As its name suggests, THCV is similar to THC in molecular structure and psychoactive properties, but it provides a variety of pronounced and altogether different effects.
Beyond the medical and therapeutic potential of THCV, consumers are increasingly turning to high-THCV strains for their energizing, stimulating and uplifting effects. And no wonder; cultivars with high levels of THCV tend to share a genetic lineage with landrace sativas known for their invigorating highs.
Does THCV Get You High?
THC binds directly to the CB1 receptor (located in the brain) to cause psychoactive effects. In low doses, THCV is an antagonist at both cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). This means that THCV does not cause psychoactive effects when taken in low doses. However, when taken in high doses, THCV acts as a CB1 agonist and therefore causes psychoactive effects.
But it’s important to note that THCV itself is not psychoactive. THCV appears to slightly reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. That alone makes THCV-rich strains an attractive choice for consumers seeking a high-functioning experience. And for those who use cannabis as part of their workouts and wellness regimes, THCV’s ability to quiet the pangs of problematic munchies make it a worthy companion to diet and exercise.
What is THCV Good For?
As much as THCV has a similar structure to THC, it produces very different effects in the body. Preliminary investigations have showed the following therapeutic benefits of THCV:
- Appetite suppression
- Lowers blood glucose and improves diabetes
- Reduces anxiety and panic attacks
- May help with Alzheimer’s disease
- Stimulates bone growth
THCV strains you should know about
With all the benefits this cannabinoid boasts, you’re probably wondering why there aren’t more high-THCV strains and cannabis products out there. THCV’s relative rarity makes it not only hard to find but difficult and costly to isolate and extract.
Still, there are a handful of cannabis cultivars that are naturally high in THCV, and almost all of them stem from landrace sativas originating in Africa. They may be harder to track down, but they’re worth the extra effort. If the many benefits of tetrahydrocannabivarin appeal to you, here are five high-THCV strains you need to know about.
The cultivation of Doug’s Varin, likely the highest THC strain available today, appears to have been a happy accident. David Lampach, co-founder of Doug’s Varin (now owned by Oakland, California-based California Cannabinoids), said the original cultivar stemmed from a Harlequin parent. When the company identified the cultivar’s high THCV content, it began using it to develop a family of THCV-rich strains ranging from 3% to 6% THCV.
Today, Doug’s Varin is the strain of choice for many concentrates and extract manufacturers producing products such as tinctures and vape pens with very high levels of THCV.
This venerable strain has been around since the 1970s and is still widely available. That’s why it’s at the top of our list. While it’s not a THCV powerhouse like strains that have bred for that purpose, it has five times more THCV content (around 1%) than most weed you’ll be able to find. Durban Poison typically has between 15-25% THC, but THCV moderates the high so it delivers a cerebral, clear-head sort of effect.
This pure Sativa is great for daytime use because, despite its Sativa content, it usually doesn’t give you an overwhelming couch-lock. It’s an excellent strain for patients fighting depression, anxiety (THCV helps with that one), nausea and most types of chronic pain.
This strain is a mostly Sativa cannabis strain that is well known for its creative, euphoric effects. Consumers quite often stop their choice on this strain and state that it leaves them clear-headed, thereby allowing them to perform artistic or social activities without any problems. Willie Nelson provides people with uplifted, happy, euphoric, and creative effects. It can also help with stress, depression, and anxiety. The possible negative effects of this strain include dry mouth and eyes according to the reviews from users.
Power Plant is derived from powerful South African sativa strains. While many sativas are good choices for a clear-headed buzz, this plant’s high THC content makes it powerful. It makes some users happy and creative, though effects may verge on too intoxicating for some.
This is a sativa landrace strain that hails from the African continent- Malawi. It causes an energetic buzz that is mentally stimulating and uplifting. It is loaded with THCV and can be used to suppress appetite as well as facilitate weight loss.
Skunk #1 is another award winning strain from the Skunk family. It was originally bred by Sacred Seed Co. as a cross between Afghani landrace, Colombian Gold, and Acapulco Gold. It has the typical skunky marijuana smell and causes a high energy buzz. It has high amounts of THCV.
Girl Scout Cookies
You should be able to find this one, too; it’s a huge favorite among medical users. THC is usually at or above 20-25%, CBD and CBN levels are high as is the THCV content since this Indica-dominant strain boasts Durban’s Poison as one of its parents. There’s a fast and impressive combination of relaxation and euphoria, and you should expect to spend a good amount of time-locked to the couch.
All of those factors make GSC a terrific therapeutic strain of weed. Chronic pain, stress, muscle cramps, and migraines will all succumb to its effects, and it also provides the appetite suppressant effects you’d expect from a high-THCV strain.
You may believe THCV is the needle-in-a-haystack cannabinoid, but don’t lose hope. You don’t necessarily have to go looking for exotic strains like Doug’s Varin or Willie Nelson to find some of this strange cannabinoid—but don’t let us stop you.