Cannabinoids are compounds that occur naturally in the Cannabis sativa plant. There are more than 480 various compounds present in cannabis. Only 66 of them are called cannabinoids. The most notable of these compounds is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive or mind-altering chemical in marijuana.
While THC is popular for its psychoactive effects, not all cannabinoids are mind-altering. Cannabidiol (CBD), the second most popular active ingredient in cannabis, does not cause a high. Extensive research into non-intoxicating compounds like CBD is necessary to make medical marijuana more widespread.
In this article, we will focus on tetrahydrocannabivarin THCV, another essential cannabinoid that is only psychoactive in high doses. Before delving into its effects, it is vital to find out what THCV is and how it compares with the popular THC and CBD.
Understanding Tetrahydrocannabivarin THCV
Tetrahydrocannabivarin or THCV is a cannabinoid that offers a wide range of unique and beneficial effects. This compound may come as news to many people because it is not as prevalent compared to CBD and THC. Nonetheless, this compound is gaining some traction as medical marijuana is becoming a global trend in the health industry. It was discovered in 1973 and has been subjected to extensive cannabis research.
The chemical formula for THCV is C19H26O2. It contains 19 carbon atoms, 26 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. Like phytocannabinoid, it is insoluble in water but is highly soluble in oil-based solvents. It has a near similarity to THC in terms of molecular structure, except for a few differences.
The compound is quite unusual for a cannabinoid because it is only psychoactive if consumed in higher doses. In lower doses, it acts as an antagonist to CB1 receptors, which is helpful for dieters because it can help in appetite suppression and weight loss.
As you increase the dose of the compound, the opposite happens. Instead of an antagonist, it turns into an agonist like THC. When you take in more of the THCV compound, you begin to become clear-headed and feel an unmistakably stimulating high. While you can get high quicker using THCV than THC, the elating high does not last long.
THCV vs THC
If taken in large doses, THCV can mimic the psychoactive effects of THC, given that they have almost similar molecular structures. Their atomic arrangements are almost identical.
The only difference is that THCV has a propyl side-chain, while THC has a pentyl group side-chain. The most prevalent cannabinoids are made up of the pentyl group. THCV's propyl group consists of only a few, including CBDV and CBV.
The other difference is how each compound affects hunger. THC is notorious for causing the 'munchies,' the strong craving to eat food. In contrast, THCV suppresses appetite.
THCV and THC can get you high. However, if you are looking to get high but do not want to overeat, THCV's psychoactive properties may be a better alternative.
THCV vs CBD
THCV has almost the same chemical composition as THC and CBD. However, each of them has a different effect on the body. Taken in high doses, THCV can cause a stimulating high.
CBD does not cause any intoxication at all, which explains its widespread use in the medical marijuana industry. Nonetheless, CBD does cause feelings of relaxation, which helps alleviate insomnia, anxiety, and panic attacks.
THCV Effects and Benefits
THCV can provide a more intense high than THC when taken in large doses. Nonetheless, it does not stimulate hunger. Research on the cannabis plant shows that this compound has medical benefits as well. Let us dive deeper into these effects and benefits.
THCV as an Anti-Inflammatory Compound
A study shows THCV's ability to reduce inflammation, swelling, and inflammatory pain in mice.
It can block CB1 receptors and activate CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system to decrease inflammation and pain. A CB1 receptor is designed to block the release of neurotransmitters. A CB2 receptor functions to signal an inflammatory response.
While the study did decrease signs of inflammation in mice, it can also be helpful for humans.
Inflammation is the cause of a lot of diseases and ailments. Arthritis flare-ups, headaches, back pain, muscle pain, the buildup of lactic acid, bowel disorders, and many more are associated with inflammation.
With studies showing how THCV and other cannabinoids suppress inflammation, there is hope for people who suffer from chronic pain.
It takes discipline and a lifestyle change to get fit. Nevertheless, not all people have the freedom to do physical exercises because they are not capable. Their inflamed joints and muscles filled with lactic acid hinder them from doing strenuous activities.
