What Is CBF? Cannabifuran Effects, CBF vs CBD

The closer you look at cannabis, the more compounds appear. Cannabifuran may be one of the least-known cannabinoids, but that by no means suggests it’s unimportant.

Recently, research into CBF has picked up steam, indicating that this cannabinoid may soon enter the mass market. In preparation for the inevitable popularity of CBF and cannabinoids like it, familiarize yourself with all the pertinent details regarding CBF in this guide.

What is the cannabinoid CBF?

Cannabifuran (CBF) is a cannabinoid that is believed to naturally emerge¹ in Cannabis sativa in rare cases. The natural status of CBF is easily disputable, however, given that records regarding its extraction from cannabis are scant and all available studies on CBF involve synthesizing the cannabinoid from other compounds.

From the perspective of published scientific research, very little is known about the experienced effects and other properties of CBF, and in terms of chemical structure, it is considerably unlike both THC and CBD. It is theorized that CBF may be a metabolite of THC, indicating that it is likely to have some degree of intoxicating potential. CBF is on the cutting edge of cannabis science, though, so it’s important to maintain an inquiring and skeptical mindset when discussing the cannabinoid.

Science is often inadvertently pushed forward by industry, which may prove the case with CBF. Even if the international cannabis research community is still relatively unaware of CBF, the cannabinoid has been synthesized since the 1980s², allowing private producers decades to learn about CBF and determine how it fits into the modern cannabinoid pharmacopeia. 


It is possible that CBF may emerge under natural circumstances in cannabis. Then again, it may not. In the cannabis and pharmaceutical industries, CBF is usually made by converting CBD — a relatively standard process for rare cannabinoids.


At a glance, CBF looks relatively similar to CBD. Present in both cannabinoids are the trio of cyclic rings that make up the body accompanied by an alkyl chain tail. CBF nearly makes a fourth cyclic ring, however, with an additional oxygen bond while one of the rings present in CBD has lost its complete structure. Researchers speculate that these considerable structural differences may be responsible for the unique experienced effects reported in conjunction with CBF ingestion.


Use of CBF remains scant both in the context of recreational consumption and scientific research. Based on the highly limited anecdotal accounts available on social media and elsewhere online, however, CBF appears to provide an effect profile that draws equally from the commonly reported effects of CBD, CBG, and THC. More research will need to be conducted into CBF before we’re certain how it affects the human body.

What does CBF do?

The exact pharmacokinetics of CBF remain relatively speculatory. While individual producers of the cannabinoid may be reasonably confident they know how the cannabinoid works in the human body, CBF remains relatively unresearched, so there are few studies to turn to for support.

Overall, it’s safe to say that CBF offers experienced effects that land somewhere between those of CBD and THC. As regards any unique medical benefits CBF may or may not offer, it’s necessary to wait for the research to come in before making any conclusive statements.

Is CBF the same as CBD?

No, CBF and CBD are quite different in a variety of ways. The chemical structures of the two cannabinoids are indisputably unique, for instance, and one substance is far more available than the other. Speaking of availability, though, scientists hope that altered cannabinoids like CBF may solve bioavailability issues inherent to most natural cannabinoids.


Even if it’s hard to make definitive statements regarding the practical utility of CBF, we can still delineate how the cannabinoid is different from CBD. Let’s compare the two cannabinoids across eight crucial categories:


CBD is the second most-abundant cannabinoid in Cannabis sativa. CBF, on the other hand, is so rare that it is unclear whether it naturally occurs in cannabis at all.

It’s possible to source CBD from practically any hemp or cannabis plant. CBF, though, can only be made in a lab — if you need usable quantities, that is.


CBF appears to be more structurally similar to CBD than it is to most cannabinoids. However, the two cannabinoids remain considerably structurally different, implying that it is highly likely they interact with different systems in the body.


From an official standpoint, the effects of CBF remain relatively unknown. Cannabinoid producers and others who have used the cannabinoid indicate that it offers experienced effects that are reminiscent of a slightly more psychoactive form of CBG. Without fail, cannabinoids each have unique beneficial properties, but whatever these properties might be in CBF has yet to be established. 


It’s safe to say that CBF feels more potent than CBD in terms of experienced effects. It will likely feel less potent than THC for most users, though.


Bioavailability is one of the chief concerns when developing cannabinoids like CBF. Despite their immensely beneficial properties, natural cannabinoids often offer base bioavailability of 30% or lower, meaning that most of the cannabinoid molecules consumed are excreted without being broken down and absorbed by the body.

CBF researchers commonly speculate that this and similar cannabinoids may eventually be used to solve bioavailability gaps in hemp and cannabis products. It remains unproven that CBF provides better bioavailability than CBD in practice as well as in theory, though.


As is usually the case with cannabinoids aside from delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9 THC), CBF is generally considered to be industrial hemp, not the Schedule I drug “marijuana.” As a result, CBF should be treated the same as CBD, CBG, or any of the other “hemp cannabinoids” that have recently become popular.

There is the usually converted status of CBF to consider, though. Government agencies have indicated that they may view converted or synthesized cannabinoids differently from purely natural cannabinoids like CBD or CBG. That’s an additional consideration to keep in mind when considering the legal and regulatory status of CBF.


The comparative safety of CBF relative to other cannabinoids remains highly speculative. Some factors to consider include the rough structural similarity of CBF to cannabinoids that have been observed to be fit for human consumption along with the inherent safety concerns that emerge when substances are converted or synthesized.


Relative availability is one of the starkest differences between CBF and CBD. At this point, CBD has essentially become a mainstream commodity. Any continued lack of availability or inflated pricing is simply due to a by-the-numbers continued state of regulatory dysfunction — the general public has embraced CBD, and it was always abundant in cannabis and hemp anyway.

