Your Body

The most effective method of consuming cannabis for flavonoids is through edibles. Depending on the preparation, tinctures or oils can also serve to maximize your flavonoid intake. 

 

The Bottom Line

Cannflavin A is a small but powerful cannabis flavonoid that offers significant anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Early research shows how beneficial this flavonoid can be, with antioxidant, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties. Right now, the best way to consume Cannflavin A is through cannabis, but keep an eye out–this compound may be appearing in your favorite extracts soon. 

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At ACS Laboratory, we test for 16 flavonoids, including Cannflavin A and kaempferol. As a CLIA-licensed laboratory, we can also perform human trials on the bioavailability of these flavonoids, which is an integral part of pharmacokinetics, the study of drug movement through the body. These studies allow us to draw conclusions based on the actual science and not just anecdotal research.

 

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