To learn about other cannabinoids go to our Cannabinoid Dictionary page.
What is THCV?
THCV, or Tetrahydrocannabivarin, is considered a minor cannabinoid; while it isn’t minor in its effects. This cannabinoid only shows up in low concentrations in certain sativas. Aside from that, there’s nothing minor about THCV.
THCV vs. THC
Although they sound similar, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is more than just one letter away from being delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In fact, these similar-sounding cannabinoids are completely different molecules with completely different chemical structures.
Molecular Structure Difference
Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabivarin is a cannabinoid that has some exciting potential. As a homolog of THC, it has a different molecular structure. THCV has a 3-carbon side-chain versus a 5-carbon side chain. This minor difference can really impact how the cannabinoid interacts with the body.
Their differences start in how they are formed during the phases of the cannabis plant’s life cycle. THCV is derived from divarinic acid, in which, through a series of complex conversions, THCV is formed during the flowering stage. CBD and THC on the other hand, are formed through olivetolic acid. Oddly, THC is more closely related to CBD than THCV. Go figure. But such are the wonders of the hemp plant.
Research on THCV
Unlike some other minor cannabinoids, this one has been the subject of more study and research. There is animal test research that shows possible benefits such as reducing appetite. This could be helpful for people who are using THC for medicinal benefits but are not wanting the urge to eat along with it. Interest in THCV is creating the moniker “diet weed” as it could be utilized as an appetite suppressive as it potentially blocks the hormone that triggers the feeling of hunger.
Interaction within Endocannabinoid System
We do know that THCV interacts with the CB1 receptor, making it more difficult for other molecules to bind. This detail is theorized as the reason why THCV seems to have a mitigating effect on the psychotropic impacts of THC. In addition, THCV in high doses is reported to have its own psychotropic impact, though there is only anecdotal evidence thus far.
There is also much excitement about the possibility of using THCV in treating type 2 diabetes, where research shows that it can help improve glycemic control. There is a myriad of potential benefits to this cannabinoid, ranging from mental health support to bone protection, but more research is needed for us to know more.