Cannabifuran, by contrast, is so rare that it remains relatively unknown despite being discovered more than 40 years ago. To fill this void, certain manufacturers are beginning to offer CBF products online in bulk. It will be quite some time, though, before CBF is available as plentifully as CBD or in as many product types.

Where to buy CBF in bulk

As you peruse the scarce sources of CBF currently available online, it’s important to run through a simple mental checklist:

1. How long has the CBF producer been in business?
2. Did they start as a CBD producer?
3. What other products do they make?
4. How large does the business appear to be?
5. How certified are they?
6. How responsive is their customer service staff?

Since it still exists in a somewhat liminal regulatory state, the cannabinoid industry continues to harbor certain producers whose operations fall short of optimal safety standards. Don’t let them cast a shadow on genuinely reliable cannabinoid producers who make it their mission to bring safe, clean forms of CBF and other cannabinoids to market at fair prices.

Summary: Why is CBF worth a try?

The newness of CBF is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, now is the time to corner a market that may one day expand massively. On the other, CBF remains relatively unknown, and due to a lack of research and public awareness, drawing attention to CBF products will present new challenges.

Since its inception, though, the cannabinoid industry has thrived by pushing past convention and bravely sharing the secrets of cannabis and hemp with the world. Embracing a wider range of cannabinoids is the next logical step in the evolution of the hemp industry — who will history remember as the names who first brought the benefits of CBF to light?


Let’s finish out our inquiry into the emerging cannabinoid CBF in the FAQ section below:

1. What is the difference between CBD and CBF?

In addition to inherent structural differences, CBD and CBF are also different from each other in terms of availability and experienced effects. CBD is one of the most available cannabinoids in the world while CBF is extremely rare. Also, CBD is entirely non-intoxicating while CBF, as a THC derivative, is believed to have at least some intoxication potential.

2. Is CBF a natural cannabinoid?

It is unclear whether or not CBF is a natural cannabinoid. Some sources indicate that the cannabinoid is found in certain rare cannabis phenotypes, but this claim is unproven. All available CBF was converted from another cannabinoid.

3. Does CBF affect your CB1 receptors?

There is no indication that CBF affects your CB1 receptors, the primary neuroreceptors responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis. However, this could simply be a false perception caused by a lack of information on the cannabinoid. To determine the impact of CBF on CB1 and other neurochemical systems in the brain and body, more research must be done.


1. PubChem. (n.d.). Cannabifuran. PubChem. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Cannabifuran#%3A%7E%3Atext=Cannabifuran+is+a+natural+product+found+in+Cannabis+sativa+with+data+available.

2. Novák, J., & Salemink, C. A. (1983). Cannabis XXVI. Total synthesis of cannabifuran. Tetrahedron Letters, 24(1), 101–102. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0040-4039(00)81338-6

3. Banerjee, A. R., Hayward, J. J., & Trant, J. F. (2023). “Breaking bud”: the effect of direct chemical modifications of phytocannabinoids on their bioavailability, physiological effects, and therapeutic potential. Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 21(18), 3715–3732. https://doi.org/10.1039/d3ob00068k

What Is THCV? THCV Effects, THCV vs THC

One of the cannabinoids that has made the complexity of cannabis increasingly apparent is THCV. While similar to THC in many respects, THCV takes after other cannabinoids with the appellation “varin” in being an entirely unique rendition of the original compound.

Is THCV the same as THC? Absolutely not. Availability of this rare cannabinoid may remain problematic for the average consumer, but we can still share information about THCV to prepare for its eventual entry into the market.

Below, learn what THCV is, what it does, and how it compares to other cannabinoids. By the end, we’ll be well-prepared to answer the core question of this article: Is THCV worth using in products at the current moment?

What is the cannabinoid THCV?

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a natural cannabinoid found in cannabis. As is often the case in nature, a separate set of cannabinoids appears to have developed alongside the main set that has already become commonplace.

Featuring the syllables “varin” at the end of their chemical names and boasting altered chemical chains to match, so-called varin or V cannabinoids like THCV are only slightly different from their main cannabinoid counterparts in terms of structure. As any close student of human biochemistry knows, however, it only takes a minor change in chemical bonds to significantly alter the end result a compound achieves.

In that context, the most salient definition of THCV is that it is a somewhat less intoxicating version of THC. As is often the case with variants of dominant compounds, however, THCV also appears to have unique properties making it a worthy subject of study independent from THC.


Exactly how varin cannabinoids came to be in the development of Cannabis sativa remains a subject of pure speculation. For whatever ultimate reason, nature simply seems to often create backup sets of compounds, organic structures, or even entire species.

Whether the varin cannabinoids were precursors to or intended improvements on the cannabinoids that eventually became dominant in cannabis is anyone’s guess. It could even be the case that the two sets of cannabinoids were intended to be included side by side and emerged simultaneously. Cannabis research will need to progress tremendously past its current state before answers to questions like these become apparent.


THCV is structurally different from THC in one very simple way: It features two fewer hydrocarbon groups on its tail, the segment of the compound technically known as a “lipophilic alkyl chain¹.” Scientists are still learning about cannabinoids, but it’s reasonable to assume that every part of the THC molecule has at least some role to play in the compound’s psychoactivity. The absence of two hydrocarbon groups in varin cannabinoids may be all the explanation necessary for their observed reduced potency.


Among individuals who have used the cannabinoid, THCV is commonly described as “THC lite” since its intoxicating properties do not match up to those offered by conventional THC. The experience may elicit the same overall perceptions and feelings but to a much lesser extent.

THCV has also become known as THC lite due to the common perception that it is effective as a weight loss aid. This benefit remains to be proven, however.

What does THCV do?

THCV appears to primarily interact with the neurotransmitters responsible for the characteristic effects of THC, the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Due to its substantially different effect profile, however, it has been proposed that THCV may also interact with other facets of human biochemistry.