Thankfully, THCV helps alleviate these inflammatory pains by blocking CB1 receptors and activating CB2 receptors in the body's endocannabinoid system. The CB2 receptors have a role in regulating inflammation. Hence, THCV can become a ticket to better health and wellness for people who experience chronic pain.
Is THCV Better than Anti Inflammatory Drugs?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen are widely used against inflammation, pain, and fever. They relieve the symptoms of arthritis, flu, colds, sprains, headaches, and muscle pain caused by lactic acid.
Although these drugs are effective and commonly used, they are not suitable for everybody because of their troublesome ill effects. Like other kinds of medication, NSAIDS have a risk of causing minor and major issues, especially when you take them for an extended period.
Common Side Effects of NSAIDs
- Stomach ulcers
- Allergic reactions
Rare but Fatal Side Effects of NSAIDs
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Liver issues
- Kidney issues
Why Medical Marijuana is a Better Anti-inflammatory Remedy
Although NSAIDs are effective in the treatment of inflammation, overdose can lead to death. Furthermore, NSAIDs do not work for every type of pain. Some people may be taking them without any need at all.
The substances used in these drugs may also interact with common substances like paracetamol and caffeine. This may be news to some people but it is easy to take too much of these drugs without realizing it.
This is true especially for people who are in constant chronic pain. Often, the patients do not realize they are overdosing until it is too late.
In contrast, the cannabis plant and its many associated cannabinoids, do not pose any of the dangers mentioned. Certain cannabinoid forms like THC THCV may cause euphoria, but the chances of dying by overdose are slim to none.
NSAIDs are generally safe in smaller doses but they cannot compare to cannabis in terms of safety. This is not to say that NSAIDS are bad entirely. They help a lot of people around the world, especially in areas where cannabis products are not yet legal.
As cannabis products become a norm around the globe, they may soon replace NSAIDs. Cannabinoids are associated with safety. They do not cause any major or lethal side effects. In the next 25-50 years, cannabinoids could soon become the world's safest wonder drug.
Reduction of Anxiety and Stress
Research findings show that THCV may reduce anxiety, stress, and possibly eliminate panic attacks. Hence, THCV could be beneficial for people who suffer from anxiety and the other disorders associated with it.
Mental disorders that involve too much worrying about specific situations can have a devastating effect on the brain, body, and personal relationships.
Stress and anxiety can affect your confidence and productivity. They can cripple your ability to focus on essential tasks at hand.
Fortunately, the news in the medical marijuana industry is positive. Marijuana producers can change all that by providing access to products that help reduce anxiety, stress, and panic attacks.
Like the cannabinoid CBD, THCV can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Specifically, it suppresses a person's panic mode.
Panic is the usual response to a fight or flight situation. Instead of focusing on the solution to the problem, the mind gets chaotic and becomes unable to achieve any resolution.
The relaxing effect of THCV and its ability to enhance brain concentration can be highly beneficial to people who suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, and stress-related issues.
Appetite Suppression and Weight Loss
The World Health Organization's statistics in 2016 show that approximately 1.9 billion adults are either overweight or obese. That is nearly 40% of the entire adult population.
THCV may play a vital role in solving the problem of obesity. It suppresses the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system, which helps curb hunger as well.
Research shows that cannabis strains that are high in THCV and CBD work better at suppressing appetite than those that contain THC. Remember that THC has the opposite effect. It encourages eating any food you find on the menu and triggers the 'munchies.'
The Negative Effect of Anti-obesity Drugs
The diet industry is huge. Many anti-obesity drugs have been barred from sales and distribution because of their many side effects. Although they may suppress hunger and help with weight management, they can cause depression, which is often linked to suicide.
THCV - A Possible Safer Weight Loss Alternative
With further cannabis research, THCV may soon become a more reliable weight loss medication. It can suppress appetite without making you feel depressed. If you add CBD to the mix, you are less likely to get the blues.
