WHAT IS THCV?
First detected and identified as a cannabinoid by Edward Gill in 1970, Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or TCHV (C19H26O2,) represents another fate the mother cannabinoid of CBGA can take within the plant. Instead of combining with olivetolic acid, it meets up with divirinic acid during its synthesis in the plant, and becomes THCV. The primary difference? A three-carbon (instead of five-carbon) side chain.
It should be noted that similar to delta-9 THC, THCV has a carboxylic/acidic precursor, named THCVA. Structurally speaking, in the family tree of cannabis compounds, THCA is somewhat like THCV’s aunt or uncle.
CAN IT GET ME HIGH?
Only very slightly. This cannabinoid is generally regarded as an antagonist to the body’s CB1 receptors, although in higher concentrations, it can also act as an agonist. Overall, it has a third or a fourth of the effects of delta-9 THC — another “diet weed” molecule.
Just like THC, THCV is also being sucked into the delta-8 revolution, which means that yes, you can find the delta-8 version of THCV if you look hard enough. Just like delta-8 THC, this is a lab-created product, and there isn’t really a lot known about it. Everything we’re writing about in this piece focuses on delta-9 THCV, so while one might be able to carry on an apples-to-apples transference of effects between TCHV isomers, it simply may not hold in every case. And once again, be careful, especially with synthetic cannabinoids, no matter if they come from hemp or weed. It’s the same plant at the end of the day.
WILL THCV SHOW UP ON A DRUG TEST?
Highly likely. THCV metabolizes into tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid, or THCV-COOH, a molecule roughly similar to the delta-9 metabolite THC-COOH. A 2001 paper suggested that the presence of THCV-COOH could be used by drug testers to distinguish between cannabis ingestion and Marinol, a legal pharmaceutical pure THC product, even though it exited the body faster than THC in the test subjects used.
Due in no small part to THCV’s antagonistic effect on CB1 receptors, it has long been targeted as a potential appetite suppressant, with several preliminary studies attesting to its hypophagic properties (that means undereating, FYI.). The good news is that for now, THCV doesn’t possess the gnarly side effects of drugs like rimonabant, which was yanked off the market after it created suicidal thoughts in those who took it.
Last year a paper examined the effects of a number of cannabinoids on bone marrow stem cells. In particular, THCV helps to increase the number of these cells, which alongside CBG and CBD could assist in processes linked with diabetes prevention from aging.
Similar to CBD, THCV may also assist in seizure control, as a study conducted upon rat brain tissue showed solutions of this cannabinoid reducing the amplitude and frequency of convulsant incidents.
Because of its ability to trigger changes in CB2 and inhibit CB1, THCV has been explored for suppression of symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease.
Interest in this cannabinoid has been particularly sharp in the underground, with THC-heavy strains such as Durban Poison, Doug’s Varin and Jack the Ripper, and even discussion of different concentrates and extracts coming online in legal markets — both in delta-9 and even delta-8 varieties. We in particular are intrigued by its promise in digestion and diabetes prevention, and intend to watch its development closely.