THCv - Tetrahydrocannabivarin Explained
Cannabis contains dozens of cannabinoids, which are the chemical compounds in the plant that affects our bodies in different ways. Some cannabinoids get us high, some have health benefits, and most are poorly understood compounds that need to be researched further.
In this series, we will take a look at a few of the most well-researched cannabinoids that are found in cannabis.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is one of the lesser-known cannabinoids, but it’s fast gaining popularity. While the name suggests it’s similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), THCV isn’t exactly the same thing.
THCV and THC have similar molecular structures, and both THC and THCV can get you high - but the two cannabinoids produce different effects on the body. Because of this, they seem to produce different health benefits.
What are the health benefits of THCV?
THCV is said to have a number of health benefits, but these are mostly unconfirmed. These potential benefits will have to be researched further before we can definitively say whether THCV can treat certain conditions.
So far, research indicates that THCV might be able to do the following:
- Reduce inflammation. Like most cannabinoids, THCV seems to reduce inflammation and inflammatory pain. This is based on research that was conducted on animals, but hasn’t been tested on human subjects yet.
- Suppress the appetite. While THC and a few other cannabinoids stimulate the appetite, THCV seems to suppress one’s appetite, according to some research. For this reason, many people use it for weight loss.
- Regulating blood sugar. THCV seems to increase insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels in rats, and research suggests it might be able to treat insulin resistance.
- Neuroprotectant. A 2011 study looked at animal models of Parkinson’s disease. It found that THCV seemed to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and have neuroprotective effects, meaning it slowed the progression of the disease.
- Anti-seizure. In a 2010 study, THCV reduced seizures in rat subjects. While this was never studied in humans, this study suggests THCV could be a potential treatment for seizure conditions like epilepsy.
Hopefully, THCV will be studied further in the future, and we’ll find out exactly how THCV can affect our bodies. For now, many optimistic people use THCV for the above reasons.
Where can I get THCV?
THCV seems to be high in African strains, such as Durban Poison. Certain strains have also been bred to have a high level of THCV. Some companies have also made oils and tinctures that are high in THCV.
If you want to use cannabinoid products of any kind - whether its THC or CBD or THCV - it’s a good idea to do some research beforehand. Ensure you buy high-quality products from reputable companies. Cannabinoid products should be tested by a third party and you should be able to view the lab results online.
It’s also advisable to speak to your doctor before using THCV. We aren’t yet sure how safe or well-tolerated THCV is, and there’s little research on whether it can interact with other medications. Rather be safe than sorry, and seek medical advice from a professional.
- Garcia, C. 2011. Symptom-relieving and neuroprotective effects of the phytocannabinoid Δ9-THCV in animal models of Parkinson's disease. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01278.x
- Hill, A.J. 2010. Δ⁹-Tetrahydrocannabivarin suppresses in vitro epileptiform and in vivo seizure activity in adult rats. DOI: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2010.02523.x
- Jadoon, K.A. 2016. Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study. DOI: 10.2337/dc16-0650
- Rzepa, E. et al. 2015. The CB1 Neutral Antagonist Tetrahydrocannabivarin Reduces Default Mode Network and Increases Executive Control Network Resting State Functional Connectivity in Healthy Volunteers. DOI: 10.1093/ijnp/pyv092
- Thomas, A. 2009. Evidence that the plant cannabinoid Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabivarin is a cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonist. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0706414
- Wargent, E.T. 2013. The cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) ameliorates insulin sensitivity in two mouse models of obesity. DOI: 10.1038/nutd.2013.9