null
logo
×
×

What is CBDV? Is It Better Than CBD?

Date 24th Nov 2021

What is CBDV? Is It Better Than CBD?

Cannabidivarian (CBDV) is a non-psychotropic homolog of one of the main cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD). On a molecular level, the structure of CBDV is so similar to CBD that they're sometimes difficult to differentiate on lab tests.

Both compounds have the same chemical formula with seven double bond isomers but differ in the three-dimensional arrangement of their atoms.

The biggest difference between CBD and CBDV is their concentrations in the cannabis plant. You can find trace amounts of CBDV in high-quality full spectrum and broad spectrum extracts that help to produce the entourage effect.

CBD is one of the most abundant compounds in cannabis, whereas CBDV exists in very small quantities. Since most research on the potential medical benefits centers around CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), there are not many high CBDV strains or CBDV-specific products widely available like many other minor cannabinoids that are quickly gaining popularity (CBN, CBG, and CBC)—but that doesn't mean that CBDV shouldn't deserve any attention.

One pharmaceutical company, in particular, GW Pharmaceuticals has funded a lot of research on CBDV. In these studies, researchers found that like CBD, CBDV has very similar potential therapeutic effects as an anticonvulsant, mood regulator, and anti-nausea, and has some neuroprotective properties.

We'll have a look at what the research means about the future of CBDV and how people are using it outside the realm of pharmaceuticals.

TL;DR:

  1. CBDV is a minor cannabinoid and a homolog of CBD—they have the same molecular formula with a slightly different arrangement of atoms [1]
  2. CBD and CBDV have very similar actions in the body helping to support mood, healthy cellular function, normal inflammation, and control nausea.
  3. GW Pharmaceuticals is best known for the anti-epileptic CBD drug, Epiliodex. The company has funded most of the research surrounding CBDV for its potential use as another pharmaceutical medication.
  4. CBDV shows significant potential in supporting symptoms related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is entering Phase III of clinical trials.

Cannabidivarin Research

Since most of the research on cannabinoids is focused on CBD and THC, evidence for CBDV's potential therapeutic uses is limited.

Epidiolex is currently the only cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It's a highly concentrated oral CBD preparation prescribed to treat severe forms of epilepsy.

The pharmaceutical company that created Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals, is also at the forefront in funding research on CBDV and its potential therapeutic uses for over a decade.

Currently, the FDA has not approved CBDV or any other minor cannabinoid as a treatment or cure for any condition. This is important to underscore as more CBD brands branch out into the realm of minor cannabinoids marketing language surrounding their benefits tends to get murky. The benefits of CBDV and other compounds tend to become over-exaggerated without much substantial research supporting it.

We want to highlight that the medical cannabinoid space is still fairly new, but the research seems promising. If you want to add CBDV or any other cannabinoid into your health regimen, you should seek advice from your doctor first especially if you have an underlying health condition or are on medication.

Let's have a look at some of the current studies of CBDV and its potential pharmaceutical potential.

1. CBDV And Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Currently, CBDV is undergoing research as a potential treatment for symptoms related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition, and there is no known cure for its core symptoms. It's commonly characterized by limited interests, difficulties in social interactions and communications, and repetitive thought patterns and behavior.

This condition is typically diagnosed in children around the age of 3. The medical community suggests that genetic factors may increase the risk of children developing autism spectrum disorder and certain medications taken by pregnant women may also increase the chances.

While research is still in its early stages, CBDV shows potential for supporting repetitive behavioral and communication problems. One study that found CBDV could reduce acute anxiety in participants by increasing GABA levels in the brain and stimulating the neurotransmitter glutamate [2].

CBD is found to have similar effects on the brain. However, prefrontal GABA systems responded differently in ASD than in 'neurotypical' participants, which lead researchers to further investigate CBDV's effects on ASD. The same CBDV research on autism spectrum disorder is currently entering Phase III clinical trials.

