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.
CBF vs. CBD
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