A non-intoxicating cannabinoid molecule that interacts with both CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, among other targets in the body. It is typically found in cannabis only in trace amounts and its effects in humans are not well understood.
“Is THCV a cannabinoid I should look out for?”
“This strain is high in THCV as well as THC and CBD.”
More About THCV
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is one of several phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, that are neither as prominent nor as well researched as the major phytocannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THCV derives from cannabigerovarin acid (CBGVA), one of two central cannabinoid precursors along with cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Enzymes take CBGVA and convert them into acidic cannabinoids that include THCVA, which decarboxylates into the active compound THCV when exposed to heat or light.
Cannabinoids interact with the human body by way of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a system of cannabinoid receptors, messenger molecules, and enzymes that play a role in maintaining the body’s homeostasis, or internal regulatory balance. Phytocannabinoids interact with our body’s cannabinoid receptors and other targets to produce psychoactive and therapeutic effects.
Though lesser known and less prominent than THC and CBD, THCV has several potential therapeutic benefits, and may contribute to the psychoactivity of THC.
How THCV Works
Like all other phytocannabinoids, THCV is synthesized in the cannabis trichomes, the glandular hairs found on the surface of the plant. THCV binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, the most studied cannabinoid receptors in the body.
Is THCV Psychoactive?
THCV’s psychoactive potential is complex, and largely dependent upon dosing. Low doses of THCV act as a neutral antagonist at CB1 receptors, where THC activates psychotropic effects, and may therefore inhibit the intoxication associated with THC, a CB1 receptor agonist, or activator. A neutral antagonist will inhibit the action of both agonist and antagonist compounds. As only trace amounts of THCV are found in most cultivars, a consumer is unlikely to experience any of its inhibiting effects on THC intoxication.
Though more research is needed to fully understand the effects of THCV on the human body, several studies, both on animal and human subjects, have identified a variety of potential therapeutic uses for the cannabinoid:
- Anti-inflammatory: A 2010 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that THCV decreased signs of inflammation and inflammatory pain in mice.
- Neuroprotective: A 2011 study on rats, also published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, concluded that THCV’s ability to activate CB2 receptors while inhibiting CB1 receptors imbue the cannabinoid with neuroprotective properties that may be useful in treating Parkinson’s disease.
- Anticonvulsant: A 2010 study conducted in rat models and published in the journal Epilepsia revealed that THCV may be able to reduce seizure activity in epileptic subjects.
- Glucose regulation: Animal studies have shown that THCV has the potential to regulate glucose levels, which could be helpful in treating diabetes. A 2016 study that tested the effects of THCV and CBD on 62 subjects with type 2 diabetes found that THCV indeed has potential to treat symptoms of the disease by controlling glucose activity.
- Bone health: THCV is one of several cannabinoids that may promote bone health and healing by acting at CB2 receptors in the bone marrow, according to a study published in 2007 by Calcified Tissue International.