With the rising popularity of novel phytocannabinoids, you might be asking yourself what THCV is and what its benefits are. Well, there is a lot to this THC look alike that should peak your interest. Many users enjoy the numerous therapeutic benefits that come with THCV, others appreciate the fact that it does not cause any psychoactive effects. Marijuana users are not the only ones who are experimenting with this cannabinoid, even big pharma has its eye on THCV as you will see later in this article. Without putting the metaphorical cart before the horse lets first start by understanding what makes this cannabinoid so great.
What is THCV?
Science has revealed that marijuana has over 400 bioactive compounds. This includes over 100 cannabinoids, about 200 terpenes, and flavonoid and other nutrients. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is among the numerous cannabinoids that have been identified in cannabis. Recently, scientists have taken a keen interest in this cannabinoid which is showing significant potential. There are a couple of scientific trials and research that are underway.
Structure of THCV
Tetrahydrocannabivarin is a structural homologue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It has a propyl (3-carbon) side chain while THC has a pentyl (5-carbon) group on the molecule. This accounts for the different properties that the two compounds exhibit.
How Does THCV Interact with the Endocannabinoid System?
THCV is similar to cannabidiol (CBD) in many ways. Research has shown that it interacts with cannabinoid receptors much like CBD. In essence, it is a CB1 receptor antagonist and a partial agonist at the CB2 receptor. These properties have been demonstrated in murine models.
How is THCV Made?
This is rather interesting as THCV is not made from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) like THC and CBD. CBGA is created by combining olivetolic acid with geranyl pyrophosphate. THCV has a different genesis. Geranyl pyrophosphate combines with divarinolic acid to create cannabigerovarin (CBGVA) which is broken down into THCVA and later THCV. THCVA is the acidic form of THCV much in the same way that THCA is the acidic form of THC. When THCVA is subjected to heat it breaks down to create THCV.
GW Pharmaceutical Research on THCV & Type 2 Diabetes
GW Pharmaceuticals is currently investigating the potential of THCV in the management of type 2 diabetes.
Is THCV Legal?
THCV, in and of itself is not illegal in the US; it does not feature on the list of scheduled substances by the FDA. However, it falls in the category of marijuana extracts which are mentioned under schedule 1 due to their association with THC which is scheduled. As long as THCV is derived from marijuana it is considered scheduled under federal law and therefore presumed illegal.
What are the Benefits of THCV?
Research on THCV is still in the preliminary stages. The following benefits are backed by preliminary findings:
1. Regulation of the blood sugar levels
This has been the center of interest for most clinicians and researchers alike. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people globally. Current treatments are geared towards symptom control and include drugs such as metformin.
Studies have shown that THCV helps to stabilize blood glucose levels by improving glucose tolerance and regulating the levels of insulin. Large randomized trials will paint a clear picture of the potential benefit in this area.
2. Promoting weight loss
Unlike THC, THCV does not induce “cannabis munchies” and neither does it stimulate appetite. On the contrary, it actually dulls hunger pangs and may help to stimulate weight loss. It does this through various mechanisms including suppressing the hunger hormone.
Other studies have shown that THCV promotes energy expenditure and helps the user to burn more calories.
3. Offers neuroprotection
By binding to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors THCV is able to reduce muscular tremors associated with diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and ALS. It may also help to treat seizures or to reduce their severity. If further research confirm this potential effect this would provide a breakthrough in the management of severe seizures.
4. Anxiety management
Recent research has shown that THCV can block the onset of panic attacks and consequently help in the management of panic disorders such as PTSD. It may also be used to manage anxiety.
5. Bone growth and protection
Research has shown that THCV may promote the growth of new bone cells and also prevent their degradation. Clinical evidence in this area will help in the management of osteoporosis and other bone related degenerative diseases.
Is THCV Psychoactive?
When many people think about marijuana euphoric sensations come to mind. As much as recreational users crave for this experience, some medicinal users are likely to be skeptical. THCV is likely to appeal to the class of users looking for therapeutic benefits without the psychedelic feelings. This is because THCV is not psychoactive and will therefore not cause any change in mental status. On the other hand, it is able to cause mild cerebral stimulation when consumed in generous amounts.
Which Cannabis Strains are High in THCV?
If you have been sold to the idea of THCV, there are a couple of marijuana strains that you might want to consider. You can begin by checking out our article on the top 10 THCV strains that we published awhile back.
Meanwhile, we hope that you are clear on what THCV is and what the benefits are. To learn more about the medical uses of cannabis and emerging research into cannabinoids, enroll in Cannabis Training University.