While we have all been racing to keep up to speed with all of the information circulating around about the benefits of CBD, a new cannabinoid has stealthily sent ripples of intrigue through the medical community, hiding in plain sight just waiting for discovery. THCV (or Tetrahydrocannabivarin… say that ten times fast), is the fancy new kid on the block and it’s worth paying attention to for several newly budding potential reasons, including but not limited to its appetite-suppressing properties.
But what exactly is THCV? It sure sounds an awful lot like THC, so what are the similarities and differences? Is it psychoactive? Why is it worth talking about, and does it deserve the hype? For an in depth spotlight on this rising star and everything you need to know about how it might be a new ally in your fight for wellness, read on.
What is THCV and How Does it Work?
As we’ve clumsily tried to pronounce above, THCV stands for Tetrahydrocannabivarin, and if that reminds you of THC, that’s not a bad comparison. THCV is essentially THC, but instead of a 5-carbon, or pentyl, side chain, THCV instead has a 3-carbon, or propyl, side chain group on the molecule. But, alas, I’m not a scientist, and this explanation doesn’t particularly help.
So let’s try that again. THCV is very molecularly similar to THC, but does have some important differences, which in turn cause some very different, quite fascinating, effects compared to those we are used to seeing with THC. THCV indeed interacts with out endocannabinoid system, just like THC and CBD, and can be found in small amounts of most strains of cannabis while it is most abundantly found in certain strains of Sativa.
Just like THC and CBD, THCV interacts with our endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, but displays differing effects depending on dosage. Smaller amounts of THCV have been shown to inhibit the psychoactive effects seen with THC (meaning it is being antagonistic), but higher amounts rather have been shown to increase psychoactive effects (becoming agonistic). So depending on necessity, THCV acts as a bit of a multi-purpose cannabinoid.
Is THCV Psychoactive like THC?
I know, I know, this is a bit of a trick question. THCV does appear, in smaller doses, to combat the psychoactive effects of THC, but then seems to change its mind in larger doses. However, when it comes down to it, yes, THCV is considered psychoactive as it affects the same receptors in the brain as THC.
But this does not mean that it will make you feel the same as THC. In fact, THCV produces a much more alert, focused, and abrupt feeling of euphoria. As such, it is recommended to take THCV during the day, or when you require functionality or motivation. Not only that, THCV has been shown to curb some of the more unpleasant sensations associated with THC, such as paranoia and short term memory loss. Because THCV creates a more intense psychoactive effect, it also begins to work faster, and does not last as long.
What Are The Medicinal Benefits of THCV?
So what has caused medical researchers to turn their heads and put down their CBD oil? Well, THCV appears to have a wide array of benefits, both similar to and different from CBD. Where the brain is concerned, THCV (in part because of it’s directive, clear-headed effects), much like CBD, has shown initial and promising results fighting anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis, and helping with symptoms associated with PTSD.
Moreover, THCV has been shown to suppress appetite, which has incredibly far reaching medicinal potential. Unlike THC, which stimulates appetite as is well known, THCV’s ability to quell hunger has been shown to counteract THC’s effects therein, and means that it can be employed as a clever tool in the ever-ongoing battle of obesity and diabetes both on its own and coupled with those who use medicinal marijuana and are affected by conditions that cause weight gain. Beyond this, THCV has shown promise with helping to regular blood sugar levels and reducing insulin resistance.
It has (many) other researched accolades as well. THCV has been shown to have antioxidant neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties, along with anticonvulsant properties, which may benefit the progression of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, while offering symptomatic relief as well. It’s also been shown to promote bone cell generation, and may prove an important partner in treating or preventing osteoporosis and other bone related disorders.
Where Can You Find THCV?
Of course, confirm that it is legal for you to purchase cannabis before going and hunting for THCV. THCV is more prominent in certain strains of cannabis, and if you are interested in sampling this cannabinoid for yourself, there are a few strains to pay attention to. Most prominent in strains of cannabis that are native to Asia and Africa naturally, a few strains have been cultivated in ways to produce a higher percentage of THCV.
So if you’re curious but don’t really know where to look, ask about Asian or African landrace strains of sativa. The strand names to keep on your radar that have been specifically cultivated with THCV in mind are: Doug’s Varin, Tangie, Pineapple Purps, Durbain Poison, Girl Scout Cookies, and Dutch Treat. And, when in doubt, always ask for lab results, of course.
As we’ve hopefully demonstrated, THCV is worth the attention it’s been getting. Not only can it potentially alter the more prominently negative effects of THC, like its psychoactive sensation, its ability to induce hunger, short term memory loss, and paranoia, but it has been shown to have the capability and versatility to affect our endocannabinoid systems in astoundingly positive ways. So is it the next CBD? The potential benefits and preliminary studies indicate a strong affirmative response, and with more research and curiosity, here’s hoping this little cannabinoid gets the opportunity to demonstrate all its awesome potential.