What in the world is THCV?
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is an analogue of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and a minor cannabinoid found in cannabis.
It has a three-carbon side chain instead of five found on THC and interacts differently with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) as a result.
It's important to remember that your ECS is regulated by receptors through out your body that can be modulated by the cannabinoids found in cannabis. The degree of binding affinity can influence the degree of modulation and the areas activated.
THCV has antioxidant properties and interacts with both your CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Many of the commonly researched cannabinoids begin as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), this is then synthesized into THCA, CBDA, CBCA, CBNA, etc..
THCV differs from the other popular cannabinoids in that the precursor is cannabigerovarin acid (CBGVA). The specifics aren’t incredibly important but it’s important to understand that it stems from a different parent molecule that as it matures transforms into THCVA, CBDVA, and CBCVA.
Like THC, THCVA is “activated” by removing the phytoacid group, otherwise known as decarboxylation.
Decarboxylation is the process of removing a carboxylic acid group from phytocannabinoids to make it pharmacologically active using heat. This process allows your body to metabolize the cannabinoid..
The real question you all came here for…
I’m sorry to tell you that the answer is more complex than it seems.
THC is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis and acts as a CB1 agonist on your ECS, this causes the high that we know and love.
At low doses THCV acts as a CB1 neutral antagonist (agonist vs. antagonist) meaning that it moderates the effects of THC to an extent. When used in conjunction with THC, small amounts of THCV could blunt your high and make it more pleasant if you are looking to dial things down.
At high doses THCV becomes a CB1 agonist meaning that it can provide a high. The effects are shorter lived than THC but can produce a euphoric stimulating high.
THCV has shown promising applications in reducing the need for insulin and lowering overall blood sugar. A double-blind, randomized controlled trial examined the application of THCV in type 2 diabetics. Matched against placebo, THCV notably reduced fasting plasma glucose and enhanced pancreatic β-cell function and apolipoprotein A (an indicator for cardiovascular disease).
Further studies indicated that THCV is associated with neuroprotection, appetite suppression and glycemic (blood sugar) control.
A 2011 study found that THCV had promising application for both treatment of Parkinson’s disease and relief of Parkinson’s symptoms. This was due to its antioxidant properties and ability to activate CB2 receptors while blocking CB1 receptors at low doses.
In animal models THCV has been shown to decrease signs of inflammation and inflammatory pain.
The science is still lagging on cannabinoids and their medical applications.
The world is beginning to open to the therapeutic potential, but regulator hurdles and decades of stigma do not end overnight.
THCV is an incredibly promising new cannabinoid on the block, I would be surprised if we didn’t see Canadian licensed producers capitalize and start putting out THCV containing products.
If you have any questions regarding THCV drop them below 👇