Scientific research around cannabis is broadening our understanding not only of CBD and THC, but also other plant-based cannabinoids - like THCV. While THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is similar in molecular structure to THC, this compound offers a unique list of effects and medical benefits that set it apart from cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
Often dubbed "diet weed", THCV is derived from cannabis and may produce psychoactive effects, similar to THC, if taken in high amounts, but the similarity in the effects of the cannabinoid seemingly ends there. Many cannabis advocates believe it could help curb the negative effects of THC, including overindulging in munchies and anxiety.
Here's a deep dive into THCV including benefits of THCV, effects of THCV, and the legality of THCV.
The Down and Dirty Science of THCV: The Difference Between THCV vs THC
As mentioned, despite the similarity in name and appearance, THCV and THC are quite different. THCV is an analog of THC which means they look alike but behave differently in the ECS (endocannabinoid system).
A notable difference between THCV and THC is the length of the hydrocarbon chain. THC's longer hydrocarbon chain offers a high that's more intense and typically longer in duration.
Both THC and THCV are formed via chemical reactions among other acids and enzymes within the cannabis plant. Most common phytocannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, are derived from cannabigerol acid (CBGA). CBGA is created when geranyl pyrophosphate has a chemical reaction with olivetolic acid.
THCV is derived from cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA). CBGVA is created when geranyl pyrophosphate interacts with divarinolic acid, rather than olivetolic acid.
From there, both CBGVA and CBGA undergo reactions with THC synthetase. Then, they must go through decarboxylation to form THC or THCV.
A note for vape users: THCV has a boiling point of 428 °F (220 °C), so you’ll need to turn it up higher than you would THC.
The Effects and Benefits of THCV
THCV has a strong energy-boosting component to it, which makes it especially popular among outdoorsmen and athletes. Psychoactive effects are generally only felt if THCV is consumed in large quantities (think 10mg and above) and are typically felt in much shorter durations thanks to the length of the THCV's hydrocarbon chain. Many users often feel more alert, awake, and clear-headed when using THCV.
While THCV is still undergoing continued research, studies are continually released that show promising results.
THCV as an appetite suppressant
This might be a surprising finding given THC's notable side effect, but research is suggesting THCV actually reduces hunger pangs. We recommend THCV for intermittent fasters for that reason.
THCV may help with diabetes
Research suggests THCV may have an added ability to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.
THCV may reduce panic attacks
Unlike THC which can cause some to experience anxiety, THCV appears to lower anxiety attacks in PTSD patients without dulling emotions.
THCV may stimulate bone growth
THCV is being studied for its effects on osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions because it promotes the growth of bone cells.
Other promising effects of THCV
While the research is still fairly new, there is evidence to suggest that THCV can also benefit:
- Parkison's disease
- Bacterial inflammation
- Fatty liver disease
As mentioned, the research is still new and continues to change, but the benefits certainly look promising.
Will THCV Get Me High?
In small amounts, THCV most likely won't produce mind-altering, psychoactive effects. As discussed above, THCV may actually counteract some of the effects of THC, including reducing your high, thanks to its propensity to block the CB1 receptors (the receptors THC bind to) in our ECS. In large doses, THCV can produce a "high".
THCV is somewhat psychoactive but only about 25% as strong as Delta 9 THC and about 50% as potent as Delta 8 THC.
Due to its shorter molecular chain, a THCV-induced high may not be as intense or last as long. However, many cannabis consumers in states without recreational laws find THCV cannabis an acceptable alternative to traditional marijuana until legalization happens.
Is THCV Legal?
As hemp became legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, it opened the door for gray areas in legal cannabis sales. Many cannabis retailers in states without a recreational marijuana program now sell THCV-heavy strains derived from hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill classified THC, cannabimimetic agents, and tetrahydrocannabinols as Schedule 1 controlled substances.
However, THCV is not outlined as one of the phytocannabinoids of concern.
THCV isn't considered cannabimimetic because it doesn't perform the same functions as THC. Since it's not derived from THC, THCV cannot be considered a tetrahydrocannabinol.
The unique genesis of THCV has given this molecule a pass in states with less stringent cannabis laws. It also exists in low amounts in most American-grown hemp plants, which makes it less of a priority for many lawmakers.
However, with the increased popularity of THCV, changes are always possible in the future. The ongoing demand for cannabis products might cause stricter regulation and promote THCV to be defined as a controlled substance.
As we discussed earlier, THC and THCV molecules have similar genetic makeups. Since THCV could be considered an analog of THC the legality can get complicated. The legislation classifies THC analogs as controlled substances.
So, is THCV legal? Depends on the laws in your area. We suggest researching any local cannabis laws before making THCV purchases.
Will THCV Cause Me to Fail a Drug Test?
Many marijuana drug tests test for THC metabolite levels, however, others will look for THCV content. Keep in mind that detectable traces of THCV can linger in the system for up to two weeks according to one study which observed non-marijuana smokers; however, only 50% of those who consumed THCV had any noticeable levels.
In other words, THCV might not be sensitive enough to show up on current types of drug tests. More research is needed on this topic before making a conclusion. For now, we recommend steering clear of THCV if you have an upcoming drug test.
Our Final Thoughts on THCV
THCV is becoming an increasingly popular choice among outdoorsmen, athletes, and go-getters alike to help with energy, inflammation, mood, and overall wellness.
If you’re looking to integrate THCV into your daily wellness routine, but can’t find a brand you favor – you've come to the right place. Soothe Organic takes pride in our products and ingredients, ensuring every salve, oil, and cream is held to a high standard leaving you with results. You can shop our favorite THCV gummies, here.
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