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What Is THCV?

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Just a few years ago, cannabis seemed like a pretty simple plant. But as we've learned more about its potential health benefits, it's become clear that there's a lot more to this plant than meets the eye.

With the help of science, we've been able to uncover a whole host of cannabinoids. And each one seems to have its own list of potential health benefits.

Take THCv, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, for example. THCv is one of the lesser-known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant known to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. It's also thought to be helpful in managing weight and insulin sensitivity.

So what does all this mean for the average cannabis consumer? Well, it means that there are now more options than ever when it comes to choosing a strain or product. And with more research, we'll only continue to uncover the potential health benefits of cannabinoids like THCv.

This cannabinoid is unique in that it shares some similarities with delta-9 THC (the main psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana) but also has its own distinct properties.

In this post, we'll take a closer look at THCv and explore what makes it unique. We'll also discuss how this cannabinoid might be beneficial for certain wellness goals. So, if you're curious about THCv, read on!

Key Takeaways

  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv) is a rare cannabinoid found in certain strains of cannabis plants.
  • THCv is found to have mild psychoactive properties in large doses—but its much weaker than THC.
  • Unlike THC, THCv an appetite suppressant and may combat some of the psychoactive effect of THC including the nervous and anxious side effects.
  • The research on THCv is limited to animal and tissue culture, so there are no products that can diffinitevely offer wellness benefits, but the early research is promising.
  • Many people are turning to THCv for it's relaxing effects and find it to be a useful tool for entering a focused flow state to improve productivity.

What Is THCv?

The cannabis plant is home to over a hundred active compounds that can interact with mammals' endocannabinoid systems called cannabinoids.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv) is one of the latest minor cannabinoids found in some hemp and marijuana strains that has been gaining a lot of attention.

THCv and THC—the primary cannabinoid responsible for marijuana's psychoactive effects—share a very similar molecular structure.

THCv is a homolog of THC. A homolog is a molecule that has a similar structure or function to another molecule. Both molecules have a nearly identical chemical structure and bind to the same receptors in the brain to produce their effects. The difference between the two molecules is that THCv is missing two carbon atoms on the alkyl chain.

Despite the very sticking similarities, THCv has some key differences that are worth further investigation into THCv and its potential therapeutic benefits. Homologs are important molecules in the study of how different compounds work in the body.

Researchers speculate that one of the advantages of THCv is it is less likely to produce psychoactive effects—but we'll touch more on this later.

By understanding the similarities and differences between molecules, researchers can develop new and more effective treatments for various conditions.

How Does THCv Work?

seedling, cannabis, marijuana

Cannabinoids produce a variety of effects in the human body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system receptors.

The two primary endocannabinoid receptors are cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2). CB1 receptors are concentrated in the central nervous system and interact with neurotransmitters in the brain to produce mind-altering effects, while CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system and are believed to support immune function.

For example, it is the interaction between THC and CB1 sites as an agonist that produces psychoactive effects. THCv is a complicated cannabinoid because while it has an affinity to CB1, it is an antagonist, giving it the opposite effects of THC in the brain [1].

Instead of causing intoxication, THCV actually works to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. Since research looking into the pharmacological effects of THCv is still fairly new, more studies are needed to fully understand how this cannabinoid works.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin Effects

What does THCv do exactly?

As anyone who's ever indulged in a little cannabis knows, THC can have some pretty potent effects, especially when it comes to an increased appetite, reduced cognitive function, and body relaxation in higher doses.

But what about its close relative, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCa)?

Well, it turns out that THCa produces a quite different effect than THC.

For one thing, THCa tends to produce a sprint of mental energy—unlike THC, which tends to provide a sense of mental fog.

Another noticeable effect—or rather, lack of—is that THCa isn't felt in the body, like a body high with delta-8 or THC. It's almost exclusively felt mentally, making it ideal for those focused on creative work, study, or exercise.

Many people describe THCv as an aid for entering the flow-state on a given task.

When we're in a flow state, we're completely focused and engaged in what we're doing, to the point where everything else fades away. Time seems to slow down, and we might even lose track of our surroundings. In short, it's the ultimate state of concentration. And while it might sound like a scary prospect to some, flow state is actually a positive experience. When we're in a flow state, we're living in the moment and tapping into our fullest potential. We're also more likely to experience joy, creativity, and a sense of euphoria.

