A Guide to THCV (Diet Weed): Extraction, Storage, Price, Consumption and More
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If you checked out our recent blogs on CBN, THCA, CBDA, and CBG, you know that cannabis contains a wealth of therapeutic compounds that rival the likes of its A-list counterparts. While CBD and THC are undoubtedly popular and therapeutically beneficial, they represent merely two cannabinoids in a roster of over 100—each containing its own healing properties.
Over time, as legalization expands and research proliferates the scientific community, this knowledge has trickled down to industry experts and consumers at large. Today we focus on one of the most well-known minor cannabinoids, sometimes referred to as the “sports car” of cannabinoids. Not to be confused with THC, THCV is gaining the spotlight due to its energizing qualities and potential to target obesity. Let’s explore further.
What is THCV?
THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) was first discovered in the 1970s, along with many other cannabinoids. It is structurally similar to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) but has a slightly different molecular profile. THCV has a propyl (3-atom) side chain instead of THC's pentyl (5-atom) side chain, which gives it a slightly different shape and properties.
One of the key differences between THCV and THC is the level of psychoactive effects they produce. THC is known for its strong psychoactive effects, which can lead to feelings of euphoria, altered perception, and impaired memory and cognition. Conversely, THCV is generally far less potent, although it can still produce some psychoactive effects in high doses.
Can THCV Get You High?
The answer is yes it could, but with an important caveat: THCV is only psychoactive in extremely high doses, similar to CBN. At high doses in potent strains, THCV will produce psychoactive effects that are generally stimulating and promote mental clarity. They are also fast-acting and fast-dissipating (hence the sports-car reference).
What is hemp-derived THCV?
THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in cannabis plants, including hemp. Hemp is a type of Cannabis sativa specifically bred to contain very low levels of THC and higher levels of other cannabinoids, such as CBD (cannabidiol) and THCV.
What are the Benefits of THCV?
Like THC and other cannabinoids, THCV interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, regulating various physiological processes such as appetite, mood, and pain. THCV has been found to have a range of potential therapeutic benefits.
One key benefit mentioned above is that THCV acts fast to produce its energizing psychoactive effects. It also dissipates fast, which can be a huge benefit for those who don’t want to experience the effects for long periods of time. In addition to its cognitive effects, THCV also exhibits profound medicinal value in studies to date.
Obesity and Weight Loss
THCV is a well-studied appetite suppressant, which may offer relief for people experiencing obesity. Some research indicates that low doses (5 to 7.5 milligrams) can reduce appetite by inhibiting the action of CB1 receptors. Other research, such as this study by the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, suggests that THCV may be an effective weight-loss compound because it improves connectivity in the areas of the brain that are generally altered in people with obesity.
This study supported THCV for weight loss but did not support the appetite-suppression theory.
**It’s important to note that research supports THCV’s weight-loss qualities only when it is ingested at low doses. At doses high enough to get the person stoned, THCV does not act the same way. In fact, at high doses, THCV may actually increase appetite.
There is also evidence that THCV may help those who suffer from diabetes. In 2013, the Nutrition and Diabetes Journal studied THCV’s potential effects on Type 2 diabetes in mice. The study found that THCV produced an increase in energy expenditure and reduced glucose intolerance in obese mice.
THCV also increased insulin sensitivity in the mice with diabetes. The study concluded that THVC may be a “treatment against obesity-associated glucose intolerance.” Another study in 2016 found that THCV improved pancreatic cell function in patients with Type 2 diabetes.
Research indicates that THVC may be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which can help stave off a variety of age- and stress-related illnesses. In a study by the Journal of Pharmacology, researchers found that THCV helps reduce swelling in mice. Moreover, the study found that the mice did not exhibit a tolerance to the cannabinoid, despite ingesting it for four consecutive days.
Another animal study in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that THCV, through its interaction with chemical receptors in the body, can decrease signs of inflammation as well as the pain associated with it.
Tremors and Seizures
Another benefit that we have research to back is THCV’s ability to suppress tremors associated with illnesses such as ALS, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Scientific research also supports the fact that THCV can reduce seizures associated with epilepsy. Moreover, research indicates that THVC could reduce not only the frequency but also the severity of seizures when they occur.
A study in the Epilepsia journal found that THCV worked when taken during a seizure as well as prior to seizures as a preventive measure.
How Does THCV Work?
THCV vs. THC
At high enough doses, THCV is psychoactive like THC, but most of the similarities end there. One of the most interesting differences between the two is that THCV actually suppresses the appetite at low doses, meaning no munchies like you would get from THC. In fact, studies have shown that THCV can actually counteract some of THC’s effects, which is great news for patients who don’t want to get high.
How Does THCV Occur?
The chemical structure of THCV is similar to THC, but it’s actually derived from an entirely different precursor. While most cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, are the byproducts of CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) synthesis, THCV is the final byproduct of CBGVA (cannabigerovarin acid).
CBGV converts to THCVA, which eventually becomes THCV when exposed to heat or light. THCV is most commonly found in pure sativas originating in Africa, China, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Thailand, and Afghanistan.
How Does THCV Work in the Body?
Like THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, THCV exerts therapeutic effects through interaction with chemical receptors in nearly every system of the body. The two primary chemical receptors are called CB1 and CB2, which make up what is known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
This system is involved in regulating a wide range of our body’s functions required for optimal health.CB1 receptors are found throughout the body but are concentrated in the brain and nervous system, while CB2 receptors are more prevalent in the immune system.
At low doses, THCV acts as an antagonist to CB1 receptors, which means it can block some of the actions caused by THC such as the munchies and intense mental highs.