Anecdotally, the experienced effects of THCV appear to be considerably diminished compared to THC. The hunger commonly associated with THC use is also apparently replaced with reduced appetite, which some users report has helped them lose weight.

Is THCV the same as THC?

No, THCV and THC are very different across a few categories. The cannabinoids have different effects, they’re treated differently legally, and their availability is quite a bit different as well. Individuals should not use THCV or formulate it into products under the assumption that the cannabinoid will be as acquirable as THC or offer the same effects.


Below, we’ll compare THCV and THC across seven distinct categories to help narrow down their differences and similarities:


THCV and THC are both natural cannabinoids that occur over the normal course of Cannabis sativa maturation. While THC is the most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis, however, THCV is comparatively extremely rare. Sourcing adequate concentrations of THCV for product formulation is, therefore, problematic — as a result, the cannabinoid is usually converted from the precursor of a different cannabinoid using a simple enzymatic process.


The only structural difference between THC and THCV is reduced alkyl chain length in the THCV compound. At their “heads,” the two compounds are identical. THCV simply features two fewer hydrocarbon groups, making the compound smaller overall.


Studies show that, despite exerting reduced psychoactivity, THCV may exert a profound effect on human digestion that is entirely absent in THC. A variety of research endeavors have now accumulated related to the subject, leading scientists to reach an overall conclusion that THCV should be investigated as an appetite suppressant and metabolic regulator².

With this context in place, it’s understandable that THCV has recently been the target of inquiries into the cannabinoid’s potential usefulness against obesity and related conditions like diabetes. We don’t know enough yet to definitively determine whether or not THCV has any utility for these purposes, but the research that has accumulated so far is certainly intriguing.


It is generally agreed that THCV exhibits considerably reduced potency compared to THC. Some individuals who have used both cannabinoids suggest that THCV may offer around one-quarter to one-third the intoxication potential as THC, which is generally the variable associated with potency.

As we have discussed, however, THCV may have properties that THC does not. Even if these properties are not psychoactive, they should still be considered when discussing the comparative potency of THCV and THC.


THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) remains synonymous with the Schedule I illicit drug “marijuana” under United States federal law. THCV, on the other hand, is generally considered to be “industrial hemp” as long as its delta 9 THC content remains below 0.3%.

While certainly an oversimplification, it is therefore possible to loosely state that THCV is “legal” while THC is “illegal.” At play, however, is not just US Constitutional law but also the regulatory mandates of Executive Branch agencies like the DEA and FDA. So, any statements regarding the legality of THCV should always be speculative rather than declarative.


There does not appear to be an inherent difference in safety between THC and THCV. Some potentially relevant factors bear consideration, though:

– The apparently reduced psychoactivity of THCV compared to THC may also entail that THCV has an overall reduced capacity to harm.

– The persistent issues with THCV sourcing, on the other hand, could also lead to increased contaminant concentrations in finished products compared to THC.

To this day, even the exact safety of THC remains up to debate. Overall, more studies need to be conducted into the safety of cannabinoids, which generally seem benign but regardless have the potential to harbor hidden risks — the same as any artificial or natural compounds.


There is a stark difference between THC and THCV in regards to availability. Vast quantities of high-quality, naturally derived THC are available to you in the United States — as long as you are in the right state.

THCV, by contrast, is available online nationwide, but all commercially sold THCV products feature enzymatically converted as opposed to naturally derived cannabinoids. As a result, THCV often costs more while offering lower quality than comparable THC extracts. Remember, though, that THC is illegal under federal law, vastly limiting its reach versus THCV.

Buying bulk THCV online

Since the cannabinoid is chemically distinct from THC, products containing THCV have recently begun appearing online. It it is very important to be careful with THCV products, however, for a variety of reasons:

– In terms of mass production, THCV remains a very new cannabinoid, leading to quality control concerns

– Despite being less intoxicating than THC, it’s a fact that THCV is nonetheless intoxicating, putting it in a different category from CBD and similar cannabinoids

– Overall, THCV is one of the least-explored cannabinoids, so we know little about any potential compound-specific side effects

There may come a time in which buying THCV in bulk on the internet is safe and commonplace. For the time being, though, it pays to err on the side of caution by choosing the well-researched, non-intoxicating cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBN, etc.) that are already widely available.

The bottom line: Is THCV worth a try?

Purely for the purposes of trying it out, true cannabis psychonauts might want to try THCV once or twice. At this stage in the development of the cannabinoid, though, THCV cannot be considered to be commercially viable in the same way that other THC analogs are clearly not ready for mass-marketability.

For now, there are nearly a dozen other cannabinoids to try that, like THCV, are all naturally available in cannabis in varying concentrations. Devoid of problematic connections with THC, these non-intoxicating cannabinoids will continue to lead the industry for the foreseeable future.


Like all cannabinoids, THCV is a multifaceted compound that’s always presenting more for us to learn. Review the following FAQ section to learn more about what THCV is and does:

1. What is the best way to take THCV?

Due to a lack of relevant research, the best way to take THCV is currently unknown. So far, we know next-to nothing about the comparable safety and favorability of the various methods available for consuming THCV. Once we know more about the safety of THCV in general, it will be easier to provide opinions regarding ingestion methods.

2. Does THCV have any side effects?

THCV may exert significant side effects in some people — we simply don’t know enough about the cannabinoid yet to be sure. It’s only common sense, however, that THCV may be undesirable for some people if it’s true that the cannabinoid suppresses your appetite.

3. Can you lose weight with THCV?

There is no conclusive evidence that taking THCV causes weight loss. Despite being described as “THC lite,” any appetite-suppressing properties that THCV might have remain unproven and require further research.


