THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) is an important phytocannabinoid found naturally in cannabis plants. Like its well-known counterpart, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), THCV interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the human body, producing various physiological and psychological effects. However, THCV's effects and mechanisms of action differ significantly from THC, making it a subject of growing interest among researchers and cannabis enthusiasts alike. Keep reading to learn more about this fascinating compound, including what it is, how it works, its incredible benefits, its history, and more!
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The Definition: THCV is a lesser-known cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It shares a similar molecular structure with THC but is known for its appetite-curbing and energy-boosting properties.
The Process: THCV is typically extracted through a chromatography process involving superfluid liquid solvents such as ethanol or CO2 to separate the compounds from the cannabis plant.
How To Take: While more research is needed to determine the appropriate dose of THCV, several human and animal studies have suggested that doses of up to 10 mg per day may be effective in harnessing its potential benefits (just keep in mind the potential psychoactive effects).1 2 However, as with any supplement or compound, it's important to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it while monitoring your body's response.
History: Discovered in the 1970s, THCV use and knowledge expanded in the 1980s thanks to the discovery of human cannabinoid receptors, which led to a deeper understanding of how THCV interacts with the body. Subsequent research in the following decades delved into THCV's unique effects and potential medical applications.
The Breakdown: What Is THCV?
THCV is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. It belongs to the cannabinoid class of compounds, which also includes well-known cannabinoids like THC and CBD. THCV has gained attention due to its unique properties and potential therapeutic effects. While structurally similar to THC, THCV produces distinct effects upon interaction with the endocannabinoid system in the human body.
Why Is THCV Important?
THCV's importance lies in its potential health benefits. Research suggests that THCV may offer a range of positive effects on the body, making it a compelling subject for wellness enthusiasts.
How Does THCV Work?
THCV interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, influencing various physiological processes. However, it behaves differently from other cannabinoids, leading to distinct effects on the body. The way THCV engages with the endocannabinoid system contributes to its unique properties.
What Are The Benefits And Uses Of THCV?
While more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and uses of THCV, several studies have suggested that THCV may help in:
Research has shown that THCV may suppress appetite when consumed in low doses by blocking the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system.3 This receptor is responsible for regulating food intake and metabolism. By inhibiting the CB1 receptor's activity, THCV could potentially reduce feelings of hunger and cravings, making it a promising candidate for weight management and obesity-related interventions.
In rodent studies, THCV has shown potential as an energy-boosting compound. It has been observed to up-regulate energy metabolism by influencing certain receptors and pathways in the brain and peripheral tissues.4 This suggests that THCV may increase the body's energy expenditure and promote heightened alertness. These findings open the door to further exploration of THCV as a potential supplement for enhancing physical and mental energy levels. However, it's important to note that more human studies are required to confirm these effects and to determine the optimal dosages for achieving such benefits.
Research has shown that THCV may have positive effects on bone health. It has been reported to stimulate bone nodule formation, collagen production, and alkaline phosphatase activity in cultures of bone marrow stromal cells.5 These cellular responses suggest that THCV may play a role in promoting bone growth and remodeling.
THCV is a polyphenol. Therefore, it possesses antioxidant properties that could potentially contribute to neuroprotection.6 Oxidative stress is often implicated in the development and progression of neurodegenerative issues. By reducing oxidative damage, THCV may help protect nerve cells and support overall brain health.
What Is The History Of THCV?
The history of THCV dates back to its discovery in the early 1970s.7 Initially, researchers identified THCV as one of the many cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. However, it wasn't until later (in the 1980s) that its unique properties and potential therapeutic effects began to gain attention. Over the years, scientists have conducted various studies to understand THCV's interactions with the endocannabinoid system and its impact on the body.
What Is The Current Environment Of THCV?
In the current dynamic wellness landscape, THCV is becoming a topic of significance. Here's a glimpse of its current environment:
- Scientific Interest: Researchers are actively investigating THCV's effects and potential applications, adding to the growing body of knowledge.
- Wellness Products: Manufacturers are incorporating THCV into various wellness products, including supplements, edibles, and topicals.
