Updated: May 7
Among the 20 flavonoids produced by cannabis (and many other plants) is a small subset that is found exclusively in hemp called cannflavins. Of these, cannflavin A (sometimes denoted as cannflavin-a or cannflavin-A), cannflavin B, and cannflavin C are the most studied and understood.
According to a 2018 study published in the Swiss journal Plants, individual plant species, including hemp and its tens of thousands of cultivars and chemotypes, feature a distinct mix of flavonoids in a discernible profile—just as various hemp cultivars feature different terpene profiles and cannabinoid profiles.
"Each [plant] species synthesizes specific flavonoid subgroups, which constitutes a chemical signature expressing the biodiversity of these phytochemicals and the specialization acquired by each [plant] species during evolution," reported the authors of the study. Despite their large variety, all flavonoids feature the same biosynthetic precursor, phenylalanine.
Cannflavin A and B were first discovered in 1980 via this research study (identified as "Compounds 15 and 16"), but were not named until 1986, when they were further investigated by a research study entitled "Cannflavin A and B, Prenylated Flavones from Cannabis Sativa L." Cannflavin C was discovered in 2008 and reported in the study "Non-cannabinoid Constituents from a High Potency Cannabis Sativa Variety."
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