1. Morales, P., Hurst, D. P., & Reggio, P. H. (2017). Molecular Targets of the Phytocannabinoids: A Complex Picture. In Fortschritte der Chemie Organischer Naturstoffe (pp. 103–131). Springer Science+Business Media. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-45541-9_4

2. Abioye, A. O., Ayodele, O., Marinkovic, A., Patidar, R., Akinwekomi, A., & Sanyaolu, A. (2020). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): a commentary on potential therapeutic benefit for the management of obesity and diabetes. Journal of Cannabis Research, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-020-0016-7

Full Spectrum CBD vs. Broad Spectrum CBD: Which Is Right for You?

They’ve been the dominant types of CBD extracts for years at this point, but there’s still a lot to learn about broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD. What, exactly, do these terms mean, and what are the differences between the types of CBD extracts they denote?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll pit full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD against each other in every conceivable capacity to determine which extract is best for each situation. By the end, you’ll have a much better idea of which type of CBD you prefer.

Overview: CBD extract types

Let’s start with a basic overview of what CBD extract is and the forms in which it’s offered:

– CBD extract, also called CBD oil or CBD concentrate, is derived from CBD-rich cultivars of the Cannabis sativa plant

– Under federal law, CBD extract can contain no more than 0.3% THC

– Full-spectrum is the most “raw” form of CBD extract offered

– It can be refined slightly to make broad-spectrum CBD extract

– It can be refined even further to make isolate CBD, which is molecularly homogenous

– Those three types make up the vast majority of CBD extracts

– Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD are more different than they first appear

What is full-spectrum CBD?

For those who have been active in the CBD industry since the very beginning, full-spectrum CBD is quite familiar. There was a time, in fact, when full-spectrum CBD was the only type of CBD you could buy. Then, a few intrepid producers started making CBD isolate in bulk, and broad-spectrum CBD followed a number of years later.

Full-spectrum CBD contains everything that is naturally present in CBD hemp flowers minus those components that would be unhealthy or undesirable to consume, such as chlorophyll and waxes. Generally, full-spectrum CBD extract is not exposed to heat or other oxidizing factors, leading to higher natural concentrations of terpenes.

Does full-spectrum CBD contain THC?

The characteristic of full-spectrum CBD shoppers care about the most is its THC content. Yes, full-spectrum CBD contains up to 0.3% THC, and it also often contains reasonable concentrations of THC analogs like THCA¹.

At low concentrations, THC is not intoxicating. Instead, it subtly blends into the harmony of cannabinoids and terpenes, adding to the synergy known as the “entourage effect.”

Still, the presence of THC in full-spectrum CBD extract can be problematic for a variety of reasons. That’s the impetus that brought broad-spectrum and isolate CBD into being.

Is full-spectrum CBD “raw”?

Full-spectrum CBD is the closest thing to raw that you can get. Both broad-spectrum and isolate CBD have been exposed to elaborate processes that fundamentally transform their structures. Full-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, is a much less-processed oil, which some brands and shoppers might find desirable.

How is full-spectrum CBD made?

Full-spectrum CBD extract is generally made by using a solvent to remove oily components of harvested CBD-rich hemp flowers. Various solvents and processes can be used, which leave varying additional components of the hemp plant behind.

Chlorophyll, for instance, is often present in CBD crude extracts, and it must be removed to make full-spectrum extract. Usually, though, non-heat separation processes are used, preserving the virginal properties of the concentrate.

What is full-spectrum CBD good for?

Full-spectrum CBD is ideal for natural-themed products or products that are designed to be as high-strength as possible. This type of extract also resonates with the entourage effect, a benefit that many shoppers are pursuing as they learn more about CBD extract.

Some shoppers want the most natural option, and since full-spectrum extract is also perceived as being the strongest, that’s an additional bonus. Generally, more maverick-like customers go for full-spectrum products — or others like the elderly who don’t have to be concerned about drug testing.

What is broad-spectrum CBD?

Broad-spectrum CBD is what you get when you remove the THC from CBD hemp extract. There are many different ways to achieve this effect, and some are inherently superior to others.

Produced correctly, broad-spectrum CBD can be on par with or even superior to full-spectrum CBD. It often is not produced correctly, though, so shoppers and producers alike should learn the properties of worthwhile broad-spectrum CBD.

Does broad-spectrum CBD contain THC?

No, broad-spectrum CBD does not contain any THC. If you were to use an electron microscope and thoroughly inspect a sample, you might find one or two stray THC molecules. No THC can be detected in broad-spectrum CBD using conventional chromatography, however, and broad-spectrum CBD will also not make you fail a drug test.

This is often a critical issue in international CBD commerce. Many nations have staunch zero-tolerance policies on THC², so being able to entirely remove this cannabinoid is often a lynchpin of business negotiations.

Has broad-spectrum CBD been exposed to heat?

The vast majority of broad-spectrum CBD products are made using a process that involves heat, which damages the terpenes and other delicate components present in the extract. It is possible to make broad-spectrum CBD extract using heat-free processes, though, which results in superior extracts that are both more effective and taste better.

How is broad-spectrum CBD made?

The goal when making broad-spectrum CBD is to remove the THC without damaging the other components. Starting with a base of full-spectrum CBD extract, a variety of finishing processes can be used to remove THC. Always ask a producer how they make their broad-spectrum CBD before purchasing a product.

What is broad-spectrum CBD good for?

Broad-spectrum CBD is ideal for products that are designed to replicate the full effects of CBD hemp flower as closely as possible while eliminating the presence of THC. Resultantly, any products that already contain full-spectrum CBD are prime targets for broad-spectrum CBD as well. In particular, broad-spectrum CBD tinctures and gummies have become remarkably popular.