Flow state has been described as "being in the zone," and it is often associated with peak performance.

When taking THCv, you're still "sober," in that there is no grogginess or forgetfulness associated with traditional marijuana use.

Other people report that taking THCv with THC can combat the sometimes intense intoxicating effects of THC for a mellower high.

So if you're looking for a mellow high that won't mess with your head, THCa just might be your new best friend.

What Does The Early Research On THCv Say?

If you're curious to learn about what the early research on THCv says, we've collected some public research on the topic.

So far, it looks like THCv may be a promising treatment for certain medical conditions—However, most of these studies are conducted in mouse models and cultured tissue.

This means THCv's potential benefits may not translate to humans, but the research thus far is promising.

THCv May Reduce Appetite

Unlike THC, which is known to induce the notorious "munchies," THCv has the opposite effect based on animal research.

The theory as to why this happens is because THCv is an appetite antagonist—it blocks the CB1 receptor in the brain that is associated with food reward and hunger [2].

In adult rats, low doses of pure THCv induced hypophagia, which is an anxiety symptom in rodents that leads to a reduced appetite and weight loss [2].

Study Shows THCv Ameliorates Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and the body's sensitivity to insulin affects how efficiently it is able to process glucose. People who are insulin sensitive have a lower risk of developing diabetes because their bodies are better able to keep blood sugar levels under control.

However, people who are insulin resistant or have poor insulin sensitivity are more likely to develop diabetes, because their bodies cannot effectively process glucose.

In addition, insulin resistance is often associated with weight gain, because the body tries to store more glucose as fat (glycemic and lipid parameters). Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight and managing diabetes can be difficult for people who are insulin resistant.

A study published in 2020 found that THCv influenced glucose metabolism and lead to higher performance of glycemic control in type 2 diabetes in rodent studies, highlighting its potential to treat glucose intolerance [3, 4].

Human studies on the effects of THCv are lacking, but these promising studies on murine models may lead to advancements in the future of diabetes care.

THCv My Have Antipsychotic Effects

Antipsychotic drugs are a class of psychiatric medications that are used to treat psychosis—a mental condition that causes an individual to lose touch with reality.

Symptoms of psychosis include hallucinations, delusions, panic attacks, and thought disorders. Antipsychotics work by reducing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin. This action helps to stabilize mood and improve symptoms.

Most antipsychotic drugs focus on interactions on 5-HT1 A serotonin receptors which are an antagonist that will decrease the proteins in the body which will result in less communication between different areas of the brain.

An in vitro study found that THCv enhanced some 5-HT₁A receptor activation, which has the potential for mitigating some of the symptoms of psychosis [5].

THCv May Have Anti-Inflammatory Effects

A new study has found that Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) inhibits nitrite production in murine peritoneal macrophages. Nitrite is a molecule that is produced by inflammatory cells.

The researchers also found that THCV reduced the number of inflammatory cells in the mice. These results suggest that THCV may have anti-inflammatory properties and may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of certain inflammatory diseases [6].

How Can I Use THCv Products?

As research emerges on the potential wellness benefits of THCv, more and more THCv products are becoming available. You can find THCv tincture oils and vape products, as well as some high THCv cannabis flower.

However, it is important to note that marijuana-derived THCv is not legal everywhere.

If you live in a state where recreational marijuana is not yet legal, your only option is to shop for THCv derived from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.

You could use THCv products the same way you would any other cannabis products.

For example, you could add a few drops of THCv oil to your morning coffee or use a THCv vape pen to get a quick dose of cannabinoids.

However you choose to use them, THCv products can be a great addition to your wellness routine.

How Strong Is THCv? How To Dose

THCv is a lesser-known cannabinoid that's beginning to garner attention for its therapeutic potential. Unlike THC, which is known for its psychoactive effects, THCv actually has the opposite effect and is known as an "antipsychotic." That said, it's still unclear how strong THCv is compared to other cannabinoids.

In terms of dosage, there isn't a ton of research to go off of yet. However, one study found that a dose of 2.5 mg was effective in reducing paranoia and anxiety [5].

