Acknowledging that COVID-19, among other diseases, will continue to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future has made people more concerned about their health. A recent consumer report projects that consumers will continue using dietary and nutritional supplements to keep healthy in 2022 and beyond.
Even though drawing a bead on how consumer preferences are changing is not easy, the reports point to unprecedented shifts in consumer trends. It's unlikely that consumers will drop the health behaviors adopted during the height of the pandemic.
Instead, the desire to age healthily, sleep well, stay fit, and have good digestive and mental health is ubiquitous among many.
In the world of natural supplemtents, CBD is the go-to for many. However, new research has shined light over other cannabinoids which have their own set of potential health benefits, one of them is THCV.
Keep reading to find out what THCV is all about and how it compares to the popular CBD.
What is THCV?
THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a minor cannabinoid derived from cannabis with unique properties.
One of its strongest selling points is that it produces almost no psychoactive effects, at least at small doses. Animal studies have demonstrated that THCV may increase satiety, reduce appetite, and increase energy levels. It may also relieve stress and reduce or prevent panic and anxiety attacks.
Other studies have highlighted its neuroprotective properties.
These diverse properties and minimal side effects make THCV a potential candidate for developing clinically valuable therapies and an alternative platform for treating life-threatening diseases.
THCV is steadily gaining popularity due to its wide-ranging health benefits. Like other cannabinoids, it interacts with cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 to actualize these benefits. Depending on their location, the receptors enhance the ensuing cascade of effects throughout the body.
What is THCV oil
As a minor cannabinoid, THCV exists in minute quantities – a problem compounded by the fact that plants with viable quantities of the compound are hard to grow and generally low-yielding. With such a weak supply chain, THCV is rare and quite expensive.
However, it is still possible to isolate THCV from hemp and infuse it into different products like edibles and beverages. This is possible if the THCV extract is first blended with a carrier element like MCT oil, coconut oil, or hemp oil.
What are THCV edibles
A cannabis edible is a food product (commercially produced or homemade) in which decarboxylated cannabinoids have been infused and are the active ingredients.
Even though in cannabis language, we say "cannabis edible" to refer to drinks or food, it's more convenient to refer to cannabis-infused drinks as "drinkables" or "liquid edibles."
In the same way, we have CBD edibles, so do we have THCV edibles. The fundamental difference is the major active compound in the edible. So with THCV edibles, the active ingredient is THCV.
Unlike inhalation, where cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream for faster peaking times, cannabis edibles often take longer to digest, with their effects kicking in 2–3 hours after consumption and lasting even longer (6–20 hours).
THCV edibles are an alternative way to enjoy the wide-ranging benefits of this wonder supplement.
What is THCV good for?
Manufacturers of THCV products claim it is euphoric, refreshing, motivating, and uplifting. However, opinions are divided; some users appreciate THCV, while others think it isn't worth the hype.
Regardless of which side of the divide you're on, THCV is believed to have the following health benefits:
Though typically considered non-psychoactive, some studies suggest that THCV may be intoxicating in higher doses. Be that as it may, its "high" is not anything like that induced by THC. Instead, many users describe the "high" as "uplifting and clear-headed."
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology showed that THCV reduced heart rate caused by THC. The same study indicated that participants given lower doses of THCV reported weaker intoxication, suggesting that THCV may prevent CB1 receptor activation.
There is some evidence that THCV may be an effective anticonvulsant. Research shows that this cannabinoid may reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. This is irrespective of whether it was used before or after the onset of convulsions.
THCV may also have neuroprotective health benefits. According to research, it may inhibit the progression of neurodegenerative diseases and brain disorder while enhancing motor function due to its ability to block CB1 receptor activity while activating CB2 receptors.
Note, however, that this only happens at lower THCV doses. As a result, researchers think that, coupled with its antioxidant effects, THCV may help minimize the symptoms of cognitive disorders.
THCV is best known as a potential appetite suppressant and a potential supplement for people seeking to lose weight.
This is because, at low doses, THCV regulates ghrelin—a hunger hormone—by blocking CB1 receptor activity, thus reducing food cravings and the rewarding feeling associated with eating.
Little wonder it also goes by the name "diet weed."
Although it is rarely promoted as an inflammatory, this rare cannabinoid has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, including reducing pain caused by inflammation. However, it is worth mentioning that these findings were from mice, not human studies.
