Tetrahydrocannabivarin, more commonly referred to as THCV, is a minor cannabinoid that is found naturally in the cannabis plant and is considered to be an analog of the much more well-known tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Let’s take a look at THCV and talk about what it is, the beneficial effects it may have, and more!
What is THCV?
THCV is a minor cannabinoid that is very similar to THC but comes with a different chemical structure. This means that although they are similar, they have different known effects.
THCV works by affecting the endocannabinoid system, which is a biological system that performs the vital function of keeping balance within the body. It binds to the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, particularly the CB2 receptors. This is important to note because the CB2 receptors help to regulate the body’s immune and inflammatory responses.
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There are certain strains that are considered to be high THCV strains. Sativa strains are found to be more abundant in THCV, particularly African landrace varieties. Durban poison is a strain that has been sought after for its high THCV content.
Does THCV Cause a High?
THCV users do not feel an intense high like THC users do but they do experience a feeling of relaxation and euphoria since THCV can induce a psychotropic effect if consumed in enough quantities. It can cause a mild high that is not as intense as the high from THC can be.
How Can THCV be Taken?
There are many ways to use THCV but the most common way that it is consumed is by vaporizing or smoking it. Many prefer this method because it is the quickest way to feel the effects of THCV and also the easiest way to control the dosage.
THCV is also commonly found in edible forms such as chocolates, gummies, candies, and other delicious foods. It can take thirty minutes up to an hour to feel the full effect of edibles, so make sure you wait at least an hour before deciding to take another dose. The effects of THCV in edibles can be enjoyed for several hours after ingestion so make sure that you do not have to drive or operate any other heavy machinery before you dose with THCV edibles.
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THCV can also be extracted from cannabis plants by using a solvent such as carbon dioxide or ethanol. This is done by combining the plant material with the solvent and then heating the combination which causes the cannabinoids to separate from the plant.
The cannabis plant material is then removed from the resulting material and the liquid goes through a filtering process. After the liquid is filtered, it gets vacuum heated to remove all the solvent from the concentration resulting in a high-potency THCV concentrate being left behind.
This then undergoes a further purification process, usually a distillation process, that uses heat to remove any other impurities such as chlorophyll and plant material.
Where Can I Find THCV?
Since most strains only contain tiny trace amounts of THCV, it can make it difficult to get consume enough THCV to reach the therapeutic effect that is desired. Fortunately, there are ways to help you locate strains that are rich in THCV that you can use to source cannabis that will suit your needs.
Many cannabis users prefer using sativa strains since they provide a more energized and balanced high. This is typically due to sativa strains having more THCV than their indica or hybrid counterparts. African sativa strains in particular have high THCV content, with some strainings containing THCV content upwards of four percent.
When in doubt, contact a reputable source of THCV to inquire about the parent genetics of the plant. If one of the parent strains of the flower you are interested in is an African landrace sativa, chances are that it will be high in THCV.
Keep in mind that you can always ask to see the results of lab-tested strains so that you can ensure that you are getting a strain that is high in THCV instead of one that only has trace amounts.
Benefits of Using THCV
There are numerous benefits to using THCV. Here are some of our favorite benefits of using THCV.
May Be an Appetite Suppressant
One of THCV’s most well-known potential benefits is as an appetite suppressant. THCV binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, causing a release of hormones that decreases appetite. Studies have shown that users of THCV can significantly reduce their intake of calories when taking high doses.
Ghrelin, which is a hormone that is responsible for stimulating hunger, is reduced in users of THCV. This means that THCV helps people feel more full for longer periods of time after eating.
THCV also reduces the intensity and number of food cravings that people experience while trying to lose weight. It also affects how your body digests food by reducing the amount of time it can take for your stomach to break down food and absorb the nutrients it needs. That means that you will be satisfied faster, and that will help you significantly lower the number of calories you take in.
These may be very attractive benefits for those that are focused on losing weight but patients that have struggled with eating disorders or have experienced appetite loss due to illness should avoid THCV.
Could Reduce Anxiety
THCV has been found to act on the body’s endocannabinoid system to potentially lower the amount of tension and stress that a person feels. The endocannabinoid system produces cannabinoids of its own like endocannabinoids that change how our bodies react and regulate stress.