At higher doses, however, THCV activates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and exhibits effects that more closely resemble THC. This results in the enhanced euphoric and cognitive effects along with therapeutic value.
Is THCV Water-Soluble?
Naturally, THCV is only soluble in oil-based liquids and does not dissolve in water. That said, science has a solution, and it’s called nano emulsions (more on that in our water-soluble cannabinoids blog). Through advanced mechanical processes, THCV can break down into nano particles that effectively dissolve in water.
What is the Boiling Point?
THCV’s boiling point is a whopping 428 degrees Fahrenheit—a full 114 degrees higher than THC. As a result, you can prepare edibles at a higher temperature, but there is a problem with this technique because a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes begin to vaporize above 245 degrees Fahrenheit (meaning you lose out on flavor and effects). On the plus side, it makes things easier if you want nothing but THCV in your edible.
What Type of THCV Products are Available?
THCV can be found in full-spectrum hemp and cannabis products, including oils, waxes, and edibles. THCV can also be found in extracts and isolates, and distillates.
1. Doug’s Varin High-THCV Vapes
One example is the Doug’s Varin vape line, launched a few years ago by California Cannabinoids. One of Doug’s Varin vapes is THCV-only, and the other combines THCV with CBD on a 1-to-1 ratio. Both products contain between 25% and 35% THCV and last about half as long as a THC high. David Lampach, CEO of California Cannabinoids, indicated that he acted on “strong consumer” demand for THCV when he helped formulate these products.
Doug’s Varin THCV vape was created to be energizing and uplifting, with less-intense psychoactive effects than THC alone. The 1-to-1 vape was created to produce a more relaxing, soothing experience.
2. Vivimu’s Delta 9 THCv Isolate
Vivimu’s THCV isolate contains 98% THCV and is directed toward savvy customers who want to transform the formula into tinctures, edibles, or cartridges at home.
3. CannaAid THCV Blend Vape Cartridge
CannaAid Super Lemon Haze and Durban Poison vape cartridges contain a blend of THCV, CDT, and CBD to help people feel calm and focused. One review also indicated that the product helped curb their appetite.
4. 3Chi THCV Vape Cartridge
3Chi’s THCv Snowmand and Blue Dream vape cartridges feature 75% ∆8THC and 10% THCv and a custom blend of CBC, CBT, CBD, and terpenes. Reviewers described it as a pleasant buzz–sans munchies.
5. VarinEx(™) THCV & CBDv gummies
VarinEx™ Clinical Strength THCV & CBDV Gummies include CBDV, THCV for munchie-free focus and energy, immunity support, and enhanced cognitive function. Each gummy contains 30mg of hemp extract and is infused with Elderberry, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin E.
6. Bhumi THCV Full Size Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar
The Bhumi THCV Dark Raspberry Chocolate Bar - 300mg - contains ample THCV and L-theanine to optimize performance throughout the day. Users may experience heady sensations, relaxation, and an energy boost.
Are There High-THCV Cannabis Strains?
Yes! Although, “high” is a relevant term. Significant levels of THCV are certainly less common than CBD and THC, but in some cases, THCV content may even be higher than THC. Overall, the most common strains with the highest THCV levels are of African and Asian descent, according to the American Journal of Botany.
Other THCV Strains Include:
Flow Kana Pink Boost Goddess: 4.24%
Pineapple Purps: 4%
THCV Durban Venom: 3:1 THC to THCV
Malawi: 0.5% to 1% (estimated)
More high-THCV strains here.
How Do I Extract THCV?
While THCV is much more expensive to extract due to lower levels of it found in plant biomass, the process is largely the same. Like other cannabinoids, THCV is extracted through a chromatography process that uses superfluid liquid solvents such as CO2 or ethanol to separate the compounds from the plant.
The solution evaporates with heat under a vacuum to remove all the gas and leave a high-purity THCV concentrate behind. Once extracted, THCV products should be stored at room temperature and away from direct sunlight to preserve potency.
The THCV Market
Is THCV Legal?
Although THCV looks molecularly identical to THC, it acts completely differently in the body and is not a scheduled controlled substance in the United States. THCV is federally legal as long as it’s extracted from hemp plants that contain less than 0.3% THC. At a state level, THCV is also permitted in all cannabis strains where medical and/or adult use is legal.
THCV Potency And Testing
How is THCV’s Potency Measured?
THCV is measured through potency tests in the same way potency is tested in CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids are detected. ACS Laboratory uses LCUV, High Performance Liquid Chromatography with UV detection to ensure that all testing is accurate and consistent.
Why Does THCV Matter?
The word is getting out about this energy-boosting, weight-loss-stimulating, anti-inflammatory powerhouse, and THCV promises to be one of the cannabis industry’s next big ingredients. Currently, few strains in the market produce significant levels of THCV, so there’s a market gap and an opportunity, according to market-research firm Benzinga, to be one of the first companies to market high-THCV strains or extracts.
THCV is a product that invites people of all kinds to try it, especially those who have never tried cannabis because they fear the high and the munchies characterized by THC. Unlike its intoxicating cousin, low levels of THCV provide high energy, mental clarity, and appetite-suppressant qualities that may even entice the Type A’s among us. Its ability to draw in a wider crowd of customers is a huge benefit.
At ACS Laboratory, we test hemp and cannabis products for THCV because we believe in its therapeutic value and understand that statistically significant levels of the cannabinoid can make a huge difference in how and who you market your product to. Using our advanced equipment, we can even detect levels below 1%, regardless of whether we are testing biomass, oils, isolates, edibles, or beverages.
Contact us today to learn more or schedule a potency test. We deliver precise results within two to five days. Visit us at acslabcannabis.com