New Study Analyzes the Effects of THCV, CBD on Weight Loss

Study participants were given doses of THCV/CBD or a placebo in order for researchers to examine the potential effects on metabolic syndrome.

By
Nicole Potter

New research, which was published in the journal Cannabis, shows evidence of the weight loss effects of cannabinoids such as THCV and CBD. The study’s official title is “Weight Loss and Therapeutic Metabolic Effects of Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)-Infused Mucoadhesive Strips,” and studied participants’ use of oral strips to administer a combination of THCV/CBD or a placebo.

The study specifically analyzed metabolic syndrome, which develops when an individual accumulates fat, and causes the body to experience “inflammatory response, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and fatty liver disease.” The condition can be caused by a variety of factors, most commonly due to chronic inflammation caused by fat deposits or eating too many calories and not exercising enough. Ultimately, metabolic syndrome can lead to more serious conditions such as diabetes, and an increased risk of a stroke or heart attack.

The human body’s endocannabinoid system has previously been confirmed to have positive effects on energy homeostasis (the regulation of energy in the body) and appetite regulation, and researchers set out to analyze how the phytocannabinoids THCV and CBD affect metabolic syndrome.

According to the World Health Organization data from 2022, an estimated 2.5 billion people adults over 18 were considered to be overweight, while 890 million were living with obesity. Older data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected between 2017-March 2020 shows that in the United States, 41.9% of adults older than 20 are obese.

This most recent study utilized 31 female and 13 male participants, all with an average age of 51.75 years. Participants were given one of two different doses of THCV/CBD, or a placebo. The lower dose included 8 mg THCV/10 mg CBD, while the higher dose included 16 mg THCV/20 mg CBD, which was taken daily via mucoadhesive oral strips over the course of 90 days.

Researchers shared that there were significant results to report. “Use of the THCV/CBD strip was associated with statistically significant weight loss, decreases in abdominal girth, systolic blood pressure, and total and LDL cholesterol,” researchers explained. “The study was limited by small sample sizes in both the high dose and placebo groups.”

Ultimately, participants who were given both the lower and higher doses of THCV/CBD showed the most improvement. “The 16 mg/20 mg daily dose was superior for weight loss compared to the 8 mg/10 mg daily dose; both sets of results differed from placebo in a way that was statistically significant. The results of this study were congruent with the prior unpublished studies of a hemp extract containing significant percentages of THCV, CBDV, and CBD,” researchers concluded.

THCV is said to have been first discovered by researcher Edward Gill and his team in 1970. At the time, cannabis tinctures were a licensed medicine in the United Kingdom, referred to in the British Pharmaceutical Codex (BPC). Cannabis tinctures were removed from the BPC of 1932, although it remained in the BPC of 1949. One year after Gill discovered the compound, it was studied by Frans Merkus who officially referred to it as THCV.

Although THCV appeared in numerous animal studies over the years, its effects on obesity and its “weight loss” properties came from a study by GW Pharmaceuticals in 2013. Researchers administered various levels of THCV to mice for 30 or 45 days, and then measured food and water intake, weight gain, energy expenditure, and more.  The results didn’t show significant food intake or weight gain, but researchers did note increased energy expenditure. “THCV is a new potential treatment against obesity-associated glucose intolerance with pharmacology different from that of CB1 inverse agonists/antagonists,” researchers concluded.

Additionally, another GW Pharmaceutical study in 2016 showed evidence of THCV decreasing “resting state functional connectivity” and increasing “connectivity in the cognitive control network,” leading researchers to suggest positive effects of THCV for obesity.

Other studies, such as one published in 2020, also found that THCV could be a beneficial treatment for those with obesity and diabetes. “However, the uniquely diverse properties of THCV provide neuroprotection, appetite suppression, glycemic control, and reduced side effects, etc.; therefore, making it a potential priority candidate for the development of clinically useful therapies in the future. Hopefully, THCV could provide an optional platform for the treatment of life-threatening diseases.”

Other studies have shown how THCV can benefit those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, cancer, pain, inflammation, and untreatable epilepsy.

Most recently in February, cannabis genetics company Phylos announced the results of its THCV study using its “Natural Natural™ THCV” product. Phylos Chief Scientific Officer Alisha Holloway, PhD, explained the significance of their findings in a press release. “This study signifies a pivotal moment for the cannabis industry in understanding the effect of THCV in combination with THC,” Holloway said. “The Natural Natural THCV study allows us to leverage our exceptional plants in the advancement of targeted cannabis products, and to chart new territories in understanding the efficacy of natural cannabinoids.”

Nicole Potter

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