So, if you're looking to try THCv, start with a low dose and see how you respond. You can always take more if needed, but it's best to err on the side of caution.

THCv Side-Effects

Unlike THC and CBD, there isn't much research on THCv yet. So far, it's generally considered to be non-toxic and well-tolerated, even in high doses. Like THC, it has some psychoactive effects when taken in high doses, but it's not as potent.

However, some people do report feeling dizzy, anxious, or nauseous after taking too much THCv.

Luckily, these effects are usually temporary. If you're thinking of trying THCv, it's always a good idea to start with a low dose and increase gradually until you find the amount that works best for you.

Is THCv Worth Trying?

THCv has been shown to have psychoactive effects. However, these effects are milder than those of THC, and they generally last for a shorter period of time.

Some users have reported that THCv helps to improve focus and concentration, as well as reduce anxiety. Some studies have also shown that THCv can help to suppress appetite, making it a potentially valuable tool for weight management. In addition, THCv is non-intoxicating, meaning that it won't produce the same cognitive impairment that's often associated with THC.

As a result, it may be a safer option for those who want to experience the benefits of cannabis without the risks of intoxication. Whether or not THCv is worth trying will ultimately depend on your individual goals and needs. However, if you're looking for a cannabinoid that offers a more balanced experience, THCv may be worth considering.

The Takeaway: What Is THCv?

Despite the ever-growing popularity of cannabis, there are still many people who view it as a dangerous drug. However, an increasing body of research is beginning to shed light on the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis products.

In early animal studies, THCv has been shown to decrease appetite and promote weight loss, making it a potential treatment for obesity. Additionally, THCv has also been shown to improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Finally, THCv has also been shown to improve cognitive function and memory. Therefore, it is clear that THCv offers a wide range of potential health benefits. However, due to the lack of research on this cannabinoid, it is difficult to say definitively whether or not it is safe or effective.

If you have tried something simple like CBD and enjoyed it, and find yourself wanting to broaden your cannabinoid horizons, I’d suggest CBG or CBN items.

THCV is a great cannabinoid if you’re looking for something different, but it also comes with a few caveats. First off, it’s only found in very small quantities in most strains of cannabis. Secondly, it can be hard to find products that contain THCV since it’s not as widely available as other cannabinoids. However, if you do manage to find some THCV products, they can be worth trying.

It's important that you seek professional medical advice if you're on medication or have a health condition as your doctor will be able to provide you with more guidance.

Resources

  1. Thomas, A., Stevenson, L. A., Wease, K. N., Price, M. R., Baillie, G., Ross, R. A., & Pertwee, R. G. (2005). Evidence that the plant cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin is a cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonist. British journal of pharmacology, 146(7), 917.Chicago
  2. Riedel, G., Fadda, P., McKillop‐Smith, S., Pertwee, R. G., Platt, B., & Robinson, L. (2009). Synthetic and plant‐derived cannabinoid receptor antagonists show hypophagic properties in fasted and non‐fasted mice. British journal of pharmacology, 156(7), 1154-1166.
  3. Abioye, A., Ayodele, O., Marinkovic, A., Patidar, R., Akinwekomi, A., & Sanyaolu, A. (2020). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): a commentary on potential therapeutic benefit for the management of obesity and diabetes. Journal of Cannabis Research, 2(1), 1-6.
  4. Wargent, E. T., Zaibi, M. S., Silvestri, C., Hislop, D. C., Stocker, C. J., Stott, C. G., ... & Cawthorne, M. A. (2013). The cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) ameliorates insulin sensitivity in two mouse models of obesity. Nutrition & diabetes, 3(5), e68-e68.
  5. Cascio, M. G., Zamberletti, E., Marini, P., Parolaro, D., & Pertwee, R. G. (2015). The phytocannabinoid, Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabivarin, can act through 5‐HT 1 A receptors to produce antipsychotic effects. British journal of pharmacology, 172(5), 1305-1318.Chicago
  6. Romano, B., Pagano, E., Orlando, P., Capasso, R., Cascio, M. G., Pertwee, R., ... & Borrelli, F. (2016). Pure Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin and a Cannabis sativa extract with high content in Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin inhibit nitrite production in murine peritoneal macrophages. Pharmacological research, 113, 199-208.

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