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What does THCV Do to Your Body and Mind? Understanding this New Exciting Cannabinoid

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Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is quickly becoming one of the most popular cannabinoids on the market. THCV is a plant-derived compound with unique properties that set it apart from the more common cannabinoids, such as 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THCV deserves its own introduction because of the major waves it is bound to make in the CBD industry. Continue reading for a comprehensive guide to THCV, including what it is and its benefits.

What is THCV?

THCV

The chemical structure of both compounds, THC, and THCV, appears remarkably similar – the only noticeable difference being a longer hydrocarbon chain present on the THC molecule. THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a minor cannabinoid—meaning it is found in lower concentrations than the best-known cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Researchers discovered THCV in 1973, which means that while it may not be as popular as CBD and THC, it is a well-studied cannabinoid. The parent molecule for THCV and its acidic form tetrahydrocannabivarin acid (THCVA) is cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA), which is formed when geranyl pyrophosphate reacts with divarinolic acid. Similar to CBN, THCV is unusual as it is only intoxicating in high doses. 

THCV can act similarly to THC as an agonist of the body’s CB1 endocannabinoid receptor, although the effects of THCV are much weaker. There is, however, evidence that THCV may behave as a CB1 receptor antagonist with lower doses as stated below:

“There is also evidence that it can behave as a CB1 receptor antagonist both in vivo and in vitro. Thus, when administered to mice in vivo at doses below those at which it produces signs of CB1 receptor agonism...”

Like most compounds, though,  the amount of THCV present in cannabis flower will vary greatly depending on the strain’s genetics, as the reactions that form CBGVA are catalyzed by the plant species’ natural enzymes.

The Difference Between THCV and THC

Some consider THCV to be a naturally produced compound that mimics THC. Unlike THC, which is psychoactive and an agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, THCV is a non-psychoactive, neutral CB1 antagonist / inverse agonist that can behave as an agonist or antagonist at the CB2 receptors depending on the dosage. Compounds like THC and CBD can bind to both receptors to signal that the endocannabinoid system needs to take action. 

While there are certainly similarities between THCV and THC, there are also stark differences. THC is known for being an appetite stimulant whereas THCV has the opposite effect. It blocks the CB1 receptor, which is well known to stimulate appetite. In a study conducted on rats, when THC was delivered to rats, the result was enhanced frequency of sucrose consumption. THCV had the opposite effect; "Conversely, rimonabant, a CB1 antagonist identical to THCV, led to the reversal of the increased frequency of sucrose consumption and improved palatability."

Additionally, THCV has gained the nickname of the “race car” of cannabinoids, as high doses reportedly give users a short-lasting but very energetic high.

It is further said that THC acts as an agonist at the cannabinoid receptors and results in an increased lipid and glucose intake. In contrast, THCV exhibits antagonistic activities at the cannabinoid receptors.

How Can You Find THCV?

Unlike cannabinoids such as CBN and CBC, there are relatively high levels of THCV in a wide variety of herb strains. There are just a few plants on the market that generate practical quantities of this chemical, and they've all been difficult to cultivate, low-yielding plants. Since it is an uncommon cannabinoid, supply chain is relatively weak for THCV. 

That said, the market is expanding and people are isolating THCV from plants and infusing it into different manufactured products, like edibles and drinks. While many are in the early stages of isolating THCV, the plain reality is that THCV's relative scarcity makes it not only difficult to discover, but also difficult and expensive to separate and extract. 

There are a few plant cultivars that seem to be naturally abundant in THCV, and practically all of them descend from African landrace sativas. They may be more difficult to locate, but the extra work is well worth it. In terms of the effects they generate, their chemical makeup, and their strength, no two strains are the same. However, if you want to get the benefits of THCV, you need to start looking for strains that have large percentages of such a cannabinoid.

Below is a list of THCV High strains:

  • Durban Poison
  • This award-winning medical sativa has been at the center of the newfound interest in high-THCV strains. With a naturally occurring THCV concentration of nearly 1%

  • Tangie
  • Tangie is a Sativa-dominant strain hybrid that boasts minor percentages of California Orange and Skunk #1. While this hybrid is loved for its sweet, tangerine flavor, it can also be used to reap its euphoric and relaxing effects.

  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Girl Scout Cookies, sometimes known as GSC, is a popular hybrid plant. While being Sativa-dominant, GSC contains very high levels of THC and THCV.

  • Doug’s Varin
  • If you are looking for a strain with high levels of THCV, look no further than Doug's Varin. It contains very high percentages of THC, THCV (around 3%), and THCA.

  • Pineapple Purps
  • Another Sativa-dominant hybrid that boasts average THC levels (around 17%). This hybrid contains Pineapple, Skunk #1, and Cheese, which makes it both balanced and powerful.

  • Jack the Ripper
  • Jack the Ripper consistently weighs in at 5% THCV or higher, with THC content that ranges from around 15-25%. 

    Other THCV strains worth mentioning:

    • Power Plant
    • Pink Boost Goddess
    • Willie Nelson
    • Red Congolese
    • Durban Cheese
    • Skunk #1

    It can be easy to confuse THCV for THC, but a quick look at the research tells you that THCV deserves its own spotlight. With THCV containing a range of therapeutic benefits, this exciting cannabinoid is certainly one to keep an eye on. THC-V Isolate will be available for purchase at BlackTieCBD.Net in the near future!

