Everything you wanted to know about THCV
If you found your way to this page through clicking the title you probably already have a good understanding about the cannabis plant and the science behind how it works. In this article, we will be discussing cannabinoids and specifically the cannabinoid THCV or Tetrahydrocannabivarin.
There are already 110 identified cannabinoids in cannabis and over 500 compounds that make up the cannabis Sativa plant. There is still a lot to uncover when it comes to cannabis and as technology improves we will see discoveries and developments in the cannabis industry.
One of the biggest problems for cannabis is that THC ( Tetrahydrocannabinol ) is psychoactive and simply put, gets you HIGH! THC is apparently the main reason why cannabis is still a Schedule 1 substance in the US and most countries around the world. However, not all cannabinoids are psychoactive, in fact, the majority of cannabinoids are not psychoactive. Of all 110 cannabinoids identified to date, let’s start looking at one of the Big 6 cannabinoids THCV.
THCV was discovered during the course of 1973 and although not as popular as THC and CBD ( Cannabidiol ), it’s a cannabinoid that has been fairly well studied.
It is a compound with C19H26O2 as the chemical formula, which means it contains 19 carbon atoms (C), 26 hydrogen atoms (H), and two oxygen atoms (O2). THCV follows the typical phytocannabinoid character of being insoluble in water, but very soluble in lipid-based solvents.
A bit like CBN ( Cannabinol ) THCV is only psychoactive in very high doses, although it closely resembles THC structurally. Mostly all cannabinoids are synthesized from CBG (cannabigerol), which is a compound found in all forms of cannabis at some stage of its growth cycle. During the lifecycle of CBG as it matures, it goes through a metabolic process creating unique cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Although most cannabinoids are synthesized through the cannabinoid CBG, THCV is created a little differently. THCV forms after the joining of divarinolic acid and geranyl phosphate compound, this results in THCV with an acid. Once this compound THCVA is decarboxylated it creates THCV. THCV is a cannabinoid receptor type 1 ( CB1) antagonist and cannabinoid receptor type 2 ( CB2) partial agonist.
Differences between THC and THCV
Although THCV in high doses mimics the effects of THC and they are structurally the same on an atomic level, there are some notable differences between the different cannabinoids. One of the major differences between the two cannabinoids is that THCV suppresses one’s appetite while the THC cannabinoid increases ones appetite, aka the munchies. In fact, a few studies have shown that THCV actually suppresses the effects of THC. So if you want to get high and maintain your figure, look at smoking strains with higher levels of THCV. More about those later.
“Unlike THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabichromene (CBC), THCV doesn’t begin as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Instead of combining with olivetolic acid to create CBGA, geranyl pyrophosphate joins with divarinolic acid, which has two fewer carbon atoms. The result is cannabigerovarin acid (CBGVA). Once CBGVA is created, the process continues exactly the same as it would for THC. CBGVA is broken down to tetrahydrocannabivarin carboxylic acid (THCVA) by the enzyme THCV synthase. At that point, THCVA can be decarboxylated with heat or UV light to create THCV. “ Source
The Effects of THCV
In small doses, THCV acts as an antagonist of the CB1 receptors which means you will not get “high”. However, as explained earlier, in higher doses THCV does provide a short psychoactive experience as its behaviour changes and it becomes an agonist, and this means you will get stoned. When smoking a cannabis strain with high levels of THCV you will experience a stimulating, clear-headed high that unfortunately does not last very long.
5 THCV Strains
Girl Scout Cookies
Sweet as sugar, GSC is a Sativa-dominant popular hybrid which is full of THCV. GSC offers effects of relaxation for both body and mind. Girl Scout Cookies has become a very popular strain over the last decade for not only its relaxation effects but also the energetic effects it may have on people in different environments.
Bred in the USA combining a Skunk #1 and popular California Orange to make an award-winning Tangie. This citrus and Sativa dominant hybrid smells like sweet tangerines that once smelt, cannot be forgotten. It produces significant amounts of THCV as well as good amounts of THC.
A South African landrace is well known for its high levels of THCV. Dense, chunky flowers from this Sativa plant provide energetic and euphoric highs. Durban Poison is also a breeding strain found in the GSC lineage and many other strains that contain THCV.
Dutch Treat aka Dutch Crunch is our only Indica dominant hybrid that was developed along the Pacific Northwest in Canada during the ’90s and since then become popular back in Amsterdam. Its provides a heading rush to the head and then slowly finishes off with your body relaxing. Good levels of THC and THCV found in Dutch Treat.
A new strain that was specifically bred for its high THCV content, Pineapple Purps is a rare, sweet, Sativa-dominant hybrid. It is an uplifting and euphoric high that gives people energy, focus and drive.
Medical Benefits of THCV
World Health Organization ( WHO ) reported that 2 billion adults are either overweight or obese today, this equates to over 40% of the world’s population! Because THCV is so good at suppressing the CB1 receptors and therefor good at suppressing appetite, researchers are looking at this cannabinoid as a dietary supplement.
A study by Wargent et al. that was published in 2013 suggested diabetics may use THCV as a treatment for patients suffering fro obesity-related glucose intolerance.
“THCV is a new potential treatment against obesity-associated glucose intolerance with pharmacology different from that of CB1 inverse agonists/antagonists. “ 2013 Study
A study published in 2009 positively suggested the beneficial properties of THCV for reducing swelling and pain in mice. The researchers found THCV is effective in reducing inflammation, they also found that the subjects did not build up a tolerance to the treatment.
Research suggests that THCV may help in reducing and even eliminate panic attacks in patients. Therefore this cannabinoid may be a great treatment for people suffering from PTSD and other anxiety-related disorders. Most of this research conducted in Israel concluded that THCV works as it suppresses our panic mode.
Other Benefits of THCV
ALS, Parkinsons, osteoporosis and seizures are a few of the conditions and diseases that are currently being used for treatment with THCV. Because of its non-intoxicating effects in low doses as a cannabinoid, it may be a suitable choice of treatment for children suffering from diseases like epilepsy or Dravet Syndrome.
THCV is technically legal in the United States, but there are limitations to this legality! THCV is not scheduled on a federal level as long as it is not derived from a plant in the United States, it is neither scheduled by Convention on Psychotropic Substances in the United States. However, THCV can be considered an analogue of THC, in which case, sales or possession intended for human consumption may be prosecuted under the Federal Analog Act.
“In contrast to THC, clinical and therapeutic advantages of THCV regarding its lack of psychoactive effects in human studies are of great value in pharmacotherapy. On the other hand, the dual pharmacological activities of THCV on CB1/CB2 receptors, exhibiting agonistic and antagonistic effects depending on the dosage, indicate the need for further research. It is envisioned that the unique and diverse characteristics of THCV could be explored for further development into clinically useful medicines for the treatment of life-threatening diseases.” Source 2
There are relatively a large number of varieties of cannabis strains that contain measurable amounts of THCV. An article was published by the American Journal of Botany and listed at least 150 cannabis strains that contained notable amounts of THCV. Unlike other cannabinoids that may not be found n specific varieties of cannabis, THCV is well spread across a wide variety of cannabis cultivars. There was a specific study in 1973 that listed a variety of cannabis from THCV level of over 50%, establishing that African sativas have acclimatised to their environments and improved the production of specific cannabinoids like THCV. So with the cannabis moving into cananbinoid profiles, we will see a lot more interest in the medical properties of the 110 cannabinoids, especially THCV with its unique attributes.
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