Full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum CBD

Now, let’s compare full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD across seven categories to get a deeper grasp of their similarities and differences:

1. Effects

The differences between the effects of full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD should not be noticeable to most users. For some, full-spectrum CBD may have a slightly stronger effect, but this is definitely not always the case. Connoisseurs may be able to distinguish a greater breadth of effects in full-spectrum CBD due to its higher cannabinoid and (usually) terpene content.

2. Legality

In the United States, there are not usually significant legal or regulatory differences between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD. The same is not the case abroad, however, where the THC content of CBD products often makes a massive difference.

Some countries do not allow the import of CBD products that contain any detectable THC whatsoever, for instance. Others require that THC be at a lower level than the threshold selected by the United States Congress³, 0.3% on a dry weight basis.

As a result, removing the THC from otherwise undiluted CBD extract is often an important step for international customers. People around the world want to experience CBD in its purest form; some of them simply can’t access full-spectrum CBD for legal reasons.

3. Purity

In some cases, the additional processes applied to broad-spectrum CBD extract may result in higher purity. Usually, though, no considerable purity differences should be expected between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products in a general sense. Products should still be judged on their individual merits regardless of how much THC they contain.

4. Safety

Some shoppers may have safety concerns over even the minuscule amount of THC allowable in CBD products. Especially for products that will be used with sensitive populations, broad-spectrum CBD can be presented as the safer option due to its lack of THC content.

5. Price

There should not be a considerable price disparity between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD. Expect broad-spectrum CBD to cost slightly more, though, due to the increased complexity of the processes used to make it compared to full-spectrum CBD.

6. Versatility

Broad-spectrum CBD should certainly be considered the more versatile option due to its lack of THC content. It appeals to a wider cohort of shoppers, and it is allowed in a greater number of countries worldwide. If you want to make a product with universal appeal, broad-spectrum extract is the logical choice.

7. Availability

There are usually no considerable differences in availability between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products. Competent producers should have copious quantities of both concentrates in consistent supply.

How to choose between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD

When selecting between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD, it’s important first and foremost to remember that each product type is ideal for very different situations. Full-spectrum CBD simply isn’t viable for many markets, but some shoppers will turn their noses to broad-spectrum extracts.

Determining which type of extract is right for your situation will naturally occur as you properly determine the niche your product will target. Raw, natural CBD products intended for domestic distribution will naturally be more suited for full-spectrum. Products designed to fit in on drug store shelves or overseas, though, would do better with broad-spectrum.

Isolate CBD: the other option

There’s another option that at least deserves a mention. Isolate CBD doesn’t offer much more than broad-spectrum extract nowadays, but it is undeniably the more economical extract and can sometimes offer nearly the same breadth of benefits. Don’t count isolate CBD out entirely as you compare the types of extracts at your disposal.

Discover the difference between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum today

The differences between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD can be tricky to tease out, but they’re worth grasping in their entirety. We invite you to learn more about each extract type by contacting our staff. We’ll walk you through the available options and ensure you’re confident in choosing the right type of CBD for your planned products.


  1. 1. McPartland, J. M., MacDonald, C., Young, M. D., Grant, P., Furkert, D. P., & Glass, M. (2017). Affinity and Efficacy Studies of Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid A at Cannabinoid Receptor Types One and Two. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2(1), 87–95. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0032
  2. 2. Ltd, R. a. M. (n.d.-b). Japan: CBD and Cannabis Regulation 2022 – Research and Markets. Research and Markets Ltd 2023. https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/5644891/
  3. 3. United States Department of Agriculture. (2020). 2018 Farm Bill Updates Guide. Farmers.gov. https://www.farmers.gov/working-with-us/farm-bill

Oral CBD vs. Topical CBD: Which Administration Method is Best for You?

There are many ways to take CBD. Two administration methods, though, have become more popular than all the rest: oral ingestion and topical application.

This pair of approaches to using CBD are vastly different, but they’re also more similar than they might seem at first. In this guide, we’ll uncover the differences between oral and topical CBD administration, examining everything from product types to proper dosage and safety.

CBD usage methods: An overview

– CBD (cannabidiol) is a lipid compound unique to Cannabis sativa
– On its own, CBD-rich hemp flower extract offers little absorption either orally or topically
– Orally, CBD extract is usually accompanied by a carrier oil
– Topically, CBD extract is mixed into either oil-based or water-based formulations
– Other methods of ingesting exist, but oral and topical administration remain the most common
– Oral CBD administration offers diffused, body-wide benefits
– Topical CBD administration offers pinpoint effects in a target area
– The two administration methods are often used in tandem since they cover different ground
– There does not appear to be any scientific reason to not use oral and topical CBD together

Oral CBD

Most substances are taken orally. In this way, CBD is no different.

What sometimes takes shoppers by surprise, though, is the sheer number of ways you can take CBD orally. From tinctures to gummies to capsules, the options sometimes seem endless.

Taken orally, the effects of CBD aren’t as strong in specific areas. Instead, CBD disperses through your body, offering subtler but systemic effects. As internally ingested substances, the bulk of CBD safety concerns center around oral CBD products.


The three main categories of orally ingested CBD products are tinctures (oils/drops), capsules (soft gels), and edibles (gummies, cookies, etc.). CBD can also be infused into tablets, mints, or even chewing gum, but these product categories are not as popular.

There is vast product variation within the oral CBD market. You’ll find the same to be true, though, of the topical CBD industry.


Oral CBD products have excellent overall effectiveness but low effectiveness at specific pain points. Despite being filtered out by the digestive system, CBD is relatively effective at uptaking into your bloodstream. Effects are dispersed relatively equally throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Activation time

Orally ingested CBD generally takes around 30 minutes to reach peak effectiveness. Activation can be accelerated somewhat by allowing oral CBD products to remain in the mouth prior to swallowing, called sublingual administration.