2. CBDV And Intractable Epilepsy

Intractable epilepsy or drug-resistant epileptic seizures is a condition where seizures aren't easily managed with medication. Before GW Pharmaceuticals released Epidoliex for seizures, the company funded preclinical trials looking at CBDV's potential as an anticonvulsant. The preliminary studies found that CBDV rivaled the effects of CBD as an anticonvulsant.

The anti-epileptic actions of CBD and CBDV are believed to be due to their desensitization of the TRPV1 receptor aka the vanilloid receptor. This receptor has been observed to be involved in the onset and progression of several types of epilepsy [1].

CBDV showed success in suppressing chemically-induced seizures [3]. However, the next phase of these clinical trials didn't prove much success. Since then, GM Pharmaceuticals is focusing on CBDV's potential towards ASD rather than as a treatment for seizures.

3. CBDV And Nausea Symptoms

While it's mostly inconvenient and uncomfortable, nausea is one of our body's highly evolved defense mechanisms to help us get rid of potentially dangerous ingested substances.

This system often gets hijacked from other lifestyle factors such as stress or side-effects from common medications, which can, in severe cases, affect our normal day-to-day functioning.

This study looked at CBDV and THCV (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabivarin)'s effects at inducing nausea and found that it had the opposite effect in rats [4].

4. CBDV And Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic condition that's characterized by progressive muscle degeneration from a deficiency of the dystrophin protein, which protects the integrity of muscle cells, resulting in inflammation and irreversible skeletal muscle degeneration.

There is no known cure for this condition, but steroidal medicine and physical therapy help to control symptoms.

The National Research Council in Italy investigated non-euphoric compounds from cannabis plants, specifically CBD, CBDV, and THCV to reduce inflammation and support muscle function.

In this study, researchers found that both CBD and CBDV promoted myotube formation (muscle fiber) and reduced inflammation [5].

5. CBDV and Rett Syndrome (RTT)

Rett Syndrome (RTT) is a rare neurological disorder that is diagnosed almost exclusively in girls. It's caused by a rare gene mutation (MECP2 gene) that leads to severe impairments from loss of muscle coordination and speech.

RTT is classified as an autism spectrum disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) as many similar autistic symptoms are present in people with Rett syndrome [6].

There is no cure for Rett syndrome, so current treatments are focused on reducing symptoms of anxiety and social deficits to improve the quality of life of those living with RTT.

In preclinical trials, researchers observed that CBDV administered in mice restored sociability and partial restoration of motor coordination [7].

Is CBDV (Cannabidivarin) Legal?

CBDV is legal in the United States under the 2018 Farm Bill, which stipulates that hemp plants and their derivatives that contain no more than 0.3% THC by dried weight are legal for production and sale.

When shopping for high-CBDV cannabis strains or CBDV-specific products, always reference an independent lab test to ensure that's it comes from a legal hemp source and that it's free from potential contaminants.

Since CBDV is non-psychotropic and considered safe and non-toxic, we don't expect to see this compound banned anytime soon.

Is CBDV Safe? What Are The Side-Effects?

CBDV is non-intoxicating and is considered safe and well-tolerated. To determine the safety of compounds, scientists use a measurement called the LD50. This is found by giving doses of the compound to find how much will kill 50% of the subjects. There is no LD50 available for cannabidivarin.

For a comparison to its most similar compound, CBD, one study found that the LD50 is 212 mg/kg CBD in rhesus monkeys through intravenous administration over 9 days[8]. To get an idea of how absurd this amount of CBD this is, it would take approximately 14,416MG of CBD to reach an extremely dangerous dose for someone who weighs 150 lbs.

This isn't to say that CBD and CBDV don't have negative side effects, but they are found to be mild and short-term. Some of the side-effects of CBDV include:

  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches

The chances of these adverse effects could be mitigated by using high-quality CBDV products and the appropriate dosing.

How Is CBDV Extracted?

As a minor cannabinoid, CBDV isn't found in high quantities in most cannabis strains. Interestingly, many native African hemp and marijuana plants contain higher levels of this cannabinoid. Through genetic plant engineering, breeders are able to grow cannabis plants with higher concentrations of CBDV.

