What Is THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) And What Does It Do?

Another psychoactive cannabinoid with its own set of effects.
What Is THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) And What Does It Do?

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a psychoactive cannabinoid that acts differently from THC. As of now, consumers only encounter tetrahydrocannabivarin in small amounts. You can find decent levels of tetrahydrocannabivarin in the popular African landrace strain: Durban Poison. Studies stumbled upon several therapeutic benefits from THCV that can help a wide variety of patients with debilitating conditions.

The Science Behind THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)

What Is THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) And What Does It Do?

Many of the main cannabinoids like THC and cannabidiol (CBD) come from CBGA. However, THCV comes from THCVA which is the result of breaking CBGVA down with heat or UV light.

According to Steep Hill Labs, tetrahydrocannabivarin(THCV) is a psychoactive cannabinoid stronger than THC with a shorter duration. They describe the high as clear-headed and psychedelic. However, some studies on THCV fail to illustrate the stronger effects that others have reported.

Research has shown Tetrahydrocannabivarin to inhibit some effects of THC while enhancing others. Researchers recruited human volunteers for a within-subjects, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over pilot study. The researchers administered 10mg oral pure THCV or placebo daily for five days, followed by 1mg intravenous THC on the fifth day. Nine out of ten of the participants found THC to be subjectively weaker. However, the study was extremely small and we need more research before concluding anything definitive.

The reason for the contradicting results could be due to the fact that THCV acts as a CB1 receptor agonist like THC in higher doses. On the other hand, in lower doses, it acts as a CB1 antagonist which may kill your high. The subjects in the study may have only consumed enough Tetrahydrocannabivarin to provide the antagonist effects.

Steep Hill Labs claims THCV is a more psychedelic high than THC with the effects lasting for half of the duration. In order to confirm the stronger psychoactive capabilities, researchers would need to conduct a study with subjects receiving high amounts of Tetrahydrocannabivarin.

One reason Tetrahydrocannabivarin has been associated with stronger psychoactive capabilities of THC is that high THCV strains have been associated with more psychedelic, energetic highs.

What Does Tetrahydrocannabivarin Do?

Tetrahydrocannabivarin has a number of effects that may benefit people with the following health conditions:

  • Anxiety & PTSD
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Parkinsons
  • Obesity

One study found THCV inhibited the THC-induced increased heart rate in mice. As a result, Tetrahydrocannabivarin is safer for patients suffering from anxiety. In fact, the researchers conducted the study to find an alternative to beneficial cannabinoids that have “adverse psychiatric effects.” Some suggest THCV could be highly effective in the management of PTSD but there is no research illustrating this yet.

The same study on rats found that Tetrahydrocannabivarin did not significantly affect food intake or body weight gain. However, the researchers did note that the cannabinoid produced an increase in the amount of energy spent which is why they concluded that Tetrahydrocannabivarin is a new potential treatment for obesity.

Strains high in THCV tend to be more euphoric. A couple of analytical labs claim the cannabinoid relieves stress and prevents anxiety from panic attacks. They even suggest it can be highly effective in the management of PTSD but we haven’t come across any research backing these claims.

THCV has anti-oxidant effects as well. In fact, a published paper on the neuroprotective effects of tetrahydrocannabivarin has revealed the cannabinoids ability to relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

A controlled study from 2012 on Tetrahydrocannabivarin’ ability to treat type 2 diabetes was conducted by GW Pharmaceuticals. They found the cannabinoid had anti-diabetic effects like regulating blood sugar levels and reducing insulin resistance.

Final Hit: What Is THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)?

THCV is a psychoactive cannabinoid but there isn’t much of it out there. Nor is there much research on the psychedelic capabilities and therapeutic benefits. Until recently, most growers focused on cultivating strains high in the main psychoactive component, THC. It took grower some time to realize the therapeutic benefits from the other cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant were worth growing for.

Since then, CBD and terpenes have been extracted in high concentrations and they’re becoming easier to find. Other rare cannabinoids like Delta 8 THC are being extracted in higher percentages to benefit patients that can’t handle high levels of THC. About two years ago, the highest percentages of THCV we saw were at about 2 percent. However, kief from a high Tetrahydrocannabivarin strain was found to have a 24 percent THCV level. We hope to see more of this scarce cannabinoid as we continue to discover and explore more about cannabinoids.

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