- Consumer Awareness: Consumers are becoming more curious about cannabinoids beyond THC and CBD, seeking alternatives that align with their wellness goals.
What Will The Future Of THCV Be Like?
As research methodologies evolve, we can anticipate more comprehensive studies investigating THCV's specific mechanisms of action and its potential benefits for various health conditions. This could then lead to the development of targeted medications or treatments harnessing THCV's properties.
Additionally, as the legal and regulatory landscapes surrounding cannabis change, there might be increased opportunities for exploring THCV's therapeutic possibilities without the constraints that existed in the past.
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FOCL FAQs: THCV
Are there any downsides to THCV?
While THCV shows promise in various therapeutic areas, it's important to acknowledge that there may be potential downsides associated with its use:
- Limited research has been conducted on THCV compared to other cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This means its long-term effects, medication interactions, and potential risks are not yet fully understood.
- Though milder than THC, THCV is still psychoactive, which may not be suitable for everyone.
What are the alternatives to THCV?
If THCV doesn't seem like the right fit for you, don't worry! There are several alternative cannabinoids and compounds that you can consider for your wellness needs. CBD (cannabidiol), CBG (cannabigerol), and herbal supplements like Ashwagandha and Asian Ginseng are some of the alternatives you might explore. These compounds have been studied to varying degrees and are known for their potential therapeutic benefits.
What is the chemical structure and composition of THCV?
THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) has a unique chemical structure that sets it apart from other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Here's a breakdown of its molecular composition:
- Chemical Structure: THCV belongs to the class of compounds known as cannabinoids. Its molecular formula is C19H26O2.
- Composition: THCV is derived from cannabigerovarin acid (CBGVA) through specific enzymatic processes within the cannabis plant. The compound undergoes decarboxylation when exposed to heat, converting its acidic form (THCVA) into the active form of THCV.
What is the difference between THCV and THC?
THCV and THC are both cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but they have distinct properties and effects. While THC is known for its psychoactive effects that produce a "high," THCV interacts differently with the endocannabinoid system. THCV is often referred to as a "neutral antagonist" because it can partially block the activation of CB1 receptors, which are responsible for the intoxicating effects of THC.8 As a result, THCV is believed to have a more subtle psychoactive profile compared to THC.
What are the strains high in THCV?
If you're looking to explore the benefits of THCV, you'll want to focus on cannabis strains known for their elevated THCV content (even if some strains don’t offer an exact percentage). Here are some popular strains to consider:
- Durban Poison: A pure South African Sativa landrace known for its sweet, piney smell. It boasts a THC content of between 15% and 25% and a THCV content of around 1%.
- Doug's Varin: A rare Sativa strain known for its high THCV content (15–24%). It's sought after for its potential appetite-suppressing properties.
- Jack The Ripper: Jack The Ripper (JTR) is a Sativa-dominant hybrid known for its uplifting high and big, beautiful buds.
- Malawi Gold: An extremely rare landrace strain that has grown naturally in Malawi for generations. It's internationally renowned as one of the most potent psychoactive pure African Sativas.
- Pineapple Purps: A sweet, earthy, and citrusy-smelling Sativa-dominant hybrid that is celebrated for its notable THCV concentration.
What are THCV's neurological effects, appetite suppressant, and metabolic impacts?
Research on THCV's neurological effects is still ongoing, but preliminary studies suggest that it may have potential therapeutic benefits such as combating cognitive decline.9 As an appetite suppressant, THCV has also shown promise in reducing food intake and aiding weight management.
What is the legal status and regulation for THCV?
As with many cannabinoids, the legal status of THCV varies within different states or regions. Here are some general points to consider. THCV is not a scheduled controlled substance. Hemp-derived THCV products with 0.3% THC or less are federally legal across the US. However, these laws may change in the future, so it’s important to stay on top of laws regarding hemp derivatives in your area.
How do I consume THCV?
THCV products are available in various forms, including tinctures, gummies, and capsules. Choose a form that suits your preferences and follow the recommended dosage instructions provided by the manufacturer for safe and effective consumption. Always start with a low dose and gradually increase as needed while monitoring any potential adverse effects.
Is THCV safe to use?
