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Thanks to the onslaught of pop culture moments that have defined generations of comedy and the concept of marijuana more broadly, the world has grown highly familiar with the side effects of the most famous cannabinoid in the world.

We know what THC is now, almost all too well. No matter how many silly Seth Rogen movies get released, many of the cliches of the cannabis and hemp plants have mostly fallen away as state legislatures relax rules around the cannabis plant. CBD continues to make waves in the wellness market.

THCV, as a result, may not be received in as hostile a fashion as THC initially was, thanks to progress made and knowledge gleaned; however, it is fundamentally different from its cousin THC both in molecular structure and in purpose and use.

This means that THCV effects are unique, and as such, they will sometimes read as THCV side effects to some; this cannabinoid may wind up being more of an acquired taste.

In other words, not all fans of cannabis or CBD will find use out of THCV thanks to its narrowly focused benefits. Where CBD was a bit of a catchall, and THC has recreational and medical benefits that appeal to a diverse crowd, you may find that THCV appeals to a certain segment of the population. 

THCV Research: A Brief Overview of What We Know

What is THCV? THCV is short for Tetrahydrocannibavarin–a mouthful for even the most skilled linguists.

This is more of an intriguing piece of information rather than anything you will need to remember, but take a look at the difference between its famous cousin Tetrahydrocannabinol.

The “varin” is the change, and this means we are dealing with molecules that are almost identical but for a minor detail. THCV has a propyl molecule, meaning it has a  3-carbon molecule, instead of what is called a pentyl 5-carbon molecule, and this establishes it as far different from THC. 

THCV does not operate in the body in the same way that THCV does. It does not create psychoactive effects (well, it can, but we will break this down further later).

THC and THCV’s difference in carbon groups means that their boiling point levels are completely different. , THCV’s boiling point threshold is higher than that of regular THC, boiling at a temperature of 428° versus 315°.

THCV is not very well studied, and it is not highly visible in the cannabis industry at all. This is likely to change, as more and more demand for cannabis generally inspires cannabis companies to incorporate THCV into their product lineup.

CB1 Receptors: The Key to THCV’s Effects

To understand why THCV’s effects are so different from those of THC, we have to understand what it is doing inside of our bodies. We established the carbon difference above, but it is this difference that causes it to behave differently in our body’s endocannabinoid system. 

We all have an endocannabinoid system. And by “we,” I mean all mammals. This system is extremely important. It governs several frontiers of the human body, from the immune system to mood, to appetite, to memory and fertility.

This system does not need cannabis or cannabinoids to function. Our bodies have molecules that interact with this system, and even now, researchers are still not completely sure exactly how the body uses these cannabinoid molecules and how it knows when to use them.

For what it is worth, these cannabinoids are called anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). 

Normally, our cannabinoid receptors, called CB1 and CB2, only take as many of these molecules as they need.

But when an individual vapes or ingests CBD or THC, these receptors, particularly CB1, become overwhelmed with cannabinoids, and this changes the way our endocannabinoid system works, causing the familiar euphoria and high associated with THC, and the homeostasis-friendly effects of CBD.

THCV Weight Loss: A New Frontier for Cannabis

THCV does not bind to our body’s cannabinoid receptors the way THC does. THC is what we call an agonist at the CB1 receptor, causing the “overwhelming” of these receptors that we mentioned earlier.

THCV by contrast is an antagonist, meaning it blocks the CB1 receptor, an opposite mechanism causing opposite reactions. The result of this is that any psychoactive effects are non-existent, and the brain fog and euphoria are instead replaced with focus and energy.

Another feature? The “munchies” turn into the anti-munchies. You read that right; THCV has the potential to be a cannabis product that becomes known for its weight-loss attributes, removing appetite and increasing energy, a typical hallmark of diet products.

THCV in Focus

Though some researchers doubt that THCV can have any psychoactive effects at all given its molecular structure, some have wondered if it can cause a euphoric but focused effect in high doses.

That said, most agree that any effects it does have on mood or “vibe” are primarily focus-oriented and more “Sativa-like,” meaning that THCV could be a particularly useful cannabinoid for creativity, motivation, energy, and daytime work. 

Our Take

More research is needed to fully understand what THCV’s side effects typically include. We are nowhere near the level of knowledge and rampant anecdotal feedback enjoyed by other cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

The most we can say at this point is that THCV is a cannabinoid with immense potential. The United States is a country afflicted with an array of problems when it comes to diet, weight loss, and overall health.

Could THCV be another weapon in our arsenal to fight obesity, a phenomenon that has gone from a minor problem to an explosive epidemic in the United States over the last 30 years? 

After all, our more comprehensive post on THCV fleshes out some of these issues even further, and we encourage you to check out our blog post called “THCV: Everything You Need to Know.”

This post details some further research on the issue of blood glucose metabolization, and its implications for those suffering from Type 2 diabetes. We look forward to informing our readers more about THCV and the potential it may have for you.


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