    Lab Reports and Testing of THCV

    Unlike HHC, THCO, and other synthetic cannabinoids - THCV is devoid of pesticides and heavy metals and contains high cannabinoid and terpene levels. View the lab report below for a clear indication of pesticide testing.

    THCV

    The following two lab reports indicate high THCV levels to verify the validity of the product.

    THCV

    THCV

    Similarly, both reports show a clear pass for pesticides:

    THCV

    These dry herbs consumed in combustive form represent the greatest danger to human health, as analysis of heavy metals in the smoke of plants revealed the presence of selenium, mercury, cadmium, lead, chromium, nickel, and arsenic. Heavy metals pose a rise to any process requiring extraction or isolation, such as the manufacturing of THCV.

    The upside is, however, that based on the lab reports below, it is evident that THCV is mostly clear of heavy metals. The report below is for D8-THCV Isolate.

    THCV

    Receiving a “pass” on lab results means that the end product does not have impurities from the solvent remaining in the extracted material. In some cases, these impurities can be toxic, which is why residual solvent analysis is a critical element of testing, especially for the synthetic cannabinoids we mentioned previously. 

    As you can see from the report, which is consistent with the other reports, the terpene value in THCV high cannabinoids is incredibly high, with the total terpenes being 2.979%. 

    Terpenes are elements present in the plant which play a significant part in producing the effects associated. These organic compounds produce aromatic and flavor diversity. They function in a similar manner to cannabinoids in that they bind to receptors in the brain and produce different effects.

    Benefits and Effects of THCV

    As we have seen above, the absence of psychotropic effects is the primary benefit of THCV over THC. It is thought that THCV prevents the psychological effects of THC, and unlike THC, THCV produces hyperphagic results in both fasted and non-fasted mice. THCV has gained the nickname of the “race car” of cannabinoids, as high doses reportedly give users a short-lasting but very energetic high. Here is the list of potential benefits of THCV:

  • Appetite Suppression 
  • Whereas most people associate certain CBD compounds and their related components with increased hunger, THCV has the potential to do the reverse. Research has shown that THCV reduces hunger, promotes fullness, and controls energy metabolism in mouse experiments, making it a clinically beneficial cure for weight reduction and the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes patients. Although the majority of the evidence around THCV and appetite is based on animal research, it still has significant potential for appetite benefits.

    In the case of diabetes, rats that consumed the cannabinoid showed increased energy expenditure and restored insulin signaling in insulin-resistant hepatocytes and myotubes. When THCV was used to treat dyslipidemia and glycemic management in type 2 diabetics, it resulted in lower fasting plasma glucose concentrations when compared to a placebo group.

  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • The ability of THCV to decrease inflammation is a significant health advantage. While inflammation is a crucial immunological reaction that helps our bodies fight infection as well as respond to injury, it can also cause discomfort and heat, as well as contribute to the development of a variety of chronic illnesses.

    A study on THCV and inflammation found that, “THCV can activate CB(2) receptors in vitro and decrease signs of inflammation and inflammatory pain in mice partly via CB(1) and/or CB(2) receptor activation.”

  • Bone Growth Stimulation
  • With its potential to induce the formation of new bone cells, THCV may also increase bone development. Although further research is needed, THCV shows a great deal of promise for bone-degenerative illnesses including osteoporosis. A study discovered that THCV can induce fibroblast colony development in rat bone marrow cells through naturally occurring CB2 receptors.

  • THCV May Aid in Anxiety and Mood Management
  • THCV showed promising results when tested in a pilot study involving ten male users. THCV appeared to reduce the psychotic and paranoia effects and improve their short-term memory. This is unlike THC, which tends to present challenges to those with anxiety. 

    THCV may also help with tremors because it supports muscular control. Although additional research is needed, some say that the neuroprotective effects of THCV could make it suitable for a wide range of individuals including those exhibiting signs of a degenerative cognitive mental state.

    Is THCV Legal?

    Although THCV is structurally very similar to THC, it is not explicitly a prohibited substance at the federal level in the United States – but it is a gray area. In the United States, THCV is not specifically listed as a Schedule 1 Drug. THCV could be considered an equivalent of THC, in which case, sales or possession intended for human consumption could be prosecuted under the Federal Analog Act.

    This means that in the United States specifically, THCV is not scheduled at the federal level so long as it is not derived from the dry herbs in the United States. Research would indicate that THCV is substantially different enough to avoid being treated as an analogue and falling under the prohibited “tetrahydrocannabinols” label.

    It’s easy to mistake THCV for THC, but a short look at the research shows that THCV Isolate deserves its own limelight. With THCV carrying a variety of medicinal properties, this intriguing cannabinoid is one to keep an eye on.

    References: 

    Bolognini D, Costa B, Maione S, et al. The plant cannabinoid Delta9-tetrahydrocannabivarin can decrease signs of inflammation and inflammatory pain in mice. Br J Pharmacol. 2010;160(3):677-687. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00756.x  

    Englund, A., Atakan, Z., Kralj, A., Tunstall, N., Murray, R., & Morrison, P. (2016). The effect of five day dosing with THCV on THC-induced cognitive, psychological and physiological effects in healthy male human volunteers: A placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot trial. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England)30(2), 140–151. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881115615104