THCV: The New Exciting Cannabinoid

THCV: The New Exciting Cannabinoid

Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is fast becoming one of the latest cannabinoids on the market. THCV is a cannabis-derived compound with unique properties that set it apart from the more common cannabinoids, such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This compound deserves an introduction because we’re sure it will make huge waves in the cannabis industry soon. 

What is THCV?

THCV Structure

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.

How does THCV compare to THC?

THCV is a naturally occurring analog of THC. In contrast to THC, which is psychoactive and an agonist at the CB1 and CB2 receptors, THCV is a non-psychoactive, neutral CB1 antagonist / reverse agonist and may act as an agonist or antagonist at the CB2 receptors depending on its dose.

THCV can somewhat mimic the intoxicating effects of THC in large doses because of their similar structures. THCV and THC are so similar in structure that their only difference lies in the fact that one has a propyl group while the other has a pentyl group. One of the interesting differences between the two cannabinoids is that THCV suppresses appetite, whereas THC increases it. Interestingly, THCV also has a higher boiling point than THC, so you will need to get THCV to a higher temperature if you plan to use it on a vaporizer.

A study showed that THC was administered to rats, it was noted that THC increased the frequency of sucrose ingestion. Conversely, the opposite happened with THCV as stated below;

“Conversely, rimonabant, a CB1 antagonist that is similar to THCV, resulted in the reversal of the enhanced frequency of sucrose ingestion and increased palatability.”

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

Benefits and effects of THCV

As we have seen above, The main advantage of THCV over THC is the lack of psychoactive effects. 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;

  • Appetite suppression & Diabetes
  • While most people associate cannabis with increasing appetite, THCV potentially poses the opposite effect. In rodent studies, THCV decreases appetite, increases satiety, and up-regulates energy metabolism, making it a clinically useful remedy for weight loss and management of obesity and type 2 diabetic 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 who consumed the cannabinoid showed increased energy expenditure and restored insulin signaling in insulin-resistant hepatocytes and myotubes. The effect of THCV on dyslipidemia and glycemic control in type 2 diabetics showed reduced fasting plasma glucose concentration when compared to a placebo group. 

  • Anti-Inflammatory
    An important health benefit of THCV is its potential to reduce inflammation. While inflammation is an important immune response that can help our bodies fight infection and respond to injury, it can also result in pain and heat and contribute to the development of a number of debilitating conditions.

  • According to this study, the conclusion that THCV could decrease inflammation; stating the following;

    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
    THCV may also stimulate bone growth thanks to its ability to promote the production of new bone cells. THCV shows a lot of promise in the treatment of bone-degenerative diseases like osteoporosis, although more research is needed. Another study has found that THCV can stimulate fibroblastic colony formation by rat bone marrow cells in a manner that seems to be mediated by naturally expressed CB2 receptors.

  • 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. It is not scheduled by Convention on Psychotropic Substances. In the United States, THCV is not specifically listed as a Schedule I drug, but "Marijuana Extract" is. THCV could be considered an analog 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 cannabis plant 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.

    How Can You Find THCV?

    Unlike cannabinoids such as CBN and CBC, there are relatively high levels of THCV in a wide variety of marijuana strains. There are only a limited number of plants out on the market that produce viable quantities of this compound, and they’ve generally been hard to grow, low-yielding plants. The supply chain is not strong, it’s a rare cannabinoid. 

    The market is expanding and people are isolating THCV from plants and infusing it into different manufactured products, like edibles and cannabis drinks. While people may be in the beginning phases of isolating THCV, the simple truth is that THCV's relative rarity makes it not only hard to find but difficult and costly to isolate and extract. 

    There are a handful of cannabis cultivars that are naturally high in THCV, and almost all of them stem from landrace sativas originating in Africa. They may be harder to track down, but they're worth the extra effort. No two strains are the same in terms of the effects they produce, their chemical composition, and their strength. But if you are looking to reap the benefits of THCV, you should start looking for those strains that contain high percentages of this cannabinoid. 

    Here 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! 

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