THCV is a chemical compound in cannabis that has a similar molecular structure as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), missing only two carbon atoms to be just like its much popular “chemical cousin”.
THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) is similar to THC on a molecular level but its effects are quite different. It affects the CB1 and CB2 receptors as antagonist, which does a lot more than get you high. Scientific research has come to the conclusion that THCV has the potential to reduce your hunger and relax your body by acting as an antagonist to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It may also aid with tremors, brain lesions, and motor control associate with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as reduce panic attacks. THCV has also shown strong potential to stimulate bone growth, and also regulate blood sugar levels in users with diabetes.
But there is a significant difference between the THCV and THC, especially in the effect that they produce.
Depending on the amount taken, THCV can act the same as THC, or act completely differently.
Some studies report that lower doses of this powerful cannabinoid cause it to act as an antagonist of the cannabinoid receptors, meaning that THCV is not psychoactive in those cases. It actually suppresses the psychoactive effect of THC.
On the other hand, at higher doses THCV can act as an agonist, and produce not just similar, but significantly stronger high than THC. It is speculated that the extra uplifting but clear-headed buzz that some sativa strains produce is the result of “THCV force”.
Another significant attribute of THCV strains is the immediate strike of energy after just a couple of puffs, that lasts about half of the duration of the THC high. That’s the reason why an eminent Californian testing lab calls it “the sports car of cannabinoids”.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV, has gained some fame lately due to its high potency, rarity and promising medicinal value. Anyone interested in trying it has a few strains to choose from.
Medical properties of THCV
THCV has been praised for many medical benefits. Some are scientifically-backed, some need further testing in studies with a wider range of participants.
Here is a list of plausible medical benefits of THCV:
- It is an appetite suppressant (and now the term “skinny pot” makes sense). Unlike THC, which is a powerful appetite stimulant, THCV can diminish food cravings and remove the pleasant feeling that all of us have when we eat something delicious (in my case, it is always cake).
- THCV may be used in diabetes treatment. Some research suggests that this cannabinoid can help in lowering blood sugar by improving a patient’s insulin resistance.
- Anticonvulsant properties of THCV can help in treating the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
- Antipsychotic effects of THCV can reduce anxiety attacks and potentially improve the symptoms of schizophrenia.
- THCV (together with cannabidiol, cannabinol, cannabidivarin and THC) has been reported to stimulate bone growth and collagen production.
- THCV has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as a pain treatment (together with CBD and THC)
Strains That Are High In THCV
While commonly attributed to sativas, an article in the American Journal of Botany found that all the strains analyzed—sativa, indica or ditchweed—contained THCV. They analyzed 157 cannabis plants from all over the world, and found high levels of THCV in plants from Southern Africa and parts of Afghanistan.
The highest-testing flower for THCV at the 2014 High Times Seattle U.S. Cannabis Cup was Durban Poison by TJ’S Organic Gardens, which took third place in the U.S. Sativa category. THCV was almost 1 % of the flowers’ total mass.
GSC, formerly known as Girl Scout Cookies, is a prodigy of two immensely popular strains: OG Kush and Durban Poison. The high you get from this strain will hit you straight away, and it is an uncommon combination of euphoria and relaxation at the same time. Because of the high level of THC and traceable amount of THCV (thanks to Durban Poison origins), GSC has been equally popular among medical and recreational users.
Skunk #1 also have a significant content.
Two strains have been specifically bred for high THCV content, Doug’s Varin and Willie Nelson, but they aren’t very common.
If you haven’t heard about this strain before, you are not alone. Doug’s Varin is a rare, premium Sativa strain that is specially bred for high THCV content.
It is one more descendant of Durban Poison, but a few more African strains have been mixed in the process: Malawi Gold, Swazi Landrace and additional strains that remain a “botanist’s secret”.
This strain has been introduced to the cannabis market in 2013, after more than 40,000 iterations that preceded the discovery of this THCV powerhouse.
It contains 3% THCV which is the highest available concentration of THCV in one strain.
Doug’s Varin has an earthy, citrusy scent and energizing cerebral effect that doesn’t last long (thanks to the large concentration of THCV).
If you are looking for a product that contains the highest level of THCV, look no further. Doug’s Varin offers vape pens that have 25-30% of THCV.
This Sativa strain has been named after the popular country musician and a long-time weed advocate, Willie Nelson, who presumably tried it once and immediately bought the entire first crop.
Willie Nelson is a cross-breed of different South Asia Sativa strains and Highland Nepalese landrace strains.
After winning the Best Sativa prize during the 2005 High Times Cannabis Cup, Willie Nelson has grown in popularity among medical and recreational cannabis smokers.
The effect of Willie Nelson is similar to any classic Sativa dominant hybrid. It is a perfect wake and bake strain, that induces euphoric cerebral high and desire for social interaction.
Although it is notably reported that Willie Nelson has above-the-average content of THCV, we were unable to find reliable data on the actual THCV level.