While THC and CBD may get a lot of attention, cannabis is made up of many unique cannabinoids, both major and minor. One minor cannabinoid that has reaped a lot of attention lately is THCV. With rumors of appetite suppression and other therapeutic value, THCV is well worth a closer look. What is THCV exactly, what are the THCV uses, and which THCV products are best? We’ve got the lowdown on all this and more below.
THCV or tetrahydrocannabivarin is a biphasic cannabinoid, which means it produces a certain effect at low doses, but a near-opposite effect at higher doses. THCV is actually an analogue of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which basically means THCV looks a lot like THC on a molecular level. The molecular makeup is so similar that you could even say THCV is a bit like THC’s cousin—only a few carbon atoms are absent with THCV.
This cannabinoid, much like others, is synthesized in the cannabis trichomes, or the glandular hairs found on the surface of the plant. But THCV production is not as high as some other cannabinoids, at least not in most strains. There are a few strains, however, that have THCV levels over 50 percent.
What is THCV? Effects & Benefits of THCV
THCV may have a lot to offer, but, so far, we don’t know a great deal. This minor cannabinoid has made headlines in the past few years due to its proposed unique medicinal benefits. The most interesting of these benefits has led THCV to be nicknamed “Skinny Weed.”
To further complicate the research into THCV, the biphasic nature can mean that something beneficial at one dose may not occur at higher doses or vice versa. Beneficial aspects at low doses have had the opposite effect at higher levels in some clinical studies, which can be quite confusing when determining therapeutic value.
With cannabis legalization catching up after being kneecapped by the War on Drugs, more research is definitely needed to fully understand the scope of THCV’s effects. Nevertheless, there have been a few studies conducted that have shed the cannabinoid in a promising light. Below are three potential therapeutic uses for THCV.
Appetite-suppressant and glucose regulator benefits
A 2020 study review by the Journal of Cannabis Research while reviewing work focused on diabetes and obesity in people and lab mice said THCV provides appetite suppression and glycemic control.
According to Biomed Central’s Journal of Cannabis Research:
“THCV decreases appetite, increases satiety, and up-regulates energy metabolism, making it a clinically useful remedy for weight loss and management of obesity and type 2 diabetic patients,”
THCV is also thought to work to suppress the appetite versus the classic THC “munchies” or appetite-stimulating effect. THCV is thought to block the CB1 receptors (one of the most studied cannabinoid receptors in the body) in your endocannabinoid system. One human study found that THCV in large doses helped naturally block the CB1 receptor to curb appetite, without any negative side effects from synthetic CB1/appetite suppressors.
Ultimately the jury is still out on THCV’s specific appetite-suppressing properties. However, preclinical animal research suggests there could be a role for THCV in this area.
Below are two other studies, both on animal and human subjects, that have identified potential therapeutic uses for THCV:
- Neuroprotective benefit: 2020 study on mice published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease concluded that THCV had neuroprotective properties that may be useful in treating Parkinson’s disease. Another 2020 study, in the British Journal of Pharmacology, said THCV showed potential in the treatment of neuroinflammation and Huntington’s disease. Another study found it was a powerful anti-psychotic agent.
- Anticonvulsant benefit: 2015 review published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics: THCV may be able to reduce seizure activity in epileptic subjects.
Potential THCV Uses
THCV is a psychoactive cannabinoid—albeit not thought to be as potent as THC—known to produce a more motivated, alert, and energizing feeling of euphoria. And, this cannabinoid may interfere with the intoxicating effects of THC. This could be incredibly beneficial for people looking for either THC or THCV benefits without intense intoxication.
While research is still underway, and we can’t make definitive statements, research seems to indicate that THCV may be good to use for:
- Pain and inflammation
- Psychotic symptoms associated with certain mental illnesses
- Appetite suppression, which may benefit people struggling with obesity or diabetes
THCV vs THCA – What’s the difference?
These two are easily confused but wholly different. THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is actually the acidic precursor to THC. THCV is not a precursor to THC.
