What Is THCV?
Although you may not have heard of THCV, this naturally occurring cannabinoid is actually thousands of years old.
Keep reading for more information on THCV, and to find out how it could benefit you.
What Is THCV?
THCV is a cannabinoid that is naturally found in some typically sativa-dominant cannabis strains. Unlike cannabinoids like delta-8, cannabis strains with over 50% of its cannabinoids being THCV have been reported.
The molecule shape of THCV is very similar to that of THC, but it produces significantly different effects. The main difference between the two molecules is that THC has a five carbon tail (or carbon chain) known as a pentyl group, while THCV has a three carbon chain, or a propyl group. While most cannabinoids are biosynthesized from CBGA, which is known as the mother of all cannabinoids, instead THCV is biosynthesized from divarinolic acid, a similar compound to CBGA.
Typically, the highest level of THCV is found in ‘landrace’ cannabis strains originating from Africa. Landrace refers to cannabis plants that have not been manipulated by agriculturists, or naturally growing plants. High THCV plants can be extracted with solvents such as ethanol and then distilled to produce highly potent distillates. This process is more difficult for THCV than for THC or CBD because currently the highest potency THCV plants are not as high in potency as hemp or traditional cannabis plants. The resulting oil can be added to many different products, such as edibles, tinctures, carts, and others. The appearance and taste of THCV is very similar to other cannabinoids.
Benefits of THCV
So what sets this cannabinoid apart from the rest? Here are a few of its key benefits:
- No more munchies- One commonly discussed benefit of THCV is that it has been shown to suppress your appetite and increase satiety. Since it’s desirable for some people to be able to partake in cannabis without overeating, THCV may be a good option for reducing the effects of munchies.
- THCV is known for producing a higher energy, more productive euphoria that is more compatible with day-to-day activities.
- THCV can help THC users to better manage their intoxication levels.
- A 2015 study reported that when users took both THC and THCV, THCV was able to counteract some of the negative effects associated with THC such as psychosis, paranoia, and memory impairment.
The biggest drawback regarding THCV is that it won’t necessarily get you high quite like delta-8 or delta-9. In small doses THCV does not produce a high, but in larger doses some users report a mild but steady body high, and bursts of clear thinking. Some users even report increased energy, which can be helpful as you move through day-to-day life.
Be wary of mixing THC and THCV together, as some users report experiencing a very intense and uncomfortable high as a result of combining the two.
Side Effects of THCV
As with almost any substance, THCV does have some side effects. Here are some of the most commonly reported:
- Appetite loss
Whether or not you will experience these side effects depends on a variety of factors including how much THCV you consume, your physical makeup, and your tolerance level.
Is THCV Legal?
THCV is federally legal to recreationally sell and purchase in the United States under the 2018 Farm Bill, the same bill that legalized all naturally occurring cannabinoids aside from delta-9. Although THCV is federally legal, it’s important that you know and understand the laws regarding hemp in your specific state just to be safe.
Does THCV Show Up on Drug Tests?
Since THCV has a different structure than THC, it’s been thought that it may not show up on drug tests in the same way THC does, but unfortunately, that may not be the case. Drug tests often look for metabolites of a target compound like THC. Metabolites are the digested remnants of a compound that remain after your body has processed a compound. For THCV and THC, these metabolites may overlap in similarity, which could give a false positive on a d9-THC drug test even if you’ve just ingested THCV.
THCV Could Be Medically Promising
In addition to the aforementioned benefits, THCV has been showing great medical promise in many different areas.
- THCV could be the key to helping those suffering with neurodegenerative diseases. THCV is generally regarded as a neuroprotectant, meaning it has potential for the treatment of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers, MS, and others.
A 2011 study found that THCV activates CB2 receptors in the brain, and that it can either activate or deactivate CB1 receptors depending on the dosage. This means that THCV could be a promising tool for symptom relief and prevention of neurodegeneration of Parkinson's disease.
- Additionally, THCV has shown effectiveness as an antipsychotic and could be a useful treatment for conditions like PTSD and Schizophrenia. This is because THCV can help to stimulate the serotonin receptors in the brain, also making it an effective treatment for anxiety and panic attacks.
- UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals is currently developing THCV and CBD based products to help with blood sugar regulation for type II diabetes.
There is a lot of promise for therapeutic treatment as the endocannabinoid system is further studied and explored. As cannabinoids continue to be heavily researched for medicinal use, it’s expected that many of the minor cannabinoids such as THCV will have individualized benefits.
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