What is THCV?

Marijuana leaves being trimmed

Photo by Crystalweed Cannabis via unsplash.com

Cannabis is a wonderfully complex plant that, thus far, has been found to host over 113 different cannabinoids. One of those cannabinoids in question is THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin.

Boasting many of the attributes we’ve come to know and love from the cannabis plant as a whole, plus plenty of unique and beneficial properties of its own, THCV is the latest cannabinoid to attract some attention within the cannabis industry.

THCV is generating a lot of buzz, prompting people to ask: What are the benefits of THCV? How does it make you feel? Is THCV legal? Where can you get it? We’ll take a look at these answers and more as we dive into the world of tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC V.)

What is THCV?

THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a cannabinoid found within the cannabis (or hemp) plant. Like its cannabinoid cousins THC and CBD, THCV reacts with the body’s cannabinoid receptor system called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.

THCV binds with both the CB1 receptors (or cannabis receptor type one, which can be found in the central nervous system) and CB2 receptors (or cannabis receptor type two, which can be found in the immune system) to produce various physical and physiological effects throughout the body.

What Are the Effects of THCV?

While most cannabinoids have both recreational and medicinal effects, some can be more effective at one or the other. In this case, THCV is gearing up to be a contender for one of the strongest potential medicinal cannabinoids found so far.

  • THCV has been linked to glucose regulation and has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, making it useful to those with insulin-dependent diseases like diabetes.

  • THCV is considered an appetite-suppressant (in contrast with THC which is notoriously known for being an appetite-stimulant) that can help with certain eating disorders like binge-eating and obesity. But should be avoided when dealing with other eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

  • THCV has been shown to help with anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder.)

  • THCV has shown promise in bone cell regeneration, making it an excellent therapeutic tool for people who suffer from bone diseases like osteoporosis.

  • THCV is neuroprotective and is suitable for brain health, which can be preventative for memory loss-related ailments like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

  • THCV is an anti-convulsant and has been shown to help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures and muscle tremors associated with chronic illnesses like epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease.

  • THCV, like most other cannabinoids, is anti-inflammatory in nature and can aid with both short-term and long-term pain relief.

  • THCV has been shown to have anti-psychotic effects making it helpful for hallucination or delusion-oriented mental illnesses like schizophrenia or severe bipolar disorder.

*It’s very important to note that research on THCV has been limited so far (we can thank America’s slow-moving legality for that.) Because of this, there is still much more that must be learned about the full and long-term effects of tetrahydrocannabivarin. All research is anecdotal and based on user experience. Please consult with a medical professional if you plan on trying THCV for yourself*

What Are the Benefits of THCV?

Although THCV benefits is still being researched, early studies and anecdotal user evidence have proven THCV to be of significant potential medicinal and recreational value to cannabis users.

Some benefits of THCV include:

  • Mood elevation

  • Increased energy

  • Appetite-suppressant

  • Anti-convulsant properties

  • Anti-inflammatory properties

  • Improved cognitive function and clarity

The more THCV is studied, the more scientists will be able to harness its unique potential medicinal benefits. But, for now, THCV is still great to use as a recreational addition to your regular THC or CBD routine.

Does THCV Get You High?

Down to the most important question: does THCV get you high? Well, this answer depends.

Since THCV is found in such trace quantities in the hemp plant, you need a lot of it to really feel the full effects––and finding pure THCV is hard to do. In high quantities, THCV can have mild psychoactive effects, but since THCV is so scarce, to begin with, you’re unlikely to consume a strain that doesn’t also have Delta-9 THC in it as well. This means that by default, consuming strains heavy in THCV will most likely contain enough regular THC to get you high regardless.

This doesn’t mean you can’t isolate the THCV experience––users who have reported feeling psychoactive effects from THCV have described it as more of an energizing and uplifting “high” than traditional strains of THC. Some users have even likened the effects of THCV to caffeine, giving them the benefits of energy and mental clarity without the negative downsides like jitters or stomach problems that oftentimes come along with it.

Will You Pass a Drug Test on THCV?

No, you will not pass a drug test on THCV. Since tetrahydrocannabivarin is still a form of THC, it will trigger a positive result on a drug test just like Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC, and even some potent strains of CBD.

What’s the Difference Between THCV and Delta-9 THC?

Although THCV and Delta-9 THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) are very molecularly similar (hence both share THC in their name), they still have some notable differences. And though they are similar in molecular structure. They are not quite identical.

Important differences to note between THCV and THC include:

  • Quantity: THC is way more prevalent throughout the cannabis plant than THCV, which is found only in trace amounts. To really feel the full effects of THCV, it’s crucial to get a THCV heavy strain. This also makes THC’s effects stronger than THCV’s effects overall.

  • Each cannabinoid reacts differently with your CB1 receptors. THC, the most widely known psychoactive cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, turns on your CB1 receptors, stimulating your appetite. By contrast, THCV turns off your CB1 receptors, making it an appetite suppressant.

  • THCV has a higher boiling point than THC (428°F/220°C for THCV versus 315°F/157°C for THC), so if you plan on smoking or vaping it, you’re going to have to turn up the temperature.

How Do You Take THCV?

THCV is still being studied and explored, so at this time there are limited ways to ingest THCV. If you want pure THCV (or close to it), your best bet at this point is to go with an oil tincture.

Mostly, you’ll find THCV present in strains that already contain THC. THCV heavy strains will, more times than not, also be heavy in THC.

This doesn’t mean you can’t create your own routine; THCV is commonly mixed with other cannabinoids to accentuate certain attributes. For example, THCV can be mixed with CBD oil to produce more of a calming experience with less emphasis on a psychoactive experience. While, if you’re a fan of getting high, delta-9, or even Delta-8 THC might be the better choice.

Is THCV Legal?

Because there is so much gray area around which cannabinoids are considered legal or not, this answer is constantly changing. To make sure you’re always using cannabis safely, it’s important to make sure that you’re always researching your specific state’s up-to-date cannabis laws.

THCV is legal on a federal level, falling into the category of hemp extracts that became legal when the Farm Bill was passed in 2018. On a state-by-state level, though, this is different.

As of the writing of this article (October 2021), THCV is legal in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

As of the writing of this article (October 2021), THCV is illegal in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont

Where is THCV available?

THCV is a relatively newly discovered cannabinoid, making it a little bit harder to find (for now.) Since the laws surrounding THCV and other 2018 Farm Bill “loophole” cannabinoids still reside in a grey area, the best way to find THCV is online. If you live in a state where THCV is legal, you can purchase THCV online and ship it directly to your door.

From research done so far, it’s been found that sativas grown in Africa are the strains with the highest amount of THCV. Most of thema re classified as high THCV strains. This resulted from their cannabis plant ancestors being selectively bred for their THCV content because of their appetite-suppressing qualities, which was important to locals fighting mass hunger in the area. This doesn’t mean you have to get THCV strains straight from Africa––thanks to science, strains heavy in THCV are being grown worldwide. Some strains high in THCV being grown so far include:

  • Doug’s Varin
  • Purple Pineapple
  • Durban Poison
  • Durban Cheese
  • Red Congolese
  • Skunk #1
  • Power Plant
  • Willie Nelson
  • Jack the Ripper

Remember, there is still a lot of research to be done on THCV. Therefore, when you’re looking to buy THCV, it’s important to do your own due diligence on the companies from which you are buying these products. Please make sure that you’re buying legitimate THCV products (beware of fakes!) from a reputable company that is transparent and forthcoming in their growing processes, cultivation processes, and lab-testing processes.

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