If you have ever decarboxylated weed to make your own edibles, what you are doing is converting THCA into THC. THCA in its natural form does not cause the same euphoric effects as THC because it does not affect the endocannabinoid system the same. But heating the molecule leads to the conversion, which is why you get high when you smoke a joint but not so much if you were to chow down on cannabis flower straight from the plant.
THCV is also not so abundant in most strains of commercially available cannabis. This is because THCV does not start out as CBGA (cannabigerolic acid), which is directly synthesized into the major cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
Does THCV get you high?
Some say that THCV is only mildly psychoactive at very high doses. While others claim that THCV offers a unique psychoactive experience. In truth, there have not been enough studies or user reports to formulate a reliable response. The best plan of action if you are trying to avoid intoxication is to stick with a small dose and see how the cannabinoid affects you personally before going all-in with a large dose.
Discussing THCV vs THC & Other Cannabinoids
THCV has confused researchers as the cannabinoid’s beneficial aspects at low doses has had the opposite effect at higher levels. As with everything in cannabis in the age of legalization catching up after being kneecapped from the racist War on Drugs, more research is needed to fully understand the scope of THCV’s human body effects.
It’s also been suggested that given the biphasic nature of this cannabinoid, THCV can work to reduce the psychoactive/head high of THC, but so far specifics and hard research are hard to pin down: “Anecdotally, people report that, when [THCV] is used in combination with THC, THCV can mitigate [the intoxicating] effects of THC,” says Jonathan Vaught, PhD, the CEO of Front Range Biosciences, an agricultural biotechnology company that specializes in hemp genetics, speaking to Healthline. However, THCV may be psychoactive all by itself when taken in larger doses. Some reports have claimed the minor cannabinoid is only about a quarter as potent as THC.
Ultimately the jury is still out on THCV’s specific appetite-suppressing properties, but preclinical animal research suggests there could be a role for THCV in a broad range of diseases and disorders. THCV is a psychoactive cannabinoid known to produce a more motivated, alert and energizing feeling of euphoria, but moreover available research shows it can help to reduce or even prevent anxiety and panic attacks. This means it could play an important role in the treatment of post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), is neuroprotective, and could be ideal for treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Looking for THCV in Massachusetts? Look for These THCV Products
THCV is a minor cannabinoid, but it is present in numerous cannabis strains in small amounts. If you are looking to get higher doses of THCV, you may want to try strains like Durban Poison or Jack the Ripper.
If you want a higher dose of THCV than flower can provide, it is best to stick with extracts that have been specifically created with THCV. And, luckily, several well-known produce manufacturers have listened to the newfound interest in the cannabinoid and made products for users to take advantage of.
A few good THCV products to look for in MA include:
- Coast Cannabis Co. Raspberry Lime Gummies 1:1:1 THC:THCV:CBD
- Bay State Extracts Trifecta Focus 510 Cart 4:3:1 THCV:CBG:CBD
- Betty’s Eddies Go Betty Go Watermelon Fruit Chews 2:1 THC:THCV
- Bay State Extracts Trifecta Focus Drops 4:3:1 THCV:CBG:CBD
When it comes to buying THCV products outside a reputable dispensary, always look for third-party lab reports. Quite a few shady suppliers tend to pop up that offer what look to be legitimate products but may not have well-tested products at all. The lab reports should show how much THCV is in the product, so you know you are getting the real deal.
Where to Buy THCV in Massachusetts
Thankfully, with more insight into just how valuable minor cannabinoids are, more growers and product manufacturers are bringing THCV products to life. Therefore, you can find quite a few options available at local cannabis dispensaries.
As the industry and market march forward and more research opens up, more and more exciting findings will emerge. As our CEO Meg Sanders often says when commenting on how held back the scientific community has been regarding cannabis:
“The best part about weed hasn’t even been discovered yet.”
By the way, if you are looking for THCV products in MA, be sure to swing by for a visit at Canna Provisions. We take pride in building the most comprehensive collection of cannabis products, including THCV products that may be hard to find elsewhere. Or, head to our Holyoke or Lee menu to browse and order ahead for easy pickup.
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Please Consume Responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children.
This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana used during pregnancy and breast-feeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgement. The effects of Edibles may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control hotline 1-800-222-1222 or 9-1-1. This product may be illegal outside of MA.