Effect duration

The effects of orally ingested CBD last for around 2-3 hours, which is somewhat dependent on the dose. Oral CBD rarely provides effects lasting more than four hours regardless of the dosage used.

Area of effect

CBD affects most areas of the body roughly equally when ingested orally. As with all substances, though, increased blood flow leads to higher deposits of CBD in organs like the brain, heart, and liver. The effects of oral CBD might be felt stronger mentally, therefore, than they are physically.

Product quality

While it’s a priority in all CBD products, safety and quality are an even greater concern in internal CBD products. Oral ingestion can make incredible demands of the body — in the case of toxic substances or contaminants, the body is forced to contend with something that can harm it. Establishing safety with lab reports and proper production procedures is tantamount for oral CBD products.


In studies¹, oral CBD has been determined to remain safe in doses of 1500mg per day or more. It appears that oral CBD is at least comparable in safety to many alternative treatments and may, in fact, boast a higher safety profile.

Oral CBD can present safety concerns when used in conjunction with other substances². Cannabinoids do not cause negative interactions among themselves, but CBD can interfere with drugs accompanied by “grapefruit warnings” — consult with a doctor before using CBD if you are currently using any medications.

Topical CBD

CBD is unusually popular as a topical ingredient. Prior to the advent of topical CBD products, in fact, administering natural substances via the skin wasn’t seen as being so widely viable. CBD has helped refocus the entire natural health industry on topicals, and it has become the star ingredient of many products that previously featured alternative substances.

It’s now common to find CBD right alongside arnica, capsaicin, menthol, and other ingredients that have been the staples of the natural topical industry since its inception. In many cases, CBD has displaced products featuring these suddenly antiquated ingredients, incentivizing brands to adopt the ingredient out of self-defense.


Topical CBD products can generally be divided into oil-based and water-based formulations. Water-based CBD topicals offer better absorption times and rates, but they are finicky to formulate and can be susceptible to fungal contamination.

Oil-based topicals, on the other hand, are naturally antimicrobial and are comparatively simple to develop. Adding CBD to oil-based topical blends is generally a straightforward process that does not require all the delicate balancing and testing necessary with water-based CBD topicals.

Examples of water-based CBD topicals are:

– Lotions
– Creams
– Serums

Examples of oil-based CBD topicals are:

– Balms
– Salves
– Rubs


A well-formulated CBD topical can be highly effective in the area of administration. CBD topicals do not have widespread effects, however, even when effective transdermal absorption is achieved. Effects remain localized, which can be recognized as a highly useful benefit when viewed reasonably.

Activation time

Water-based CBD topicals generally activate within 1-5 minutes. Oil-based CBD topicals take longer to activate, and they have reduced overall activation. They generally reach peak effectiveness after around 10-15 minutes.

Effect duration

CBD topicals have widely varying durations of effectivity. If allowed to remain on the skin, oil-based topicals can sometimes offer effects that last 6-12 hours. Water-based CBD topicals, however, generally fully absorb and dissipate within 3-5 hours or so.

Area of effect

CBD topicals are very different from oral CBD products in that they only affect a limited, specific area.

Product quality

In CBD topicals, quality is mainly a determiner of effectiveness rather than a defense against contamination. CBD topicals are just as prone to contamination as oral CBD products, but contaminants generally exert less toxicity topically since they are not internally ingested. A topical containing CBD will not be effective, though, unless it is formulated expertly — usually entailing an extensive R&D process unless existing expertise is utilized.


CBD inherently presents reduced safety concerns when applied topically versus internally. In topicals, though, CBD is rarely alone as an active ingredient — be aware of potential allergies to substances included in tandem with CBD in topical formulations.

Oral vs. topical CBD

To better understand the differences between oral and topical CBD formulations, let’s compare them side by side:


Under conventional considerations, oral CBD products would naturally be considered the most potent. Topical CBD may offer greater experienced potency, however, for some purposes due to its area-specific effects. The general absorption rate of oral CBD has been established scientifically, but the rate of absorption of topical CBD has not³, making the two categories difficult to compare based on the data alone.

Product variation

Oral CBD is divided into a wider range of categories covering a greater breadth of product sub-types — tinctures, gummies, capsules, etcetera. Topical CBD exhibits variation, though, in the dichotomy between oil-based and water-based formulations. Albeit in different ways, the two categories are roughly equally variated.


The application methods used for oral and topical CBD are too different to be directly compared. Furthermore, these two product types are not even used for the same purposes: Oral CBD is designed to offer a systemic effect while topical CBD is designed to offer its effects locally.


Dosage considerations for oral and topical CBD are very different. With oral CBD, daily doses between 50-200mg are considered to be normal. Safe doses of topical CBD have not been established, but topical CBD is usually offered in lower doses overall. An average dose of CBD cream might contain as little as 5mg CBD while oral CBD is usually ingested in doses of at least 20mg.

Oral CBD & topical CBD pros and cons

As we start wrapping up, let’s summarize our previous findings in a simplified list of pros and cons:

Oral CBD pros

– System-wide effects
– Well-tolerated in most users
– Relatively fast onset when sublingually administered
– Many different product types

Oral CBD cons

– Not excellent for targeting specific areas
– CBD tinctures can be messy
– Oral CBD always takes at least a little while to kick in

Topical CBD pros

– Excellent localized effects
– Water-based and oil-based topicals to choose from
– Very rapid onset, especially with water-based formulations
– Less risk of drug interaction

Topical CBD cons

– No system-wide effects
– Vast differences between products require shopper education
– Some CBD topical formulations are simply poorly made

Topical vs. oral CBD: The bottom line

When putting together a product line, it’s most important to recognize that oral and topical CBD products usually complement each other. The two product types are not mutually exclusive and, in fact, fill each other’s gaps in many significant ways.

