Currently, the amount of research being conducted on cannabinoids and the health benefits they can provide, is skyrocketing. This article will take a look at THCV and just how it can boost overall well-being.
Cannabinoids are currently being looked at for the health benefits they can provide. Though CBD and THC may be the most popular of these cannabinoids, THCV is another compound which is likely to become a household name in the near future. Read on to find out more about what THCV is and what benefits it can provide.
What is THCV?
THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. It is almost identical in structure to THC, but it has a propyl (3 carbon) side chamber rather than the propyl (5 carbon) group that THC has.
THCV is abundant in strains of marijuana from Central and South Africa. It is a common cannabinoid, but rarely accounts for more than 2% of the plant. However, in recent years, plants have been found with up to 15% THCV.
Like THC, THCV can induce psychoactive effects. However, it has only about 25% of the potency that THC does. In addition, it can provide certain health benefits, which will be discussed further in this article.
Most cannabinoids are synthesized from cannabigerol (CBG). This is a compound found in all forms of weed. CBG goes through certain metabolic processes to form these cannabinoids. In the case of THCV, formation occurs when divarinolic acid joins with geranyl phosphate.
This initial reaction creates cannabigerovarinic acid (GBGVA). When this new substance reacts with THCV synthase, an enzyme present in cannabis, THCVA (tetrahydrocannabivarin carboxylic acid) is formed. When decarboxylation occurs, THCVA gets broken down into THCV.
How Does THCV Work?
When THCV enters the body, it binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a set of receptors that function to regulate health and promote homeostasis throughout the body.
The effects of THCV can vary depending on the dosage. A low dose can inhibit the psychoactive effects produced by THC. This means that it can act as an antagonist when interacting with the ECS. When higher doses are consumed, THCV converts to an agonist on the system, acting more like THC and promoting similar euphoric effects.
Benefits of THCV
THCV is being researched for the health benefits it can provide. These can include the following:
Working as an Appetite Suppressant: THCV can provide a number of health benefits, but it is best known for its ability to suppress appetite and promote weight loss.
THCV has been shown to work in the brain in such a way that it suppresses appetite and controls obesity. A 2016 study provided evidence that the compound may work as a potential treatment for obesity, without the depressogenic side effects. Further studies are needed to determine exactly how THCV works in the brain to produce these results.
Diabetes: THCV may also be effective in helping combat diabetes. Research showed that the compound can ameliorate insulin sensitivity in two mouse models of obesity. This shows that THCV could potentially be a strong tool against obesity associated glucose intolerance.
Parkinson’s: THCV has been shown to have neuroprotective effects in animal models with Parkinson’s disease. In a study conducted in 2011, it was shown to have antioxidant effects that give it a promising pharmacological profile for delaying the disease progression of Parkinson’s and its symptoms. These properties could also make it effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions.
Further studies showed that THCV can provide other improvements in the brain. When compared to THC, which can impair memory, THCV was shown to improve memory when given to healthy participants.
Bone Growth: In studies that researched cannabinoids and their ability to stimulate bone growth, there was some evidence that THCV had the ability to stimulate bone nodule formation. This would make it a promising treatment for osteoporosis and other forms of bone degeneration. However, more evidence is needed to support these claims.
Seizures: THCV has also shown to have anticonvulsant effects. The compound was one of the many cannabinoids used to determine anticonvulsant effects in a mouse model study. It was identified as a cannabinoid that could bind with the CB1 receptor to reduce seizures. This makes THCV a promising solution in the treatment of epilepsy.
Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Relief: THCV has been researched to see how it affects inflammation in a mouse model. A study determined that the cannabinoid had the ability to block CB1 receptors and activate CB2 receptors to reduce inflammation in the body and the chronic pain that comes with it.
Antioxidant: Because THCV works as a neural protectant in the brain, it has been identified as an antioxidant. It is still unclear how the compound can work in this capacity in relation to other parts of the body.
As stated earlier, THCV does provide mind-altering effects. However, the high it gives you varies, much like THC.
The most notable difference between a THCV high and a THC high is the effects of THCV hit sooner and are more powerful, but don’t last as long. Additionally, THCV works as an appetite suppressant, and doesn’t bring on “the munchies” that come with a THC high.
The THCV high is described as a clear headed, stimulating buzz that can give you a mental burst of energy. However, for some, because the high comes on so quickly and intensely, it can lead to feelings of anxiety.
When used in conjunction with THC, THCV has been known to counteract the negative feelings that can come with a THC high and can also regulate heart rate.
Of course, cannabinoids are known to produce different effects in different people. If you are using the compound recreationally or for medical reasons, it is best to start with low doses to see how it will affect you.
Is THCV Legal?
Because THCV has psychoactive effects, you might think it falls under the same legal umbrella as it’s sister cannabinoid, THC. While there are many legal gray areas concerning THC itself, there is even more confusion when considering individual cannabinoids. THCV is not scheduled at the federal level in America, nor is it scheduled by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
In the U.K., The Drugs and Alcohol Unit lists THCV as a ‘Schedule 1 to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 as a controlled drug which has no recognized medicinal benefit in the U.K.’. In other words, according to the most current information, the selling, use and possession of THCV is currently illegal in the United Kingdom.
If you think THCV could be beneficial to you, there are a few options for obtaining it.
If you are lucky enough to live in a state with dispensaries that can legally sell cannabis, you can ask your budtender to recommend African strains which tend to be higher in THCV content.
Durban Poison is likely to contain a high THCV content, but there are other strains that also have a high percentage of THCV.
- Doug’s Varin: 24.3%
- Purps: 4%
- Slim Hash (A shatter): 38.44%
- Ace of Spades (A shatter): 2.4%
- Agent Orange Nug Run (A Shatter): 1.9%
You should be warned that THCV content can vary from harvest to harvest and genetics alone can’t promise a high THCV content. Therefore, it may be best to ask for lab tested strains that will ensure you are getting a strain that is rich in the compound.
If you are looking to extract THCV from cannabis on your own, be aware that it has a higher boiling level than THC. THC has a boiling point of 314 degrees fahrenheit so, if you’re performing an extraction, you need to stay well below that temperature. If you are cooking cannabis, a temperature of 240 degrees fahrenheit is recommended for an edible that is rich in THC.
THCV, on the other hand, has a boiling point of 428 degrees fahrenheit. Therefore, extraction temperatures can be higher. If you’re preparing THCV in edibles, temperatures will have to be higher as well. Although, cooking cannabis at this temperature will result in the vaporization of other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. However, on the plus side, this can be a good thing if you’re looking to enjoy the benefits of pure THCV on its own.
Because THCV has a higher boiling point, it also needs to be vaped at higher temperatures. It requires a temperature of 428 degrees fahrenheit to begin vaporizing and full expression will come out at about 465 degree fahrenheit.
Cannabinoids are growing in popularity and are being increasingly researched for potential health benefits. As research continues, we learn more about various cannabinoids, like THCV. We also learn how they can offer health benefits to increase wellness and quality of life. You should feel encouraged to explore the world of cannabinoids to find out which ones will be most beneficial to you.