Beginner’s Guide to THCV
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Beginner’s Guide to THCV
The cannabis plant is full of compounds called cannabinoids. There may be more than 140 of them, and scientists are finding out new things about them every day. One of these helpful compounds is THCV, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabivarin. While we’ve known about THCV for about fifty years, the effects of this cannabinoid have only recently begun to be explored.
What is THCV?
THCV is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It was first identified in the 1970s and is seeing an increase in interest and study due to its effects on inflammation and appetite. While some THCV research occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, most of what we know about it comes from more recent research.
How is THCV Different from THC?
THCV has numerous structural and functional differences when compared to THC. While most cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, are byproducts of the CBGA precursor molecule, THCV is the final byproduct of CBGVA (cannabigerovarin acid). CBGV converts to THCVA, which eventually becomes THCV over time or when exposed to heat and light. THCV usually naturally occurs in low concentrations in the hemp plant.
Functionally, THCV interacts with the endocannabinoid system differently from THC. Regular THC binds with the CB1 receptors, which are responsible for transmitting signals throughout the body. This binding is what creates the euphoric effects of THC, as well as the increase in appetite and the cannabinoid’s ability to reduce nausea.
THCV, however, blocks the CB1 receptors. This changes the way messages are sent in the brain, which gives THCV the ability to suppress the appetite. Research suggests that this happens best with low doses of THCV; high doses may actually activate the CB1 receptors.
Both THC and THCV bind with the C2 receptors, however. When a cannabinoid binds with the C2 receptors, it can have positive effects on pain and reduce inflammation. As a result, THCV is growing in popularity with people who want to address these issues.
Effects of THCV
The primary effect for which THCV is known is appetite suppression. This occurs because of the CB1 receptor blocking. This means that users who are seeking assistance with weight loss often enjoy these effects.
Another effect of THCV at low doses is actually a lack of effect. THCV at low doses does not have a psychoactive effect. While it can have this effect at higher doses, it is not the same kind of psychoactive effect as THC. It has a much faster onset and lasts shorter than a typical THC high. This only occurs at high doses. In most cases, the amount of THCV in cannabis somewhat counteracts the psychoactive effect of THC when the two are consumed together.
Benefits of THCV
Studies of THCV have shown that this cannabinoid has a number of important health and wellness benefits, some of which are unique among known cannabinoids.
THCV may help with diabetes. Research shows promise in THCV’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. In 2016, a human test found that THCV significantly reduced fasting plasma glucose, a key issue in Type II diabetes.
Stress and Panic Disorders
THCV may reduce panic attacks. It appears to curb anxiety attacks in PTSD patients without suppressing emotion.
The antipsychotic effects of THCV can reduce and ease the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Inflammation and Pain
Another benefit of THCV’s ability to activate CB2 receptors is its ability to calm inflammation. While more study is necessary, THCV is potentially a good anti-inflammatory that could relieve many painful symptoms and conditions.
THCV has been shown in in vitro studies to reduce lipids around the liver and could be a treatment for certain types of liver disease.
THCV is a promising treatment for Parkinson’s disease. This is because in addition to blocking the CB1 receptors in the brain while stimulating the CB2 receptors, it is also an antioxidant. It has been shown to reduce symptoms such as tremors and may delay brain degeneration caused by lesions.
THCV stimulates bone growth. Because it promotes the growth of new bone cells and collagen production, THCV is being looked at for osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions.
Where Does THCV Come From?
Like all cannabinoids, THCV is extracted from the hemp plant. However, it currently cannot be synthesized or made synthetically, so it can be difficult to find. There are some companies that make THCV edibles and tinctures. But right now, the easiest way to get THCV is to buy strains of cannabis that are known for their high THCV content.
The best place to look for high THCV content is in African-origin sativa strains– although some Asian strains have high THCV content as well. If you prefer hybrid strains, look for strains that have parent genetics from high-content strains. Here’s a quick list of strains known for their THCV, but be sure to check their labeling for full testing analysis.
- Doug’s Varin: Doug’s Varin is a strain of Sativa specially bred to contain high amounts of THCV. It comes in at around 15%; most other hemp strains contain less than 2% THCV. Doug’s Varin is also known to be a powerful anticonvulsant and is prized by Parkinson’s patients. Users of this strain say that it is energetic and uplifting.
- Pineapple Purps: Pineapple Purps has a THC:THCV ratio of 3:1, which is quite high. Users report that it is energizing and helps them focus.
- Power Plant: A hybrid of several African Sativa strains, Power Plant is a potent strain with a THC and THCV content. Users of this strain frequently say that it helps with stress and makes them feel more positive.
- Willie Nelson: This Sativa strain is known to be uplifting, and many of its users report a creative boost when using it. It is a hybrid of African and Asian Sativa strains and has been popular with people with chronic pain since its development.
- Red Congolese: Red Congolese has an interesting history. While it may have started out as an African landrace, or naturally-developed strain, the version available in the US has mixed in Afghani and Mexican genetics as well. This has created a strain that has uplifting, euphoric effects, as well as a high THCV content.
- Jack the Ripper: This strain is popular for its ability to relieve pain and stress. This is a strain with a very low CBD content. Taking CBD and THCV together at the same time has been said to reduce the THCV effects, so if you’re sensitive to CBD, this might be a good strain to access THCV.
- Ace of Spades: Outside of Doug’s Varin, this strain of Sativa has the most THCV in any commercially available hemp strain.
Do you have more questions about THCV? We’ve answered a few of the most commonly occurring questions below.
Does THCV get you high?
Potentially. At high doses in potent strains, THCV can produce psychoactive effects that are generally stimulating and promote mental clarity. These psychoactive effects are also fast-acting and fast-dissipating. However, it is important to realize that it is currently difficult to isolate THCV and much of it is consumed alongside THC– so some of the side effects may overlap.
The psychoactive effect of THCV also depends on the dose. High doses of THCV will have a psychoactive effect. Low doses will not.
Why is THCV called diet weed?
The “diet” in THCV’s nickname doesn’t mean that the THCV itself is less potent than other cannabinoids. Instead, it refers to THCV’s potential as an appetite suppressant. While THC is known for being an appetite stimulant, the reverse is true for THCV. THCV can also tone down the side effects of THC,
Is THCV the same thing as THC?
No, but it’s very easy to get the names confused. Cannabinoids are named after the molecules from which they are made up and how those molecules are structured. THC and THCV have similar molecular makeups, so they have similar names. However, they aren’t the same chemical and don’t even share the same precursor compound in the hemp plant.
Is THCV legal?
THCV legality is a little bit complicated, and depends entirely on what kind of product you are buying that contains THCV.
If you can find a source of THCV that is hemp derived (i.e. from a cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC), it is federally legal. If your source of THCV is marijuana derived (i.e. from a cannabis plant containing more than 0.3% THC) it is federally illegal (as of October 2022) but legal in states with legalized marijuana.
Here is a complete list of medical and recreational cannabis laws by state.
Our mission at Myriam’s Hemp is to help you learn about your options for hemp-based wellness. We want everyone to have access to the best available information about cannabinoids and what they can do for you. Visit our blog to learn more about different types of hemp products and how they can help you.