When you hear the term THC, most likely your mind immediately goes to cannabis and feeling “high”.
Most of the research and conversation around these compounds revolves around THC and CBD; but did you know there’s another compound in the family, THCV, that offers countless benefits and can be made without the use of the cannabis plant?
Let’s take a look at the therapeutic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids, and break down the difference between THCV vs THC.
What is THCV?
THCV or Tetrahydrocannabivarin is a naturally occurring cannabinoid that may offer unique benefits compared to its cannabinoid cousins.
This cannabinoid can be organically synthesized from cannabis and other plant matter, and like its counterparts – shows promising benefits and potential therapeutic properties.
Although they both offer numerous benefits, someone might want to opt for THCV or THC if they’re looking for something that offers more energizing and motivating effects, versus the lethargy and “spaciness” that can come from THC use.
What is THC?
THC is the most well-known and understood cannabinoid out there. Derived from the cannabis plant, this molecule is consumed for recreational and medicinal purposes.
THC has been found to be especially helpful in managing symptoms for people with chronic pain and illness. Thanks to its appetite-enhancing effects, it can be used by people who may have difficulty eating like those with cancer or gastroenterological disorders.
What is The Difference Between THCv and THC?
THCV has clear chemical differences with THC, with the main difference being the number of side-chain carbon atoms each molecule has – THC has five, while THCV has three.
A big difference between the effects of THC and THCV is that while THC enhances appetite (i.e. the munchies), THCV may suppress appetite. Thanks to this, THCV may benefit people practicing intermittent fasting. Another difference is that, unlike THC, THCV is believed to be non-psychoactive. Since it can be made from the extracts of plants other than cannabis, it’s possible to get the benefits without the psychoactive effects.
Even when THCV is sourced from the cannabis plant, it offers more alertness and awareness than THC.
Users of THCV say it gives them a sensation of clear lifted energy and also tends to decrease appetite.
When taken from a source other than the cannabis plant, THCV can offer its medicinal benefits without any of the “high”.
Up until now, most research on cannabinoids has focused on THC and CBD, as new studies come out, we’re seeing promising benefits from other cannabinoids like THCV.
While research on this molecule is still relatively new, THCv may help people with:
- Suppressing appetite, which may help people manage diabetes
- Managing anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behaviors
- Managing symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Managing symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
- Manage epilepsy, tremors, and seizures
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Craving Control, this is the “Anti-Munchies” cannabinoid. It should not be used for people treating appetite loss or with a history of eating disorders
THCV’s appetite suppressing abilities makes it beneficial for people who practice intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting has been found to help improve brain function, reduce inflammation, prevent heart disease, and numerous other benefits.
Some of its other benefits include helping people quit smoking, skin health, and increased focus.
THC and its effects are fairly well known across the globe. These effects can vary depending on the strain, how it’s consumed, and other variables.
Some of the most common effects include enhanced appetite, enhanced mood, body relaxation, and is generally psychoactive in nature. People tend to consume it by smoking it, vaporizing it, eating after it’s been cooked, and ingesting a tincture.
The use of THC is nothing new for humans. Recently scientists have been able to back up many of the claims people have made around the benefits of THC.
THC may be beneficial for people by:
- Helping with pain relief, especially chronic pain, including muscle spasticity
- Helping manage symptoms of psychiatric disorders like PTSD, anxiety, mood disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD
- Support people who have insomnia
- Decreasing nausea
- Increased appetite, possibly helpful for people on chemotherapy
Common THCV Misconceptions
Contrary to popular belief, THCV can be derived from sources outside of the cannabis plant. Citravarin, for example, is made from citrus peel extracts, which means you can reap the benefits of THCV without the cannabis plant byproducts.
While many people avoid using cannabis products containing THC to avoid possible feelings of paranoia, there is no evidence of paranoia in people who consume THCV-based products. In fact, THCV appears to curb anxiety attacks in PTSD patients without suppressing emotion.
People tend to associate cannabinoids with “the munchies” – but not THCv. It actually helps to suppress appetite.
THC vs THCv: Bottom Line
Research on all cannabinoids is still developing, as scientists and healthcare providers just start to tap into their many benefits. THC is more widely understood thanks to a push for research and product development, however lesser known molecules like THCV are just beginning to be understood.
THC has helped countless people with symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety, decreased appetite, and more, however it’s often avoided because of its psychoactive effects. This is one of the reasons THCV is so promising for researchers. It offers many of the same benefits as THC, but without the high or intoxicating effects.
Outside of the psychoactive effects, many people want to avoid consuming the cannabis plant due to stigma, possible testing, or for other personal reasons. THCV can be made from the extracts of other plants, which means people can enjoy its benefits, without ever touching cannabis.
- Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): a commentary on potential therapeutic benefit for the management of obesity and diabetes
- Plasma and brain pharmacokinetic profile of cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidivarin (CBDV), Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabigerol (CBG) in rats and mice following oral and intraperitoneal administration and CBD action on obsessive-compulsive behaviour
- A Review on Studies of Marijuana for Alzheimer’s Disease – Focusing on CBD, THC
- Beneficial effects of the phytocannabinoid Δ 9-THCV in L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease
- Δ⁹-Tetrahydrocannabivarin suppresses in vitro epileptiform and in vivo seizure activity in adult rats
- Dietary restriction enhances neurotrophin expression and neurogenesis in the hippocampus of adult mice
- Alternate day calorie restriction improves clinical findings and reduces markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight adults with moderate asthma
- Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults
- Cannabis-based medicines for chronic neuropathic pain in adults
- Real world experience of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the treatment of spasticity using tetrahydrocannabinol:cannabidiol (THC:CBD)
- Cannabidiol (CBD) use in psychiatric disorders: A systematic review
- Cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for chronic insomnia disorder (‘CANSLEEP’ trial): protocol for a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, proof-of-concept trial
- A novel phytocannabinoid isolated from Cannabis sativa L. with an in vivo cannabimimetic activity higher than Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol