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What is THCV?

During the last few years, the study of cannabis has allowed researchers to find incredible compounds in the plant. Besides the popular THC and CBD, there are plenty of other cannabinoids that add to the great effects of the plant. Among them, we can highlight THCV. What is THCV in weed?

This is a topic that is beginning to get a lot of attention from both researchers and consumers of cannabis. In this article, we will walk you through the basics of this recently discovered compound.

What is THCV and what does it do?

THCV is an unusual compound found only in very small quantities within certain cannabis strains. Although all of its effects on humans are still unknown, from a medical point of view its properties are very intriguing. This possible medicinal value is what differentiates it from other cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. THCV and THC have similar structures of molecules and to some degree, effects.

THCV, however, has unique biochemical properties that lead to various interactions with our body. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is one of the phytocannabinoids or cannabinoids that are not as prominent or as well-researched in the cannabis plant as the key phytocannabinoids being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). To induce psychoactive and therapeutic effects, phytocannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors of our body and other targets in our system.

As it works out, these interactions can have some therapeutic advantages. While research on potential uses is still being performed, this cannabinoid may become a crucial component of new therapies for a variety of health problems. THCV comes from cannabigerovarin acid (CBGVA), one of the two main substrates of cannabinoids, together with cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Enzymes take CBGVA and turn it into acidic cannabinoids containing THCVA, which when exposed to heat or light, decarboxylates into the active compound THCV. THCV’s boiling point is a decent 220 °C (428 °F), so you need to turn it up higher than THC.

The effects of THCV have been shown to be dose-dependent in several studies. Although it behaves in high doses like its cousin THC, THCV simulates CBD in lower doses. Moreover, THCV induces a different high than THC when taken at high doses. Although THC could put someone to sleep, the “buzz” of THCV is described as “still keeping clarity and stimulating”. Individuals reported feeling energized too.

What strains are high in THCV?

Most strains only produce small quantities of THCV that are undetectable, making the desired therapeutic effect difficult to achieve. Standard strains produce less than 1% THCV, which makes extracting this cannabinoid in large amounts expensive.

However, lab results show that sativas, especially landrace strains from Africa, are more abundant in THCV, such as Durban Poison and Red Congolese. On the other hand, we can find other high-THCV strains like Jack the Ripper, Skunk #1, Tangie, Pineapple Purps, Doug’s Varin, Power Plant, and Willie Nelson.

What is THCV oil?

One of the latest challenges for cannabis breeders is cultivating hemp strains that are high in THCV and low in THC, though a few strains are nowadays specially bred to produce higher levels of THCV and THC. As it was mentioned before, extracting this cannabinoid in bigger quantities is costly and still difficult.

However, the strains listed above can be ingested in the form of a flower or processed into extracts, oils and edibles with a higher cannabinoid concentration. Check the lab testing to find oils with higher concentrations of this cannabinoid.

Furthermore, when used in a full spectrum CBD oil, THCV effects might not be as evident. However they are strong when the cannabinoid is set apart and tested on its own. THCV retains tremendous medical promise in its refined form, either as an isolate or a distillate.

What is THCV good for?

THCV research is very limited, but as our understanding of the therapeutic potential for cannabinoids beyond THC and CBD continues to expand, that is starting to change. What we know about THCV to date is pretty amazing, and for people suffering from a variety of conditions with complicated treatments, it can hold great promise.

For instance, THCV relieves tension, and evidence suggests that it can help to alleviate anxiety and panic attacks or even avoid them. It plays an important role in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder for this reason (PTSD).

In PTSD patients, it appears to curb anxiety attacks without suppressing emotions. Unlike THC, THCV serves to reduce appetite as well, but for obvious reasons it is not recommended for patients with cachexia or anorexia nervosa. On top of that, it is neuroprotective, making it suitable for the treatment of disorders such as:

  • Alzheimer: Alzheimer’s disease-associated tremors, muscle function, and brain lesions tend to be improved by THCV, but study is in progress.
  • Parkinson: The British Journal of Pharmacology published a study tested on rats that concluded the capacity of THCV to stimulate CB2 receptors while inhibiting CB1 receptors, and as a consequence, endowing the cannabinoid with neuroprotective properties that may be useful for treating Parkinson’s disease.
  • Multiple sclerosis: According to a study published in 2007 by Calcified Tissue International, THCV is one of many cannabinoids which may promote bone health and healing by acting on CB2 receptors in the bone marrow. Moreover, THCV is being looked at for osteoporosis and other bone-related disorders because it encourages the formation of new bone cells.

THCV and Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that has to do with the production and functioning of insulin. The body does not produce enough insulin for type 1 diabetes, while the body lacks insulin sensitivity for type 2 diabetes.

Now the medical community is wondering how precisely cannabis impacts insulin. Some studies show that insulin resistance can be decreased by CBD. It’s not better than the average medication.

On the other hand, THCV lowered fasting blood sugar levels significantly being perfect for those who are type 2. This cannabinoid has been mentioned in another study claiming it decreases glucose intolerance and increases insulin insensitivity, but this has only been in mice. It seemed to improve energy production too.

THCV and Weight Loss

You might think that medicinal cannabis might not be able to help you lose weight. It is after all recommended for patients with cancer to minimize nausea and improve appetite. Then, how would it help you lose weight if it triggers you to eat more?

The response lies in the effects of the THCV chemical qualities. Researchers have found that THCV for weight loss is indeed great. Not only does it suppress your appetite and help you control cravings, it also improves your metabolism with your everyday workouts and daily routine activities, giving you more energy and helping you burn off more calories.

Other studies made and published by the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, indicates that THCV could be an effective compound for weight loss because it enhances communication in brain areas that in people with obesity are normally altered. This research endorsed THCV for weight loss, yet the theory of appetite suppression was not backed.

As you can see, there are promising uses for THCV that could make it the next big thing on the market. Thanks to the efforts of the scientific community, consumers and cannabis companies, we can expect more research going on cannabinoids. This will help us have a better understanding of the benefits that this plant could bring to our well-being.

Comparing THCV vs. THC vs. CBD

Chemical StructureSimilar to THC but with unique propertiesPrimary psychoactive compound in cannabisNon-psychoactive, well-known for therapeutic properties
Primary EffectsPsychoactive in high doses, similar to CBD in lower dosesPsychoactive, responsible for the “high”Non-psychoactive, known for calming and therapeutic effects
Medical UsesPotential for treating PTSD, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and aiding in weight lossPain relief, nausea reduction, appetite stimulationAnxiety relief, anti-inflammatory, seizure control
Availability in StrainsFound in small quantities, mostly in African sativas like Durban PoisonCommon in most cannabis strainsCommon in most cannabis strains, high levels in hemp
LegalityVaries by region, often follows cannabis legalityLegal in some regions, illegal under federal law in many countriesWidely legal, especially when derived from hemp
PsychoactivityVaries with dose; less psychoactive than THCHighly psychoactiveNon-psychoactive

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