THCV is an agonist of the endocannabinoid system, which means it binds to the receptors, such as the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and stimulates the release of endocannabinoids. This is important to maintain a healthy body stress response, which can lead to a significant reduction in anxiety.
Another reason why THCV may be so effective in treating anxiety and lowering stress is that it reduces the firing of neurons in the amygdala, the part of the brain that governs our fear and anxiety response. Using THCV can effectively reduce the intensity of the fear response, significantly lowering anxiety during stressful situations.
May Reduce the Intensity of Panic Attacks
Not only does THCV potentially reduce anxiety, but it can also may decrease the intensity and duration of panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden and intense episodes of terror and panic that can trigger severe physical responses, even if there is no danger or no apparent cause for danger.
THCV works to reduce the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone that is released by the body in response to distress or other emergency situations. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone and it sends signals to the body to increase glucose in the bloodstream, funnels glucose to the brain and regulates how your body’s stress response.
When the body’s fight or flight response is activated, such as when someone experiences a panic attack, cortisol triggers the release of glucose into your bloodstream to the muscles to trigger a surge in energy, significantly slowing down the body’s digestion to utilize all available energy, and manipulating the blood vessels so that your heart, brain, and largest muscles receive an increased blood supply.
Reducing the amount of cortisol in the body may help reduce the intensity of panic attacks by lowering the physiological panic response.
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May Help Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease
THCV has shown some potential promise in helping patients that suffer from Alzheimer’s disease by reducing some of the physical and cognitive effects that the debilitating disease brings.
The anti-inflammatory properties that THCV has may reduce the amounts of cytokines that promote inflammation in the brain. THCV has also been shown to potentially reduce amyloid plaque buildup in the brain, which is believed to be a factor in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This may lead to an improvement in an Alzheimer’s disease patient’s cognitive functioning.
Oxidative stress, caused by a buildup of free radicals in the body combined with a lack of antioxidants, is believed to be one of the contributing factors to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by damaging the cells of the body. THCV may reduce oxidative stress by reducing the number of free radicals in the body, leading to better cognitive function.
The hippocampus, which is the region of the brain that controls our ability to memorize and learn things, can also benefit from THCV by increasing the number of neural connections. This could potentially lead to significant improvements in both memory and learning for Alzheimer’s patients.
May Help Patients with Diabetes
The endocannabinoid system is also responsible for many metabolic processes in the body. Since THCV can affect the endocannabinoid system, it can also affect the way that your body reacts to glucose and insulin, making it potentially useful for diabetic patients.
THCV may help regulate an individual’s glucose levels which means that it can help diabetic patients by keeping their blood sugar at a healthy level. It also increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin which improves how a body can tolerate glucose. This leads to better-regulated blood sugar levels which is invaluable for a diabetes patient.
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Along with the appetite suppressant effects, these benefits can also help a diabetes patient shed their body fat which is another important part of diabetes mitigation and management.
THCV could help protect your neurons from the dangers of oxidative stress, which is a huge reason why neurons die in neurological disorders. The neuroprotective properties of THCV may reduce inflammation in the brain and in some cases, potentially prevent brain cell death.
Harmful reactive oxygen species, or ROS, in the brain have been linked to neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. THCV’s neuroprotective properties could significantly reduce ROS in the brain, possibly slowing down the progression of neurodegenerative illnesses. It has even been shown to be effective in treating glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor that is particularly aggressive and fast-growing.
In cases of ischemic stroke, a type of stroke where a blockage causes a lack or total absence of oxygen to the brain, THCV may help reduce the number of brain cells that die due to the ischemic emergency.
Could Promote Bone Growth
There have been some studies that suggest that THCV may increase bone growth and reduce bone resorption, which is the process by which the body breaks down and absorbs bone. THCV may stimulate the production of osteoblasts, which are the cells that form new bone tissue so that microfractures heal faster, which means fewer shin splints for you runners out there.
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The potential benefits of THCV have been explored in numerous studies and the results so far have been promising for a wide range of conditions. These benefits can range from weight loss, diabetes mitigation and management, to protecting the brain against neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
While the research into THCV is still ongoing, the beneficial effects are easy to see. THCV is also much more mild than THC is, so you do not have to worry about being overwhelmed by the effects.
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.