If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard of THC and CBD but are less familiar with THCV. THCV is a newly discovered cannabinoid that has been gaining attention in the media and scientific community in recent years. THCV is unique because it has some very different properties than THC and CBD. In this article, we will discuss what is THCV, its benefits, and how it differs from other cannabinoids.
What is THCV?
THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) is a cannabinoid that is found in the cannabis plant. THCV is similar to THC in that it has psychoactive properties, but it differs from THC in a few key ways. It is a minor form of cannabinoid with a unique set of medical benefits and effects.
The cannabinoid is best known for its psychoactive effects and appetite-suppressing abilities. Because of this, THCV is commonly referred to as “weederall” or “diet weed.”
THCV was discovered early in 1973 after the discovery and extraction of delta 9 THC. Therefore, it’s safe to say the cannabinoid is not a made-up formulation, as some naysayers claim.
How is THCV Made?
THCV exists in minimal amounts in cannabis sativa plants alongside THC. As a result, THCV extraction involves a complicated and expensive process, which explains why it’s widely commercially sold.
Manufacturers in the cannabis industry use chromatography to extract the compounds from the plant. This process involves using superfluid liquid solvents such as alcohol or CO2 to obtain the compounds. The resulting product is treated with high heat and pressure to eliminate impurities. After this process, your THCV is ready for consumption or storage.
How Does THCV Work?
Like every cannabinoid product, THCV interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body to produce a range of potential therapeutic benefits. The human body has two types of receptors; the CBI and the CB2. The CB1 is primarily located in the brain and nervous system. On the other hand, the CB2 receptors are concentrated in the immune system.
Unlike THC, THCV does not bind to these receptors but blocks them out. This means that THCV can equally counter the effects of THC when both cannabinoid products are used together.
Although studies reveal that at high doses, THCV can produce psychoactive effects similar to THC.
THCV vs. THC
THCV and THC have a similar molecular structure and an almost identical atom arrangement. As a result, both cannabinoids are said to have intoxicating effects, although only in higher doses for THCV.
Despite the similarities, both cannabinoids have striking differences. While THC is known for its “munchies effect,” THCV creates the opposite effect. The unique cannabinoid suppresses users’ appetites. Some anecdotes claim that using THCV together with THC can imitate the intoxicating effects of THC.
Additionally, while THC is a by-product of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), THCV is a by-product of cannabigerovarin acid (CBGVA).
What are the Effects of THCV?
As mentioned, THCV has a unique range of benefits and effects. While the effects may vary with every user, they are pretty profound among most THCV users. These are:
If you have trouble dieting, THCV decreases appetite. The cannabinoid suppresses your appetite, unlike THC. In peer review studies, rodents receiving a dose of THCV displayed a decreased appetite and a feeling of satiety. The THCVA also regulated the energy metabolism in rodents.
Additionally, study experiments on healthy volunteers reveal that THCV-derived products counter the need for food reward. Ideally, THCV could be a good option for managing weight loss. However, patients suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia should avoid its use.
Lack of Psychoactive Effects
Unlike THC, THCVA produces no psychoactive effect on the user. According to research, the lack of psychoactive effects is due to THCVA blocking the receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
Unlike THCV, these receptors interact with THC to produce a feeling of being high. However, THCVA users reportedly state that THCVA has a psychoactive effect in higher doses. Furthermore, medical trials reveal that using THCV and THC together can suppress some of the effects of THC, such as paranoia and short-term memory loss.
On the other hand, some anecdotes note that THCV produces a fast but short-lived high. A low dose of 0.1 g produces an energetic high for some users, but the downside is that it is short-lived. This factor has led to most people referring to THCV as the “cannabis sports car.” Therefore, THCV may be referred to as a partial agonist at high doses.
What Are the Health Benefits of THCV?
So far, THCV has a broad range of medical benefits. However, researchers are calling for extensive studies into some of these benefits. So what are some of the medical benefits THCV can deliver to you? Let’s take a closer look.
THCV reduces inflammation in patients, especially those with chronic inflammation due to Crohn’s disease or diabetes. Studies reveal that THCV is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can ward off some stress-related or age-related illnesses.
Scientific studies on rodents reveal that THCV can decrease signs of inflammation and any other inflammatory pain it may be associated with.
THCV is a promising agent in treating seizures associated with epilepsy. The cannabinoid reduces the frequency and severity of the episodes. Furthermore, the cannabinoid provides neuroprotection by suppressing tremors and can be used by patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, ALS, and multiple sclerosis.
In addition, THCV is also effective in reducing brain lesions that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and helps patients regain muscle control.
Promote Bone Health
If you thought calcium was the only remedy for bone growth, well, there is a new player in town. THCV cannabis products can promote the growth of bone marrow and tissue by binding to the bone marrow receptors.
