Cannabis is much more complicated than a plant that grows and creates powerful flowers used for medicinal and recreational purposes. As it becomes more accessible to the general population through its legalization, more research will go into its effects.
One of the most prevalent questions currently being explored when it comes to cannabis is: what is THCV?
Also known by its much longer name, Tetrahydrocannabivarin, THCV is one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis, derived from its precursor CBGVA. It is relatively new, as research into THCV only began in the 1960s and only because of interest in THC.
In fact, THCV and THC aren’t too different. Between the two, there are only a few carbon atoms worth of difference, according to Leafly.
Depending on the dosage you consume, THCV could have different effects. Consumed in lower amounts, it may be an antagonist against THC. However, in higher amounts, it could accentuate certain effects.
What’s more, you may also find that certain strains with a higher concentration of THCV will offer a more stimulating psychedelic type of high.
The Effects of THCV
As with cannabis in its base form, the effects of THCV are going to differ from person to person. Everyone is likely to have a different experience depending on their body chemistry, age, weight, tolerance, among many other factors. However, some research has gone into the overall effects of this cannabinoid.
According to Apothecarium and other sources, THCV has the ability to suppress the user’s appetite. This may lead to it being a supplement to aid in weight loss and also has the possible benefit of regulating blood sugar levels in diabetics.
THCV may also assist with promoting the health of your bones, especially in individuals dealing with osteoporosis. Some users have noted the cannabinoid has helped with spasticity, seizure-related disorders, as well as moderate neurodegenerative diseases.
As you may already know, there are also accounts where THCV helped with panic attacks, anxiety, and other symptoms of PTSD. Lastly, THCV may also be used as part of anti-inflammatory treatment.
What Is THCV and How Does It Work?
When consumed, THCV will bind to your CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are found in the ECS (endocannabinoid system). This binding process will vary based on the dosage of the individual.
As mentioned, lower doses seemingly inhibit the psychoactive effects of THC, and higher doses will exhibit a behavior that is similar to THC, which includes the feelings of euphoria. In most cases, individuals will consume THCV for its health and medicinal benefits.
You can typically find THCV in abundance in sativas, though they are common in the vast majority of strains on the market. If you’re looking for the highest concentration of THCV, it’s recommended you research strains derived from Africa.
Is THCV in “Skinny Weed”?
One of the most renowned effects of ingesting cannabis is excessive hunger, also known as “the munchies”. For individuals who are watching their weight but still require the benefits of THC, using any strain of weed can be daunting. This has led to the development of particular strains being deemed “skinny weed”.
When tested, studies have shown that THCV directly led to a weight reduction in lean mice. These effects are only shown when THCV is used in smaller doses to inhibit the effects of THC. Not only did the mice show a reduction in the food consumed but also in their body weight.
Then again, consuming THCV does not entirely eliminate hunger. The mice that were actually hungry (not hungry as a result of the munchies) consumed the same amount of food, whether they ingested THCV or not. The study also didn’t show a drastic shift in weight loss with obese mice. On a positive note, it did assist with insulin resistance.
It is easy to assume that dosing is the main factor in these studies. At lower doses than what was tested, would the mice be less likely to consume food and experience more weight loss? This has yet to be studied but is cause for speculation.
The Pros and Cons of THCV
Once you understand what THCV is and how it works in the human body, it is important to consider the pros and cons of actually consuming it.
Before taking any type of cannabinoid, it’s recommended you speak with your doctor. After all, the dosage is important, as it can interact with other medications you are prescribed to take.
Mental and Physical Health Benefits
There is a lot of research going into whether THCV is a reliable supplementary treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD, mobility issues, and diabetes. Based on user accounts and basic studies (as cited above), this cannabinoid has brought a couple of benefits to the table.
The more research that goes into THCV, the more information we’ll have about whether it’s a reliable treatment option for mental and physical illnesses.
Multiple Consumption Options
Similar to CBD, there are plenty of ways for you to ingest THCV, though it’s not offered in a stand-alone oil.
You’ll first have to find a strain of cannabis with a high concentration of THCV, such as African landrace strains. Then, you can decide whether to take it orally, sublingually, or through inhalation.
May Counteract the Effects of THC
When taken in the correct dosage, THCV can counteract the effects of THC, which many users aren’t interested in. These effects include the psychedelic and euphoric feeling of being “high”. In addition, higher doses can amplify your high and give you a heightened state of euphoria.
There is very little research on cannabis and its cannabinoids. Consuming them is entirely at your own risk, and each person’s experience will differ. Dosing can also be difficult, especially if you’ve never consumed marijuana before.
THCV does have the ability to heighten your high, but it also cuts the amount of time you feel euphoric in half, especially in larger doses. If you’re interested in something with a longer duration, it’s recommended that you stick to a strain that you are used to.
Over the coming years, you’ll notice that a lot of additional research will go into learning more about what is THCV. With all of the assumed benefits of this cannabinoid, it could easily be far more beneficial and useful than using CBD on its own.
With physical and mental health benefits, there is a possibility that THCV can assist with treating anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic and acute pain, among many other ailments.