While there's limited research on the safety of THCV, no major side effects have been reported in the few human studies that exist. However, as with any new substance, it's recommended to start with a low dose, monitor your body's reaction, and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about its safety, especially if you're taking other medications or have underlying health conditions.
Can THCV be used with other cannabinoids?
Yes! THCV can be used alongside other cannabinoids like CBD. This combination may result in what's known as the "entourage effect," where the various compounds in the cannabis plant work synergistically to enhance their individual therapeutic effects.
How long does THCV's effects last?
The duration of THCV's effects can vary based on factors such as the consumption method, dosage, and individual metabolism. Generally, the effects of THCV can be felt within a few minutes to an hour after consumption and may last anywhere from one to six hours.
Where can I buy THCV products?
THCV products are becoming more widely available, both online and in wellness stores. Ensure you purchase from reputable brands.
Is THCP or THCV better?
THCP is relatively new to the world of cannabis, and not much is known about its effects compared to THCV. On the other hand, THCV has been studied to some extent and shows potential therapeutic benefits. It's important to stay updated on research developments and consult with experts before making a decision between THCP and THCV for your specific needs.
At what temperature is THCV activated?
Like many cannabinoids, THCV is typically activated at temperatures around 230 - 250° Fahrenheit. This temperature range allows for the release of THCV's active compounds without causing excessive combustion or degradation of the product.
Is THCV stronger than Delta-8 THC?
THCV and Delta-8 THC have distinct effects and potencies. THCV is not necessarily stronger than Delta-8 THC; their effects vary. THCV is known for its unique properties, like appetite suppression, while Delta-8 THC is a milder form of THC with its own set of effects. The choice between them depends on your desired experience and personal preferences.
- Tudge, L., Williams, C., Cowen, P. J., & McCabe, C. (2014, December 25). Neural effects of cannabinoid CB1 neutral antagonist tetrahydrocannabivarin on food reward and aversion in healthy volunteers. The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4438540/
- Jadoon, K. A., Ratcliffe, S. H., Barrett, D. A., Thomas, E. L., Stott, C., Bell, J. D., O'Sullivan, S. E., & Tan, G. D. (2016, October). Efficacy and safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on glycemic and lipid parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study. Diabetes care. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27573936
- Walsh, K. B., & Holmes, A. E. (2022, August 2). Pharmacology of minor cannabinoids at the cannabinoid CB1 receptor: Isomer- and ligand-dependent antagonism by Tetrahydrocannabivarin. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/2813-2564/1/1/2
- Kowalczuk, A., Marycz, K., Kornicka, J., Groborz, S., Meissner, J., & Mularczyk, M. (2023, April 12). Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) protects adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASC) against endoplasmic reticulum stress development and reduces inflammation during adipogenesis. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/24/8/7120
- Idris, A. I., & Ralston, S. H. (2012, November 16). Role of cannabinoids in the regulation of bone remodeling. Frontiers in endocrinology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499879/#:~:text=Several%20phytocannabinoids%20including%20cannabidiol%2C%20cannabinol,Scutt%20and%20Williamson%2C%202007).
- Prakash, S., & Carter, W. G. (2021, November 28). The neuroprotective effects of cannabis-derived phytocannabinoids and resveratrol in parkinson's disease: A systematic literature review of pre-clinical studies. Brain sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8699487/
- Thomas, A., Stevenson, L. A., Wease, K. N., Price, M. R., Baillie, G., Ross, R. A., & Pertwee, R. G. (2005, December). Evidence that the plant cannabinoid delta9-tetrahydrocannabivarin is a cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonist. British journal of pharmacology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1751228/
- Rzepa, E., Tudge, L., & McCabe, C. (2015, September 10). The CB1 neutral antagonist Tetrahydrocannabivarin reduces default mode network and increases executive control network resting state functional connectivity in healthy volunteers. The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772823/
- García C;Palomo-Garo C;García-Arencibia M;Ramos J;Pertwee R;Fernández-Ruiz J; (n.d.). Symptom-relieving and neuroprotective effects of the phytocannabinoid Δ9-THCV in animal models of parkinson's disease. British journal of pharmacology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21323909/