THCV – cannabis use dates back thousands of years, but only recently have we had a chance to differentiate and study the compounds within the plant in true depth. The advent of legal cannabis has shifted the spotlight of mainstream attention on several of its key compounds such as THC and CBD, however much of the lesser cannabinoids still remain largely undercover.
The liberty to research and study these compounds under the supervision of professionals has unveiled the cover to the other 100+ compounds in cannabis. One of those compounds that have been slowing drawing the spotlight away from THC is its close cousin Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
Interested in finding out more about this up and coming cannabinoid? Read further as we break down the details about this unique cannabinoid and its relationship to the others!
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Before comparing these two cannabinoids, it’s important to understand the basics of the human endocannabinoid system. If you didn’t already know, our bodies produce their own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. We also have a system for regulating a variety of things such as mood, hunger, sleep, and much more. We call it the endocannabinoid system.
In our endocannabinoid system, we have two main receptors, the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The receptors are both located in the brain, with CB1 receptors scattered throughout the rest of the body while CB2 receptors are found in abundance throughout the gastrointestinal tract as well as the immune system.
When we consume cannabis, the phytocannabinoids in the plant get absorbed by our bodies through the endocannabinoid system, selectively switching on and off certain receptors depending on the cannabinoid consumed.
The Difference Between THCV and THC
As you probably already guessed by their names, Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are very similar in terms of molecular structure. The difference being there is a presence of a propyl group (3-carbon) in THCV and a pentyl group (5-carbon) in THC.
In terms of their effects, THC is a well-known agonist to our CB1 receptors in our endocannabinoid system, activating certain receptors while THCV acts as an antagonist to the CB1 receptors, deactivating certain receptors.
Due to this, THCV is known to dampen or block certain aspects of THC’s psychoactive effects, somewhat similar to CBD. Due to the entourage effect, consuming strains high in THCV is said to induce a high that is unique to a purely THC induced high. Many avid users of THCV strains describe its effects to be similar to a short burst of energy and euphoria without the lethargy or munchies.
Interestingly, when consumed alone, THCV appears to be non-intoxicating when taken in minute doses, as it is an antagonist to the CB1 receptors. However, this quickly changes when the dosage is increased as THCV not only produces psychoactive effects when consumed in large quantities, but it also appears to switch roles and perform as a supporter to the CB1 receptors, rather than an antagonist.
How to Get THCV
Many of the cannabinoids you know and love are created from Cannabigerol (CBG), which is a sort of stem cell of cannabinoids, able to form into many of the other cannabinoids during the cannabis plant’s growth. THCV is formed by the joining of Divarinolic Acid and Geranyl Phosphate, resulting in THCVA, which then undergoes decarboxylation to synthesize THCV.
As far as strains high in THCV go, growers have been working to isolate and develop crops to yield strains with high THCV contents as consumer demand rises.
Be on the lookout specifically for African Sativas, as they tend to have higher levels of THCV when compared to other strains. Keep in mind that if you plan on vaporizing your THCV strains, the boiling point of THCV is much higher compared to that of THC. THCV’s boiling point is 428°F ( 220°C) compared to 315°F (157°C) for THC.
Here some of the most popular THCV strains today:
What Are The Benefits of THCV?
Regulation of Blood Glucose Levels
Probably the most important of all the benefits THCV provides. Research has suggested that this cannabinoid may be an effective treatment at stabilizing blood glucose levels due to its ability to improve glucose tolerance and increase insulin resistance, a driving factor behind type-2 diabetes.
THCV could represent a new innovative agent in fighting type-2 diabetes and supporting glycemic stabilization.
Along with THCV’s ability to stabilize blood glucose levels, it also has the added benefit of removing the munchies if used in conjunction with THC. Better yet, a highly potent THCV strain may even cause appetite to disappear altogether, which could be a useful tool to promote weight loss.
Like CBD and CBG, THCV is able to protect against neurodegenerative diseases. A study found that THCV has potential as an agent in fighting neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, alleviating symptoms, and offering neuroprotective effects.
Studies have shown that in mice, THCV can counteract symptoms of inflammation and inflammatory pain, leading it to be a potential treatment for humans as inflammatory pain is usually experienced after the symptoms are discovered.
Great at Fighting Anxiety
Due to THCVs role as an antagonist to CB1 receptors, it can actually help to alleviate anxiety and paranoia to a great degree.
Cannabis strains with high levels of THCV may be able to even go as far as to completely block the anxiety and panic attacks associated with consuming large amounts of THC.
When taken in small quantities on its own, THCV will not produce any psychotropic effects, making it great for day time use when you need to stay sharp.
These days, more and more people are turning towards THCV strains, go ahead do yourself a favor, and pick up some Pineapple Purps or Durban Poison the next time you’re in the market for some weed. They’re great options for when you need to lift your spirits while you’re out doing something active, you won’t regret it.