Understanding: What is THCv?
Posted on April 23rd, 2022
What is THCv? Also known as delta 9 tetrahydrocannabivarin, it’s quickly becoming one of the most sought-after cannabinoids on the market for its purported energy-boosting and appetite-curbing, earning itself the nicknames “diet weed” and “weederall”.
Unlike many other cannabinoids, THCV does not have the psychoactive effects linked to better-known compounds like CBN or THC.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Marijuana plants contain many different compounds. These natural chemical compounds, that affect your brain, body and central nervous system, are known as cannabinoids. The most common cannabinoids include CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Not all cannabinoids are psychoactive. In fact some, like CBD, cannot cause a “high” when ingested or smoked.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that there are at least 144 cannabinoids. While the most popular is Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), others are gaining attention for their own benefits.
What is THCV?
THCV is a cannabinoid that exists in lower concentrations than other cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Hence, it’s considered a minor cannabinoid. You can find it in hemp and marijuana plants, then extract it for consumption after isolation.
More people are warming up to THCV due to its potential health benefits. And it may offer those benefits because it interacts with CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. As a result, newbies and old heads in the cannabis world can gain something from THCV.
How is it Different From THC?
If you are new to the marijuana industry, it’s easy to confuse these compounds. These two compounds are similar in many ways, particularly in their structure. In fact, structure-wise, their only difference is that one has a pentyl group while the other has a propyl group. For those who aren’t very familiar with Chemistry, the difference may not mean much. But it means that THCV and THC interact with the CB1 receptor differently.
To be specific, THC activates the CB1 receptor while THCV blocks it. This is the main reason why THCV acts as an appetite suppressant. Also, since THC has a lower boiling point than THCV, you will need to subject THCV to higher temperatures to vaporize it.
Another huge difference between these compounds is the available research on their benefits. To date, we have more thorough THC studies compared to what’s available for THCV. So, while we know that these cannabinoids share some similar effects, we’re also just starting to learn their different potential health benefits.
Potential Health Benefits
Reports suggest that THCV may possess legitimate medical benefits. Together with other cannabinoids, it binds to receptors in major organs, the brain, and the immune system. Here are the main reported apparent benefits.
Reduces blood sugar levels
Various health issues like stroke, diabetes, and heart disease are associated with high sugar levels. Maintaining low and stable blood sugar levels is crucial to keeping your health in check. THCV may help manage glucose intolerance by maintaining blood sugar levels.
Bone growth stimulation
Thanks to THCV’s potential to stimulate new bone cell production, it may promote bone growth. Research indicates that THCV may do so by stimulating collagen production and bone nodule formation.
For this reason, many believe that THCV could manage degenerative diseases that affect the bones like osteoporosis. But more research is necessary.
The immune system responds to injury and helps fight infection by inducing inflammation. Yet chronic inflammation is painful and can lead to a number of debilitating conditions. Though THCV is not marketed as a remedy for inflammatory issues, researchers believe that it can function in that capacity.
THCV helps to suppress CB1 receptors. This is one of the main reasons for this cannabinoid’s effects in the medical industry. According to a publication made in the Journal of Cannabis Research, THCV helps to reduce appetite, thus increasing feelings of fullness and up-regulating energy metabolism. This study concluded that THCV for weight loss showed a lot of potential.
There is a strong belief that this cannabinoid can eliminate or reduce panic attacks. This makes it a possible solution for individuals suffering from PTSD and other anxiety disorders. Scientists have established that the compound helps reduce anxiety by suppressing our ‘panic’ mode during our natural response to threatening situations.
What is THCv: Side effects and safety
To date, there have only been a few clinical trials involving this compound. Thus far, scientists have not recorded huge negative effects on humans. However, some people report feeling unusually tired when taking this compound, which runs contrary to its purported energizing effects. One can argue that it’s probably because of dosage. But you should still exercise caution until you know how it affects you personally.
Due to its psychotropic effects, THCV can and will get you high. But, you will need to consume it in relatively high quantities before you experience its intoxicating effects.
Even though there are abundant CBD products in the Cannabis market, it’s harder to find products featuring the minor cannabinoids. So, if you feel convinced by the research and you want to add this compound to your regimen, you can look for THCV-rich cannabis strains. Try starting with African Sativa strains, especially the following ones that tend to be THCV-rich:
– Willie Nelson
– Pineapple Purps
– Red Congolese
– Jack the Ripper
– Durban Poison
– Power Plant
To say the least, the legality of THCV is a complex issue. From a technical perspective, as long as you buy THCV obtained from hemp then the cannabinoid is legal at the federal level as per the 2018 Hemp Farming Act. But, some states outrightly prohibit all types of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), so you need to make yourself familiar with your local laws.
Another area of concern comes from the Federal Analog Act, which “refers to a substance that is yet to be scheduled that has effects on humans and chemical structure that is close enough to a controlled substance that is treated as one by the law.” In the future, this may change the legal status of all THC-related compounds.
The bottom line
While THC and THCV have similar names. a quick look at research will tell you that the latter deserves unique recognition. On top of numerous potential medical benefits like managing inflammation, reducing blood sugar levels, and stimulating bone growth, THCV may also leave you feeling energized, uplifted, motivated or euphoric.
Now, we need more research on this compound before making conclusive claims about its medical viability. Still, going by the early signs, there is good reason to get excited. And that’s why we think that THCV is certainly a cannabinoid to watch out for moving forward.