THCV 101: A Rundown on the Rare ‘Sports Car’ Cannabinoid
THCV, which stands for tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a cannabinoid that was discovered in the early 70s. Almost 50 years later, it’s nowhere near as famous as other cannabis compounds like THC and CBD, but that’s not to say it is lacking in the psychoactive or medical departments, which are the two main reasons people seek cannabis. On the contrary, the unhyped but extensive research on THCV has shown that depending on the dose, the fairly rare cannabinoid can produce a vast array of effects that both THC buffs and CBD users can enjoy and benefit from.
What is THCV and how is it different from THC?
THCV is a cannabis compound mostly found in Sativa strains. Despite being overshadowed by its more famous cousin, THC, it still has been the subject of relatively wide research. Years of study have revealed that like THC, THCV also has some psychoactive effects, although not as slow-hitting as the former and not as long lasting, hence the nickname. The mood-altering effects of THCV are swift and intense—like a sports car! Unlike THC, however, THCV can only get you high at extremely high doses.
On the other end of the spectrum, THCV at very low doses can attenuate the effects of THC that some users find unpleasant, like dampened motor skills and untimely food cravings.
What are other THCV effects and benefits?
Though research on THCV has been quite wide-reaching, it hasn’t been exactly conclusive—at least not yet. But as more information about the cannabis compound is slowly but surely being unraveled, many of its effects are being shared and confirmed, both by science and casual users. Here are some of the reported benefits of THCV:
- Suppression of appetite - THCV is also nicknamed “diet weed” because, unlike THC, it curbs the appetite and doesn’t cause the “munchies.” As mentioned earlier, when taken at low doses, THCV can counter some of THC’s effects, including the spike in appetite, making it the perfect go-to for those who are trying to lose weight. For the same reason, people who are already underweight and patients battling eating disorders like anorexia should avoid the cannabinoid.
- Possible diabetes treatment - Study shows great potential for THCV to be used in treating diabetes. It has been found to aid in the regulation of blood sugar levels and reduction of the body’s resistance to insulin.
- Reduction of anxiety, tremors, and seizures - Ongoing research has also consistently shown that THCV can relieve stress, which in turn, reduces panic and anxiety attacks in PTSD patients. The cannabis compound is also shown to protect nerve cells against damage, making it ideal for treating patients with Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. Tremors and seizures linked to these diseases appear to be greatly lowered after being treated with THCV.
- Anti-inflammatory effects - Another THCV benefit that is backed by extensive research is its anti-inflammatory properties. Pain and swelling, two of the primary symptoms of inflammation, have been found to be reduced by THCV.
How can I get THCV?
Now you’re probably thinking, “I would love to enjoy these benefits, but how do I get my hands on THCV?” Well, if it isn’t quite obvious by now, this little-known cannabinoid isn’t exactly the easiest to get a hold of. Right now, it’s only detectable in very few strains and even then are barely noticeable, with the exception of already established high-THCV strains (some of which we will be introducing a few scrolls down).
As more and more research on it is carried out, though, we can hold out hope that constantly increasing awareness on it will eventually lead to more THCV-rich products in the market. The question of how soon, though, is anyone’s guess for now. In the meantime, here are tips to get you started on finding THCV:
- African sativas are the way to go - African sativas are most likely to have high amounts of THCV, especially landrace strains. This is backed by lab results on some strains.
- Study a strain’s parent genetics - ...if finding African sativas proves to be more work than you would care to do. By logic, hybrid strains with African genetics will have high chances of containing THCV. But—
- Do not rely 100% on genetics - We know what we said in that bullet above, but this is more a supplementary point than a contradictory one. Genetics can’t be the sole factor that you base a strain’s THCV content on. Ultimately, you must make sure that you are indeed obtaining strains high in THCV. Less harm in asking your budtender for a lab-tested strain than in going home with one that’s basically a zero, THCV-wise, especially if reaping its benefits is what you were set out to do.
Although this gem of a cannabinoid is not widely available, there actually are THCV-rich products that are quite accessible, like THCV oil, THCV tincture, and THCV cartridge products, to name a few. Make sure to browse through our THCV products page after reading this article. It’s a good place to start!
What are some high-THCV strains?
There is lots of research, cultivating, and growing to go before THCV strains can be considered common, but we’ve rounded up the ones that have been proven to at least have good chances of having high THCV content (you’re welcome!):
- Durban Poison - This is a recognized medical sativa strain that’s a good choice for those who want to enjoy the typical effects of a pure sativa, minus the munchies. Its naturally occurring THCV content runs up to nearly 1%.
- Doug’s Varin - This strain is believed to have the highest THC content today, averaging a whopping 15%. It was originally bred to contain high amounts of THCV. If enjoyed moderately, the strain is ideal for those who want a short-term kick before doing things that would require their full attention and lots of energy.
- Pineapple Purps - Like Doug’s Varin, Pineapple Purps was specially crafted to be a high-THCV strain. It has a THC content of up to 17% and has a THC:THCV ratio of 3:1. It is relatively rare, and is utterly cherished by those who manage to get their hands on it.
- Pink Boost Goddess - This strain is one that can be fairly considered to have resulted from the recent and noticeable hype surrounding THCV. With the high sun exposure to encourage THCV production, this indica-dominant strain (surprise!) boasts of 4.24% THCV and 18.7% THC. Users have reported feeling highly inquisitive and thoughtful, and recommend it for its mood-lifting effect. With it being an indica-dominant strain and paired with its high THCV content, its effects are on the short-lasting side.
- Jack the Ripper - Here’s a bonus. Jack the Ripper is one of the easiest-to-find high-THCV strains, thanks to it becoming a huge favorite among consumers and growers. It clocks in at 5% THCV, and a THC content that swings between 15% and 25%.
The Wrap-Up: THCV and its effects
If there’s one sure takeaway from all this, it’s that THCV is a true wonder—it’s not everyday that a strain can jump from THC to CBD effects depending on the amount taken, and the use ranging from recreational to holistic.
Although not much is known about THCV at this point, it’s safe to say that the consistent research surrounding it can lead to a hopefully not-so-distant future where it won’t be considered a lucky break to even come across it.
Before you go, there’s something we’d like for you to remember if you’re an avid vaper: boiling points. THCV’s boiling point is 428 °F (220 °C), so make sure to dial it higher than you would when vaporizing THC. If you’d rather prepare edibles at this point, you may very well end up with purely THCV goodies (with all other cannabinoids having long been evaporated at such high temperatures!). Take your pick!