Oral CBD products, for instance, make up for the lack of body-wide effects which is one of the major detractors of topical CBD. On the flip side, topical CBD products provide greater CBD uptake in specific areas, much to the relief of shoppers who did not experience the desired results with oral CBD alone.

The synergy between oral and topical CBD products mirrors the synergy found in the cannabis plant itself. Cannabinoids and other components of Cannabis sativa appear nearly designed to interact positively with each other — a theme of cooperation that expresses itself unexpectedly in many corners of the cannabis world.

Comprehensive cannabinoid product lines feature the full complement of product types a shopper is likely to desire. A single cannabinoid product cannot do it all on its own. Combined, though, oral and topical CBD products can provide for nearly all of the needs of an average cannabinoid shopper.

Users of CBD simply ask themselves: Do I want to experience CBD in a particular place, throughout my body, or both? More often than not, the answer ends up being “both.”


1. Larsen, C. P., & Shahinas, J. (2020d). Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials. Journal of Clinical Medicine Research, 12(3), 129–141. https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr4090

2. Balachandran, P., ElSohly, M. A., & Hill, K. D. (2021b). Cannabidiol Interactions with Medications, Illicit Substances, and Alcohol: a Comprehensive Review. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 36(7), 2074–2084. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-020-06504-8

3. Millar, S. A., Stone, N., Yates, A. S., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2018). A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.01365

Which CBD Consumption Method is Best for You?

One of the first things shoppers notice is that there are lots of different ways to use CBD. Unlike familiar off-the-shelf drugs, which often times come in only one form, CBD is available in a seemingly endless myriad of forms, all with their own benefits and detractors.

Sorting through the various CBD administration methods is essential for producers and consumers alike. Knowledge regarding the various approaches to CBD consumption makes it possible for producers to make high-quality products, and it helps shoppers make educated product choices.

In this guide, we’ll compare and contrast the different ways you can use CBD to determine which option is ideal for your circumstances. By the end, you’ll be well-versed on the unique pros and cons of each major CBD administration method.

How to consume cannabinoids: An overview

– Cannabinoids like CBD are usually consumed orally in tinctures or gummies

– Restricted cannabinoids like THC are usually consumed in flower, but that’s changing

– CBD topicals are also remarkably popular, but for different purposes than internals

– Some methods of administering CBD kick in faster than others… and some last longer than others

– The way you use CBD can also have an impact on effects and drug testing

– In total, there are dozens of ways to use CBD

– Only a few methods are in common usage, though

What types of cannabinoid products are there?

To understand how to use cannabinoid products, it’s first essential to understand the differences between the various types of cannabinoid products that are available. Here’s a brief overview of the five major types:

Tinctures (oils)

The first type of CBD product to become popular, tinctures are orally administered and usually consist of just CBD extract combined with a carrier oil. Certain flavoring ingredients are also acceptable, but be on the lookout for cutting agents and other unnecessary ingredients¹. Shoppers like the convenience and pinpoint dosage control offered by CBD tinctures.


Gummies and related edibles have recently shot ahead to become some of the most popular CBD products on the market. There is a massive disparity in quality and effectiveness between the various CBD gummy products available online and in stores. Most consumers prefer gummy products that fulfill their primary task of masking the taste of hemp oil without resorting to unhealthy or low-quality ingredients.


Capsules remain very popular among CBD users, primarily fueled by this product type’s special brand of no-nonsense effectiveness. People are used to taking pills, so adding a CBD pill into the mix doesn’t fundamentally alter their daily routines. What capsules lack in pizazz they make up for in reliability and a pointed lack of frills.


If capsules are austere, topicals are ostentatious. Often packed with ingredients designed to merely emit a pleasant aroma, CBD topicals can be tricky to formulate — especially when water-based. Shoppers with chronic pain concerns swear by the effectiveness of CBD lotions and balms, though, and those with beauty in mind are commonly impressed by the apparently protective properties of facial CBD topicals like serums and moisturizers.


Challenging in numerous ways, inhaled CBD products like flower and vapes are nonetheless proliferating across the internet and on the shelves of brick-and-mortar retailers. Offering the fastest effects, inhaled CBD nonetheless peters out quickly. CBD flower and vapes are also subject to unique legal and regulatory concerns², curtailing the expansion of this industry sub-segment.


There are many other types of CBD products as well — from nasal sprays to suppositories. These products make up very tiny segments of the overall CBD market, though. For the most part, the industry remains roughly divided between tinctures, gummies, capsules, and topicals.

How can you consume each cannabinoid product?

Now, we’ll look deeper into each method used to consume the cannabinoid products we just explored:

Oral ingestion

The majority of cannabinoid product types are orally ingested. After all, the three most popular cannabinoid products are all ingested using this route — tinctures, gummies, and capsules.

This ingestion method offers long-lasting effects at relatively low efficiency. All substances that are orally ingested are filtered by the digestive tract, reducing their potency considerably. Nonetheless, the convenience of use and duration of effects of oral ingestion rank it highest among cannabinoid consumption options. 

Sublingual administration

Sublingual administration is a variation of oral administration involving the application of substances under the tongue. In the case of CBD, this administration method mostly applies to tinctures and gummies, which can be held in the mouth prior to swallowing.

Oral administration can be boosted with sublingual administration, which allows a small portion of the CBD contained in a tincture or gummy to absorb under the tongue. Sublingual administration is most effective with tinctures but applies in any situation involving CBD being held in the mouth.

Topical administration

CBD can also be applied topically, and the most common types of CBD topicals are water-based pain lotions, oil-based balms, and CBD beauty products. When formulated correctly, CBD topicals can penetrate the skin, delivering effects deep into underlying muscular tissue.

Topical administration, however, does not provide any systemic benefit — the effects are experienced locally instead of dispersed throughout the body. Also, contamination can be an issue with topicals given the plenitude of ingredients used and the constant threat of mold in water-based formulations.


