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What is THCV, and How Does It Compare to CBD and THC?

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. The most well known of these compounds is tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. 

This is the psychoactive element in cannabis that leads to impaired judgement, slowed reactions and an insatiable appetite.

What is THCV?

In broad-spectrum CBD oil, like ours, you’ll find a number of different cannabinoids, except THC, that all work together to provide greater benefits.

In the 1980s and 90s, while attempting to dig up some dirt on cannabis and learn why it affects people the way it does, researchers discovered a previously unknown system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

It’s present in the central and peripheral nervous system and is responsible for cell communication and homeostasis. 

In learning more about cannabinoids and their impact on the human body, we also discovered other compounds that interact with the ECS – including THCV.

But what is THCV?

THCV offers pharmacological promise for the medical cannabis sector as it could provide many of the benefits of THC without some of the less desirable side effects.

THCV is still a controlled substance and is not available to purchase in the UK.

But it could offer some promise for helping to support healthy bodily functions. As it stands, more research is needed before we can learn the full potential of THCV.

What's in this Guide?

What is THCV?

THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is similar but structurally different to THC, which means that it does not interact with the ECS in the same way.

It may even change the way THC interacts with the ECS.

It is thought that low dose THCV may inhibit the effect THC has on the ECS by preventing THC from activating CB1 receptors.

Low doses of THCV are thought to be non-psychoactive.

As research into the pharmacological impact of individual cannabinoids increases, we could begin to see more consumer demand for specific cannabinoid profiles.

“It is envisioned that the unique and diverse characteristics of THCV could be explored for further development into clinically useful medicines for the treatment of life-threatening diseases.” 

Scientists from the Saint James School of Medicine
THCV and the ECS
In low doses, THCV is actually thought to be non-psychoactive

What is THC?

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound in cannabis. When something is psychoactive, it means that it is capable of affecting the way the brain and nervous system work.

This may mean that reaction times are slowed, and decision making is impaired. THC also produces a euphoric “high”, which is why it is a controlled substance in the UK and many countries worldwide. 

While some territories are exploring medical cannabis use, THC is still outlawed in many places.

For example, THC is a Class B controlled substance in the UK, which covers possession and cultivation of any plant of the Cannabis genus.

Read more: CBD vs THC 

What is CBD?

CBD is one of the many compounds extracted from the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD does not impair the ECS.

Instead, it interacts with the ECS and helps to support healthy function.

CBD is available to purchase over the counter in shops and online. It is legal in the UK, and most countries throughout Europe provided it has very low levels of THC. 

Many CBD manufacturers leave in trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids such as THCV, CBG and CBC.

This is because it elicits something known as the entourage effect, where cannabinoids and terpenes work together to offer greater benefits.

CBD vs THC
THCV is similar to both of these cannabinoids

What are the advantages of THCV?

Research into the benefits of THCV is ongoing, but early results look promising. From what we’ve seen so far, THCV could be helpful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

THCV may help to regulate blood sugar levels and also reduce insulin sensitivity. THCV could also help with weight loss by acting as an appetite suppressant in obese patients.

Researchers are also exploring how THCV could be used to influence anxiety and PTSD.

Other researchers are investigating how THCV could help tremors, motor controls and brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s. 

Studies have shown evidence that THCV can suppress seizure activity in rats, paving the way for more research into its role as a therapeutic anticonvulsant.

However, all of this research is in early stages & nothing is confirmed – so if you see any company advertising THCV as a miracle cure for anything, avoid them.

advantages of THCV
None of these benefits have been officially verified, but the results look promising so far

What are the main differences between THCV and THC?

THCV and THC might come from the same plant and have a similar molecular structure, but there is a key difference in the way these compounds activate cannabinoid receptors in the body.

THCV suppresses appetite, THC stimulates it

In 2006, the first CB1 receptor blocker was approved for sale as an anti-obesity drug. Rimonabant was later banned due to psychiatric concerns.

Since THCV is thought to suppress appetite, this could pave the way for researchers to pick up where Rimonabant left off.

THC is known for causing insatiable appetite and “the munchies”, but THCV offers the opposite effect. It could be helpful in the future for those trying to lose weight, as it is thought that it suppresses appetite. 

With obesity affecting one in four adults in the UK, this could spark the interest of researchers and healthcare policymakers.

THC is psychoactive, while low doses of THCV can counter it

THC is known to produce undesirable effects in cannabis users, including psychotic and paranoia effects, impaired short-term memory and slowed reaction times.

Early studies suggest that low-dose THCV may counter these effects.

In one study involving 10 regular cannabis users, a dose of 10mg pure THCV or placebo was given for five days, followed by a cost of THC on the last day.

Those with a low dose of THCV experienced milder effects from the THC.

How does THCV impact appetite
All of the research is early, but THCV has already shown promise

Is THCV legal?

The legal status of THCV isn’t entirely clear. In territories where medical marijuana is legal, THCV also appears to be legal.

For example, in states in the USA where marijuana is legal, you can also purchase THCV isolate extracts. 

In the UK, it is considered to be a cannabis derivative, so is listed as a Class B drug.

THCV may be present in very small, legal doses in many broad and full-spectrum CBD oils and tinctures.

If you are travelling with CBD or other cannabinoid products, be aware that not all countries have the same rules and regulations.

In addition, CBD is often a grey area, so if in doubt, leave your CBD at home!

Read more: Is CBD Oil Legal Where You Live?

Can I buy THCV?

THCV isn’t available in the UK as a standalone supplement yet, but interest in specific cannabinoids could increase as interest in the CBD market grows.

If the UK follows in the footsteps of the USA and other regions legalising cannabis, this could pave the way for more THCV research.

As consumers become more aware of the benefits of other cannabinoids, we expect to see production shift towards specific compounds.

Some full-spectrum CBD products will include THCV as this occurs naturally in the production process. 

If you are curious about the cannabinoid content of your CBD products, look for a lab analysis certificate for more information. You can find the complete lab reports for Evopure here.

Interested in learning more about CBD? Our blog has guides covering just about everything you need to know.

If you’re reading to take the plunge, you can also buy our CBD oil from our shop!

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