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What Role Can Cannabis Flavonoids Play in Skin Care?

Written by Lisa Rennie

When it comes to cannabis and the health and wellness realm, it’s typically cannabinoids that get the most attention. But cannabinoids aren’t the only phytochemical rock stars in cannabis. The truth is, there are other beneficent molecules in cannabis that deserve recognition for the potential role they play in promoting better health, and that includes flavonoids.

These compounds in cannabis are what give the plant its different hues of pigmentation. And along with the dominantly fragrant terpenes, they influence cannabis’ smell and taste. Beyond organoleptic properties, however, flavonoids have demonstrated health benefits. More specifically, flavonoids – which belong to a particular group of phytonutrients called “polyphenols” – possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [1,2], which may be effective in many areas of health, including skincare.

Flavonoids and Skin Care

Thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of flavonoids, these compounds may be able to help reduce the look of fine wrinkles, treat the appearance of scars, repair and protect against sun damage, skin elasticity, calm inflammation, and even treat skin cancer. [1-3]

Natural functions of flavonoids meant to help protect plants from environmental stress are the same ones that can be used to keep our skin protected as well. Some cosmetics companies have been including flavonoids derived from “traditional” plants in skincare products thanks to the protective properties outlined above.

But it’s not just traditional plants that flavonoids may be extracted from to help benefit the skin; flavonoids derived from cannabis are increasingly being brought into the limelight as conveying medicinal relevance. The high concentrations of antioxidants in cannabis can help combat free radicals that can cause skin damage on a cellular level. As a result, cannabis-derived, flavonoid-infused skincare products may be effective at helping to maintain better skin health.

But unfortunately, the research behind flavonoids in cannabis is hugely lacking, particularly because of stringent federal red tape that has made human clinical studies on cannabis difficult. But cannabis-derived flavonoids certainly show promise in the world of skincare, with new findings surrounding these compounds likely to be discovered through continued research into cannabis and its vast array of medicinal compounds.


  1. Saewan, N & Jimtaisong, A, Photoprotection of natural flavonoids. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science. 2013;3(09): 129-141. [journal impact factor = 0.62; times cited = 78 (Semantic Scholar)]
  2. Nichols JA, Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Arch Dermatol Res. 2010;302(2):71-83. [journal impact factor = 2.339; times cited = 609 (Semantic Scholar)]
  3. Działo M, Mierziak J, Korzun U, Preisner M, Szopa J, Kulma A. The potential of plant phenolics in prevention and therapy of skin disorders. Int J Mol Sci. 2016;17(2):160. [journal impact factor = 4.556; times cited = 201 (Semantic Scholar)]
  4. Kootstra, A. “Protection from UV-B-induced DNA damage by flavonoids“, Plant Molecular Biology, October, 1994, Vol. 26(2), pp.771-774.

About the author

Lisa Rennie