Rare Cannabinoids: CBF, CBE, CBC, CBDV Explained

March 17, 2023
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Exploring rare cannabinoids: CBF, CBE, CBC, and CBDV

If you're like most cannabis enthusiasts, you probably know about CBD and THC. But what about the rare cannabinoids? Chances are, you've never heard of cannabifuran (CBF), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidivarin (CBDV), and cannabielsoin (CBE). Lately, these four highly distinctive cannabinoids have captured the attention of researchers who are only just beginning to understand their potential. So what do we know about these cannabinoids so far? Let's take a closer look.

What is the cannabinoid CBE?

The first mention of cannabielsoin (CBE) in scientific literature dates back to the early 1970s. Since then, scientists have been studying the compound, and recent research suggests that it could have a range of potential benefits.

CBE is derived from cannabidiol (CBD). Like its non-psychoactive parent compound, it's an attractive option for those who want the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the mind-altering effects.

Many researchers believe that CBE has entourage effects, even though little is known about its specific benefits. However, according to the entourage effect theory, CBE can have health benefits when paired with other cannabinoids and flavonoids.

What is the cannabinoid CBC?

Cannabichromene, or CBC, is one of the lesser-known abundant cannabinoids with many promising properties. Discovered over 50 years ago, CBC is found in medical research alongside the other "big six" cannabinoids. However, unlike THC or CBD, cannabichromene does not get as much attention.

But what it lacks in popularity, it makes up for in benefits.

According to research published in Plant & Cell Physiology, CBC has the same origins as THC and CBD. The cannabis plant contains cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which gives rise to all three major cannabinoids: cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).

Like CBD, cannabichromene is non-intoxicating. This means it will not produce the psychoactive effects associated with THC. Instead, CBC offers its own unique anti-inflammatory properties.

One way cannabichromene battles inflammation is by activating the CB2 receptor. The CB2 receptor is a protein that plays a role in the immune system. When cannabichromene activates the CB2 receptor, it helps to reduce inflammation. So, if you're looking for a non-intoxicating cannabinoid with a lot of potential, cannabichromene may be worth seeking out.

What is the cannabinoid CBDV? 

Generally speaking, cannabidivarin (CBDV) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found predominantly in indica strains, namely landrace indicas native to Asia and Africa, and strains low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBDV levels tend to be higher in strains with high CBD content.

According to a 2021 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, much like CBD, CBDV can reduce seizure frequency and the severity significantly. Apart from that, it can effectively reduce or even eliminate nausea caused by various conditions, in addition to reducing inflammation. Furthermore, CBDV has been shown to be beneficial in treating mood disorders and pain. 

In light of the fact that much of the research on CBDV has historically been focused on seizures, in 2018, GW Pharmaceuticals launched the first FDA-approved CBD-derived epilepsy drug called Epidiolex.

Meanwhile, their researchers are developing another drug derived from CBDV called GPW42006 to reduce or prevent seizures.

According to their research, CBDV affects both the onset and progression of epilepsy by affecting the neurochemical pathway of the capsaicin receptors. In addition, the researchers note that CBDV exhibits anti-epileptic properties in various in vitro and in vivo epilepsy models.

What is the cannabinoid CBF?

Discovered in 1982, cannabifuran (CBF) belongs to a unique class of cannabinoids that are not naturally occurring in cannabis. Experts theorize that CBF may possess mildly intoxicating properties due to its status as a metabolite of THC. It is challenging, however, to know whether CBF is natural or not since all the CBF used in research so far has been synthesized.

As a result, most research in this area has been focused on how CBF is synthesized and chemically classified rather than how it could contribute to cannabis research or help humans. Unfortunately, this means that CBF may not be fully understood anytime soon due to its low status on the priority list among international research interests. As a result, scientists are still unsure of CBF's origins and whether it offers any benefits despite isolating it decades ago.

Unfortunately, this means that speculating about CBF's benefits is futile without an understanding of its source and role.

Currently, cannabifuran is regarded as an outlier in research that is yet another piece in the larger puzzle of cannabinoids. And as long as CBF is not readily available to consumers, we won't be able to explore its potential benefits.

Putting it all together

As marijuana legalization continues to sweep the nation, researchers are taking a closer look at some of the lesser-known cannabinoids and their potential healing properties. While it's still the early days in terms of understanding all the potential benefits these compounds may have, the current body of research points to cannabinoids as a powerful tool for enhancing wellness.

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