THCV: The Sports Car of Cannabinoids

THCV-2Extracting cannabinoids in preparation for liquid chromatography (LC) analysis.

The cannabis plant makes most cannabinoids, like THC, CBD, and CBC, out of CBG-A. CBGV-A appears in the plant much more rarely, and forms similar cannabinoids, except they only have 3 carbon tails (c3), instead of the more common 5 carbon tail (c5). These 3 carbon tailed cannabinoids are referred to as ‘varins’, such that the c3 version of THC (THC-c5) is named Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC-c3).

Being closely related to the c5 version, the c3 versions have very similar properties along with other unique qualities. For instance, THCV is more strongly psychoactive than THC, but only has about half the duration of THC. THCV is also a protagonist of THC, modifying the effects of THC. The energetic effect of THCV is more pronounced and stronger.

THCV has been found to reduce or even block panic attacks and, as a result, can be highly effective in the management of PTSD and other mental disorders involving anxiety or stress, as shown in research in places like Israel, where a great amount of cannabis research is done. THCV doesn’t appear to suppress emotions, only the ability to panic, associated with Fight or Flight response.

THCV has also been shown to reduce tremors associated with diseases such as Parkinson’s, along with ailments associated with motor control. There is also promising research demonstrating reduction of brain lesions associated with Parkinson’s.

THCV also stimulates bone cell growth, and has potential in the treatment of osteoporosis and similar ailments; possibly even in the micro gravity of space, to combat the loss of bone mass.

A side effect of THCV that requires attention is its strongly anorectic effect. If a patient is already having difficulty eating, THCVs appetite suppression can be a detriment.

Tetrahydrocannabivarinic Acid (THCV-A) is very similar to THC-A, and although it has yet to be properly studied, it is assumed to be anti-inflammatory.

Originally THCV was most commonly isolated in landrace sativas from the southern and central African continent. Until recently, THCV was only available in small concentrations in saliva strains like Durban Poison, which on average yield upwards of 0.5% THCV in a THC dominant plant. Such plants have a THC:THCV ratio of 20:1 or greater.

Several years ago, a strain named Pineapple Purps (archived test shown below) was created with a ratio of 3:1, and yielding 12% THC and 4% THCV. In the last year, a new strain, Doug’s Varin was created, with a ratio of 6:7 THC:THCV. This is the first strain we have evaluated that has more THCV than THC. All the high THCV plant strains we have observed are of the classic tall, lanky, narrow leaved sativa appearing variety.

Pineapple-Purps-3

High THCV strains such as this Pineapple Purps are still quite rare.

Pineapple-Purps-1

Archived HPLC test result for Pineapple Purps.


Rev. Dr. Kymron deCesare
Chief Research Officer