While THCV does not magically burn excess fat, it helps you achieve a caloric deficit. That means that you eat less food from the menu than you burn in a day. Hence, it allows you to use excess fats and lose weight. Marijuana will not only provide therapeutic effects but may also help solve the issue of obesity.
Weight Control with THCV
When you control your weight, you lower the risk of developing other more serious diseases. Achieving your ideal weight will prevent you from having hypertension, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. It will also help you prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. You can use THCV not only to control weight but also to prevent other diseases.
Bone Growth Stimulation
Experiments show that THCV may prevent bone degeneration and promote the growth of new bone cells. The cannabinoid does this by binding itself to a receptor in the skeletal endocannabinoid system that regulates bone mass.
Further research may bring more light to determine the treatment potential of this medical cannabis in patients with osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases.
Bones support us when we move. They also protect the brain, the heart, the lungs, and other vital organs from major injuries.
The bones store calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals that keep them strong. They release these minerals to the body when necessary.
The bottom line is that our bones keep the body strong and healthy. Hence, it is essential to keep the bones healthy as well. Diet plays a crucial role in bone wellness, but it turns out that the cannabinoid THCV could help out as well.
Marijuana Strains High in THCV
THCV has a lot of positive effects and benefits. Though THCV is a rarity and is difficult to isolate and extract, there are a handful of cannabis strains that are high in THCV. Most of them come from landrace sativas which were originally cultivated in Africa.
If tetrahydrocannabivarin appeals to you, then you should familiarize yourself with the following strains and add them to the menu:
Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper has a consistency of 5% or higher concentration of THCV. Its THC content can range from 15-25%. The strain comes from a cross of a Space Queen male and a Jack Cleaner female.
Although the purpose was to breed a strain with high THC content, the THCV content was also quite good. Fortunately, this strain is easy to find. A lot of growers cherish it for the sake of their recreational consumers.
This is a cross between Cheese, Pineapple, and Skunk #1. It is sometimes called a super Sativa because of its anxiety-suppressing, euphoric, and energetic effects. It has an earthy and citrusy flavor to it. The Pineapple Purps has a high THCV content of 4%.
Pink Boost Goddess
Pink Boost Goddess is a specialized strain developed by Emerald Spirit Botanicals. Recently unveiled in 2019, the Goddess boasts 4.24% THCV and 18.7% tetrahydrocannabinol THC content. If you come across this strain, you can distinguish it for its intense floral aroma and vanilla flavor.
Doug's Varin is a product of possibly a happy accident. The original cultivar came from a Harlequin parent that has a high THCV concentration.
California Cannabinoids, the owner of Doug's Varin, used the Harlequin to develop new strains that can yield 3-6% THCV content. Because of its high THCV levels, Doug's Varin is used by many cannabis concentrate manufacturers to create THCV-rich products.
Durban Poison traces its roots from Durban, South Africa. It was imported to the USA in the late 1970s and has become an award-winning medical Sativa. It contains nearly 1% of natural THCV.
Durban Poison has gained worldwide popularity for its ability to suppress appetite, energize, and uplift users. It is a perfect strain to experience if you want to be energetic at work, spend time outdoors, or want to have a spark of creativity.
THCV Effects - Final Thoughts
Although THCV is not as prevalent as the two major marijuana cannabinoids TCH and CBD, we hope that this article gives you a better awareness of THCV and its positive effects.
THCV does not offer psychoactive effects in low quantities but when you increase the dose, it can provide an intense, euphoric, and short-lived high.
As more research about THCV effects emerges, evidence for its therapeutic properties comes to light. Studies in mice hint that it can help in appetite suppression, fight obesity, and prevent diabetes. It can act as an anti-inflammatory, reduce anxiety, minimize symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and many more.
THCV and THC have similarities in their molecular structure and psychoactivity. However, THCV prevents overeating and has potential use in the medical marijuana industry.
Although the original strain has less than 2% THCV content, many growers have developed strains that yield 3-6% THCV concentration because of its health potential.
With this informative article, we hope that the benefits of THCV should no longer be news to you.