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What is THCV? Benefits, Uses, and Potential Side Effects Explained

THCV or tetrahydrocannabivarin is one of hundreds of cannabinoids found in cannabis plants and is most often derived from cannabis sativa extract. It is often called a “diet weed” for its properties to help curb cravings and boost energy. In…

THCV or tetrahydrocannabivarin is one of hundreds of cannabinoids found in cannabis plants and is most often derived from cannabis sativa extract. It is often called a “diet weed” for its properties to help curb cravings and boost energy. In this article we will delve deep to answer some of the most popular questions about THCV: What are the potential therapeutic benefits of using THCV? Does THCV make you high?

What is THCV?

THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) is a cannabinoid derived from cannabis plants and has unique properties that significantly differ from other cannabinoids like THC or CBD. It is found in smaller quantities than CBD in cannabis plants, it is getting more and more attention for its properties in the scientific and medical communities. The research on THCV is ongoing and it is crucial to fully understand the unique properties and potential of THCV.

THCV interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which regulates various physiological processes, including mood, appetite and even body weight. By interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors differently than THC, it provides a different effect.

THCV vs THC

THCV and THC have a similar chemical structure, but THCV has a propyl group instead of a pentyl group, which leads to different effects. THC produces a strong ‘high’ by activating the CB1 receptors in the brain, but unlike THC, THCV does the opposite – it blocks the CB1 receptors and can reduce THC’s psychoactive effects. As it interacts differently with CB1 receptors, it leads to different effects.

Does THCV suppress appetite?

Most people associate cannabis and its products like CBD with increased appetite, however, THCV may have a different effect and even help with weight loss. Whilst the THCV and cannabis research is based on rodent studies, it is theorised that THCV blocks the CB1 receptor, which is associated with food reward and hunger, so taking THCV could lead to reduced appetite and weight gain. Its unique interaction with the ECS allows it to reduce hunger and support metabolic health. As with any supplement, it is important to choose high-quality products and consult with a healthcare provider to ensure safe and effective use.

THC has shown the potential to regulate blood sugar levels in animal studies. A study on rodents in 2020 found that THCV impacted glucose metabolism, which lead higher performance of glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. This could be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes as it could improve insulin sensitivity. However, before considering taking any supplements for health conditions, consult a healthcare provider.

Does THCV have psychoactive effects?

One of the most common questions about THCV is ‘Is THCV psychoactive?’. The answer is yes, THCV may have mildly psychoactive effects, but they differ from THC. In low doses, THCV blocks the CB1 receptor and acts as an appetite suppressant, however, in higher doses it may produce a mild psychoactive effect.

THCV potential therapeutic benefit

Neuroprotective benefits of THCV

Early research on rodents suggests that THCV may offer neuroprotective benefits and could help decrease signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. THCV effects may help reduce oxidative stress in the body and inflammation in the brain, which could help slow the disease progression. However, the research is done only on rodents and cultured tissues, and may not translate to humans, but the research in this area is promising.

Anti-inflammatory THC-V benefits

One of the beneficial effects of THCV is its anti-inflammatory effects, which could help treat inflammatory pain. By reducing the inflammation, THCV could alleviate pain symptoms. Its analgesic effects could be effective in managing other pain without the intense psychoactive effects of THC.

A potential therapeutic benefit of THCV may include bone growth. Some research indicates that THCV may promote the growth of new bone cells, and is being researched for osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions.

How to use THCV?

Before starting a regimen of any cannabis-derived product, carefully read the instructions and start with a recommended dose. After a couple of weeks, you can slowly increase the dose to achieve desired results. If you have any health conditions or use other medication, consult your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.

THCV side effects

Generally, THCV is considered safe, however, like any other supplement, it may cause some side effects, especially if used in higher doses. If consumed in higher doses, THCV may cause a mild euphoria, or anxiety and jitteriness. One of the most common side effects of taking any cannabis products is the feeling of dry mouth, as the use of cannabinoids often reduces saliva production.

THCV cannabinoid may interact with other medications, so before taking any supplement it is important to seek professional medical advice.

Is THCV legal?

The first state to legalise medical use of cannabis plants was California in 1996. Now the medical use of the cannabis plant is legalised in 40 states. Medical or recreational use of the cannabis plant has been approved in 24 states and the District of Columbia.

However, the legal status of THCV is a grey area. The United States Farm Bill in 2018 legalised the cultivation of medical cannabis variety plants and their derivatives, as long as the marijuana products have >0.3% THC. This means that consuming THCV can be considered legal as long as it has less than 0.3% THC, however, individual states might ban the use of THCV, so check your local laws before purchasing any THCV products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does THCV help with anxiety?

THCV may help manage symptoms of anxiety and promote relaxation, but more research is needed to fully understand its efficacy and safety. However, if consumed in higher doses, it may have a negative effect and increase the feeling of anxiety.

Can you drive on THCV?

It is not recommended to drive if you take THCV, because even though it is not as psychoactive as THC. It’s always best to avoid driving or tasks that require fine motor skills if you take supplements that may have a psychoactive effect.

Is THCV safe?

THCV is generally safe to consume if taken in low doses. However, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or are taking any other medications, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.

Resources:

  1. García, C., Palomo‐Garo, C., García‐Arencibia, M., Ramos, J.A., Pertwee, R.G. and Fernández‐Ruiz, J., 2011. Symptom‐relieving and neuroprotective effects of the phytocannabinoid Δ9‐THCV in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), pp.1495-1506.
  2. Idris, A.I. and Ralston, S.H., 2012. Role of cannabinoids in the regulation of bone remodeling. Frontiers in endocrinology, 3, p.136.
  3. Abioye, A., Ayodele, O., Marinkovic, A., Patidar, R., Akinwekomi, A. and Sanyaolu, A., 2020. Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): a commentary on potential therapeutic benefit for the management of obesity and diabetes. Journal of cannabis research, 2, pp.1-6.
  4. Wargent, E. T., Zaibi, M. S., Silvestri, C., Hislop, D. C., Stocker, C. J., Stott, C. G., … & Cawthorne, M. A. (2013). The cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) ameliorates insulin sensitivity in two mouse models of obesity. Nutrition & diabetes3(5), e68-e68.
  5. Thomas, A., Stevenson, L. A., Wease, K. N., Price, M. R., Baillie, G., Ross, R. A., & Pertwee, R. G. (2005). Evidence that the plant cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin is a cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonist. British journal of pharmacology146(7), 917.Chicago
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