CBD vapes and flower are inhaled, offering near-instant effects but posing the greatest risk. CBD can also be insufflated in the form of an inhaler, but CBD inhalers are very uncommon.

When inhaled, the effects of CBD come on fast and intensely. However, they only last around 30-60 minutes. Also, the overall safety of inhaling cannabinoid smoke or vapor remains unknown.


Technically, CBD can be consumed via practically any conceivable administration method — suppositories, eyedrops, eardrops, lip balms, adhesive patches, etcetera. Only a few of the available methods have been widely adopted, though, speaking to the inherent strengths and weaknesses of hemp extract as an ingredient.

Cannabinoid administration methods compared

To sum up our findings so far, we’ll point out the most important pros and cons of the four major methods of CBD consumption we’ve discussed:

Oral ingestion pros

– Simple and familiar

– Many different options

– Sweet gummies, pinpoint tinctures, convenient capsules

– Long-lasting effects

Oral ingestion cons

– Slow activation time

– Product selection can be overwhelming

– Reduced potency due to digestive filtration

Sublingual administration pros

– Applies to most orally ingested CBD products

– Increases efficacy

– Increases activation time

Sublingual administration cons

– Still slower effects than some ingestion methods

– Most of the consumed cannabinoids are still processed by the liver

Topical administration pros

– Potent effects in localized places

– Beloved by shoppers with chronic pain

– High-quality cosmetics also available

– Vast selection

Topical administration cons

– Topicals do not provide body-wide effects

– They have no impact on mood, sleepiness, etc.

Inhalation pros

– Most potent effects

– Fastest activation time

– Many different methods available

Inhalation cons

– The safety of inhaling cannabinoids is unknown

– Distillates used in vapes are prone to solvent contamination

– Hemp flower is prone to pesticide contamination

What is the best cannabinoid administration method for me?

As you can see, there are considerable differences between the various types of cannabinoid products that are available. It is perhaps this feature more than all others that distinguishes the cannabinoid industry from others — you have a nearly endless number of ways to use CBD at your disposal, providing room for both freedom and confusion.

To make it easier for you to select the right type of cannabinoid product for your needs, we’ve come up with a simple questionnaire. Run through the list of questions, and by the end, an ideal product type may have revealed itself:

1. Which is most important in your product: potency, activation time, or flavor?

2. Is your product intended to target pain?

3. Will the product be orally ingested or topically applied?

4. If consumed using a different method, how will the product be consumed?

5. Do you want to mask the taste of hemp oil in your product?

6. Do you want your product to appeal to a younger or older crowd?

These are the types of questions a white label cannabinoid supplier will ask you when beginning a business relationship. Your answers will help you craft a line of cannabinoid products that suits both your goals and the needs of your intended customers.

Many methods, similar goals

This guide has made clear that there are many ways to use CBD. We’ve hardly touched on the full range of options at your disposal, but what all the different ways to use CBD have in common is that they’re designed to provide therapeutic purposes without causing intoxication.

CBD won’t get you high whether you vape it, eat it, or apply it in a topical. This cannabinoid is thoroughly non-intoxicating — that much is known. Just how much CBD might be able to help those in need, however, remains a mystery waiting to be solved.

CBD consumption methods FAQs

Here are a few pieces of the puzzle that might assist in the process of choosing a CBD consumption method:

1. What is the best way to use CBD?

Judging from the numbers alone, taking CBD orally would appear to be the best approach. The majority of CBD products are taken orally, after all, which is a situation that shoppers appear to support wholeheartedly.

Oral consumption isn’t the right choice for every single CBD user, however. Individuals with chronic pain in certain areas of the body, for instance, prefer the area-specific effects of CBD topicals. The needs of specific shopper archetypes must be taken into account when formulating effective CBD products.

2. What type of CBD should a beginner start with?

Those who are unfamiliar with CBD usually start with an orally ingested option like gummies, capsules, or a tincture. Tinctures are the most popular, but gummies might be more suitable for new users due to their palatable flavor. The only circumstance in which a topical might be suitable as a first product is if a shopper has issues with chronic pain in a specific area.

3. Should you take CBD on a full or empty stomach?

The contents of your stomach do not majorly impact the effectiveness of CBD. As with any substance, taking CBD on an empty stomach will result in increased effectiveness, but potentially at the cost of equally increased digestive discomfort. Take CBD on a full stomach if you’re concerned about a negative gastrointestinal reaction.

4. Are water-based or oil-based CBD topicals more effective?

Water-based CBD topicals absorb better, but oil-based topicals stay on the surface of your skin longer. Each CBD topical type may be more effective than the other depending on the circumstances.

5. Is smoking CBD safe?

The safety of smoking CBD in the form of hemp flower has not been established. Limited research³ indicates that higher concentrations of CBD may correlate with reduced harm when smoking cannabis flower, but more studies need to be conducted to derive conclusive results.


1. The Associated Press. (2019, September 16). Investigation finds illegal synthetic marijuana in vape and edible products sold as CBD. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/16/investigation-finds-illegal-synthetic-marijuana-in-vape-and-edible-products-sold-as-cbd.html

2. Kight, R. (2021, January 6). New Law Restricts Online Sales of Hemp and CBD Vapes |. Kight Law. https://cannabusiness.law/new-law-restricts-online-sales-of-hemp-and-cbd-vapes/

3. Gibson, L. P., Karoly, H. C., Ellingson, J. M., Klawitter, J., Sempio, C., Squeri, J., Bryan, A. D., Bidwell, L. C., & Hutchison, K. E. (2022). Effects of cannabidiol in cannabis flower: Implications for harm reduction. Addiction Biology, 27(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/adb.13092


Get in touch today

Ready to Build Your Brand?