Obesity and Weight Loss
Weight management is an uphill task. Extensive research into the medical benefits of THCV reveals that it can provide relief to people with obesity. Furthermore, low doses can block the interaction with CBI receptors, thereby reducing appetite.
Further research also reveals that THCV improves brain connections for people with obesity. It is assumed that obese people have a brain alteration that causes them to indulge more in eating. THCV reworks the brain connectivity, which also suppresses indulgence and consequently acts as an appetite suppressant.
A study on the effectiveness of tetrahydrocannabivarin on glycemic and lipid parameters reveals that THCV can be used among patients with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, experts compare THCV to intermittent fasting because of how it helps in the management of insulin and blood sugar levels. THCV products have the potential to promote energy use while also reducing glucose intolerance.
Furthermore, THCV cannabis products can increase insulin sensitivity for people with diabetes. In a separate cannabis research that focused on two mouse models, THCV ameliorates insulin sensitivity, improving its uptake in the body.
A separate study also revealed that THCV could improve pancreatic function for people with type 2 diabetes.
Sleep and Anxiety Control
THCV products provide a calming effect that benefits people with anxiety disorders. The cannabinoid can suppress feelings of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic attacks without blocking out emotions.
Furthermore, THCV is also effective in promoting sleep. It can be used to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Can THCV Make You High?
At low doses, THCV may not have any psychoactive effects. However, in a parallel group pilot study, THCV may produce a quick high under higher doses.
Is THCV Legal?
The question of cannabinoid products’ legality never has a straightforward answer.
In 2018, the US legalized hemp farming with the restriction that industrial hemp should contain less than 0.3% THC. This means users can enjoy cannabinoid products made from industrial hemp with less than 0.3% THC.
Given the above criteria, it is safe to say that THV obtained from industrial hemp is legal. However, THCV products made from marijuana are illegal because they exceed the 0.3% THC threshold.
Furthermore, the legality of THCV products depends on your state. While some states welcome the recreational and medical use of CBD products, it is illegal in others. It is advisable to have a medical marijuana card when purchasing THCV products.
Where to Buy THCV Products
Due to the expensive nature of THCV extraction, you may not find it at your local dispensary. Furthermore, the products are a new trend and may only be available in select outlets. You may also find THCV as isolates or in cartridges, but rarely as tinctures or gummies.
THCV exists in a variety of strains that are available in different regions. Strains with high levels of THCV are commonly found in African and Asian areas. You can get strains from Thailand, Afghanistan, India, or Pakistan.
Here are some ways to locate the rare cannabinoid:
Ask for African Sativas
THCV is more prevalent in landrace sativas. Such strains are predominant in Africa, and the Durban Poison is a common and highly THCV-infected strain. The strain has an estimated level of 0.5% to 1% THCV.
Look For Parent Genetics
To improve availability, some strains contain hybrid parent genetics from African strains. For example, the Cherry Pie strain is a genetic hybrid made from Durban Poison. Hybrid strains could be more locally available. You can ask your budtender to recommend a few hybridized African genetics.
Ask for Lab Results
THCV content may vary with every harvest. Requesting test results from your bud handler to check on the THCV levels is advisable. The results are also a way of ensuring you’re consuming safe levels f THCV.
Other strains high in THCV that you can look out for:
- Doug’s Varin
- Red Congolese
- Pineapple Purps
- Power Plant
- Jack the Ripper
- Skunk #1
- Durban Cheese
- Willie Nelson
Is THCV Safe?
THCV is one of the cannabinoid products with extensive research on its use and effects on the human body. So far, none of the studies that examine what THCV is have pointed out any damning effects.
However, you should note that cannabinoid products have varying effects from user to user. If you’re new to the product, starting off with low doses is recommended. Also, a high dose may not suit you if you have a low tolerance for cannabinoid products.
How Much Does THCV Cost?
THCV is costly due to its trace amounts and sophisticated extraction process. According to experts in the cannabis industry, raw THCV at 35% costs about $30,000 for every kilogram, while the distillate goes for $40,000 per kilogram.
Is THCV Soluble in Water?
Generally, THCV is not soluble in water but only in oil-based solvents. To enhance its absorption in the body, cannabis enthusiasts have developed water-soluble cannabinoids in powder form. This increases the bioavailability of the product in the body.
What is THCV’s Boiling Point?
Tetrahydrocannabivarin has a higher boiling point than THC of 114 degrees or 428 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, to prepare edibles, you may need to use high heat. However, there is a downside to this. Exposing THCV to high heat can vaporize the terpenes and cannabinoids, and you may also lose the effects and flavor.
On the bright side, exposure to high heat means you will end up with a THCV-rich edible.