Some of the newer strains of high CBDV cannabis plants include:

  • Medical Mass
  • Euphoria
  • Royal Medic

To create CBDV-rich extracts, manufacturers will harvest these CBDV hemp strains and use common hemp extraction methods like CO2 extraction or ethynol to separate a sticky resin that's rich in the plant's natural cannabinoids and terpenes. Some manufacturers will take this a step further and isolate certain cannabinoids for pure compounds.

The general consensus is that full spectrum extracts that closely resemble the plant's natural phytochemical profile provide more potent and well-balanced effects over isolated cannabinoids.

The Takeaway: Potential Benefits Of CBDV And Looking Towards The Future

While research on the potential therapeutic applications of CBDV looks promising, more research is needed in this space.

You can find CBDV strains of cannabis and CBDV specific products on the market online and in select headshops, but none of these products are FDA-approved to support any health condition. Like CBD, CBDV is considered very safe and well-tolerated, so many people have found that CBDV has improved their quality of life in supporting their wellness goals.

The important thing to remember is that many of the CBDV products out there tend to have over-exaggerated health claims without solid research supporting its effects. Read between the lines and understand that this cannabinoid may have a lot of benefits, but it's not a cure-all compound. You should make lifestyle changes and speak with your doctor before turning to high doses of any cannabinoid.

If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of cannabinoids and industry-related news your can find more articles like this on our blog or you can get news directly to your inbox along with exclusive promotions on Neurogan hemp products by subscribing to our Insider Scoop.

Resources:

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information (2021). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 11601669, Cannabidivarin.
  2. Pretzsch, C. M., Voinescu, B., Lythgoe, D., Horder, J., Mendez, M. A., Wichers, R., ... & McAlonan, G. M. (2019). Effects of cannabidivarin (CBDV) on brain excitation and inhibition systems in adults with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): a single dose trial during magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Translational psychiatry, 9(1), 1-10.
  3. Hill AJ, Mercier MS, Hill TD, Glyn SE, Jones NA, Yamasaki Y, Futamura T, Duncan M, Stott CG, Stephens GJ, Williams CM, Whalley BJ. Cannabidivarin is anticonvulsant in mouse and rat. Br J Pharmacol. 2012 Dec;167(8):1629-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.02207.x. PMID: 22970845; PMCID: PMC3525866.
  4. Rock, E. M., Sticht, M. A., Duncan, M., Stott, C., & Parker, L. A. (2013). Evaluation of the potential of the phytocannabinoids, cannabidivarin (CBDV) and Δ(9) -tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), to produce CB1 receptor inverse agonism symptoms of nausea in rats. British journal of pharmacology, 170(3), 671–678. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.12322
  5. Iannotti, F. A., Pagano, E., Moriello, A. S., Alvino, F. G., Sorrentino, N. C., D'Orsi, L., Gazzerro, E., Capasso, R., De Leonibus, E., De Petrocellis, L., & Di Marzo, V. (2019). Effects of non-euphoric plant cannabinoids on muscle quality and performance of dystrophic mdx mice. British journal of pharmacology, 176(10), 1568–1584. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.14460
  6. Neul J. L. (2012). The relationship of Rett syndrome and MECP2 disorders to autism. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 14(3), 253–262. https://doi.org/10.31887/DCNS.2012.14.3/jneul
  7. Vigli, D., Cosentino, L., Raggi, C., Laviola, G., Woolley-Roberts, M., & De Filippis, B. (2018). Chronic treatment with the phytocannabinoid Cannabidivarin (CBDV) rescues behavioural alterations and brain atrophy in a mouse model of Rett syndrome. Neuropharmacology, 140, 121–129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.07.029
  8. Huestis, M. A., Solimini, R., Pichini, S., Pacifici, R., Carlier, J., & Busardò, F. P. (2019). Cannabidiol adverse effects and toxicity. Current neuropharmacology, 17(10), 974-989.
Katrina Lubiano
Katrina Lubiano

Katrina Lubiano is a content writer in the health and wellness space based in Vancouver, Canada — Canada's epicenter for cannabis culture. When she's not working, she enjoys sailing, watercolor painting, and cooking.