More recently, THCV appeared in a study highlighting the anti-inflammatory effects of a cannabinoid formulation used in managing COVID-19-related lung inflammation.
The study, published in the Nature Journal of Scientific Reports, showed that CBD-rich fractions of cannabigerol (CBG) and low doses of THCV might be clinically valuable in reducing COVID-19-induced inflammation of lung epithelial cells.
The researchers noted, however, that the cannabinoid fraction was linked to pro-inflammatory activity in white blood cells (macrophages) and could potentially exacerbate "cytokine storms" observed in people with severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Chemical structure of CBD vs. THCV
CBD and THCV are cannabinoids originating from the same plant. However, they possess different chemical properties, aptly signified by their effects.
The chemical structure of THCV comprises 19 carbon atoms, 26 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms, hence the molecular formula C19H26O2. In comparison, CBD has 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms, i.e., C21H30O2.
THCV is structurally more similar to THC than CBD, except that instead of a pentyl side chain (–C5), it has propyl (–C3).
The different effects these two cannabinoids have on users are attributed to their differences structure-wise. Even though both compounds display double-helix structures attached by a single carbon-carbon bond, CBD has a longer side chain (pentyl) than THCV (ethyl).
CBD also has more double bonds (5) than THCV (4). Obviously, these differences have a profound effect on their properties.
Although CBD and THCV naturally exist in cannabis, their formation pathways differ. The well-studied CBD and THC are obtained from the decomposition of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which is synthesized in the reaction between geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid.
On the other hand, the precursor for THCV is cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA). This acid forms when divarinolic acid reacts with geranyl pyrophosphate.
The effects of CBD vs. THCV
Despite sharing a similar chemical make-up, THCV and CBD have vastly distinct physiological effects. THCV does not have the same reported euphoric effects as CBD. While CBD could calm you, it doesn't give you the usual "high" that THCV does in high doses.
Western medical professionals are researching the advantages of CBD and whether it is a viable treatment option for medical conditions.
Potential benefits of CBD vs. THCV
Pain-relief: the signal the brain receives might be the key to effectively controlling pain. Research shows that CBD may help many individuals with the symptoms of conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, muscular discomfort, and spinal injuries.
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Anti-seizure: CBD has been in the news as a potential anti-epilepsy therapy for a while now. So profound has been the impact of CBD in epilepsy trials that the Epilepsy Society called it "the glimmer of hope" for patients with epileptic seizures.
In several studies, seizure frequency and severity have significantly decreased for patients with seizure disorders. Consequently, in 2018, the FDA approved the use of Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug derived from hemp, to treat epilepsy.
Anxiety relief: CBD's anxiolytic properties are the subject of many research studies. Due to its influence on serotonin activity in the brain, scholars think CBD may help with anxiety-related symptoms.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked with several physiological processes like mood regulation, appetite, sleep, and digestion. As a result of CBD's effect on SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), studies suggest it may potentially help calm your mind.
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Neuroprotective: People with neurodegenerative illnesses experience nerve and brain tissue impairment. As a result, scientists are researching the effects of CBD oil on patients with brain disorders, and multiple sclerosis.
On a brighter note, CBD is believed to be capable of reducing the high levels of inflammation that worsen these conditions.
Appetite suppressant: THCV is well-known for its ability to suppress appetite, which has led to many people integrating it into their weight loss journeys. It is, however, not ideal for people with poor appetites or anorexia.
Reduces panic attacks: In people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), THCV may help lessen the frequency of attacks. The benefit of THCV in this situation is that it functions without stifling the person's emotions.
Is THCV legal?
Cannabis laws are in a constant state of flux in the United States.
Over the years, supplements like hemp-derived CBD have been removed from the list of controlled substances but are still Schedule I drugs.
That said, the speed at which pro-marijuana legislation is being passed suggests it should not be long before cannabis is fully legal in the country.
THCV has grey areas because, unlike CBD, it is not included in the list of scheduled drugs.
So, long story short, THCV is federally legal in all 50 states as long as it's hemp-based and does not contain THC content higher than 0.3%. However, at the state level, things are slightly different, with some states prohibiting it.
Watch this video to learn more about THCV and its properties: