What is THCV? Is it Really a Diet Cannabinoid?

by Jessica
purple cannabis leaves, dark, blog header THCv

Cannabis gives you the munchies, right? Not this rare cannabinoid. In fact, THCV — sometimes dubbed a “diet cannabinoid” — is quite the opposite. 

THCV is an appetite suppressant so powerful it’s been nicknamed “diet weed” or “skinny weed.” Early studies suggest it might even help treat obesity and diabetes, along with many other medical conditions such as seizures and schizophrenia.

It doesn’t leave you chilled and sluggish like a normal stone, either. THCV is an energizing stimulant, earning it descriptions such as “the sports car of cannabinoids,” “the athlete’s cannabinoid,” and even “Weederall.” 

What is THCV?

[caption id="attachment_9859" align="alignright" width="556"]THCv, molecular structure Is THCv a stimulant? At some doses it could be.[/caption]

THCV is a type of cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Its full name is tetrahydrocannabivarin — quite a mouthful! Scientists first isolated and identified it in 1970, and its medical potential is currently being explored. 

THCV is only found in trace amounts in most cannabis. If you’re looking for the motherlode, sativas of African landrace lineage such as Durban Poison usually have the highest concentration of THCV, reaching a whopping 16 percent of dry plant weight according to one study.

THCV has a chemical structure that is very similar to THC, and it can also bind with our body’s cannabis receptors. However, it has significantly different effects.

THC is known to be an appetite stimulant, resulting in the classic stoner experience of getting the munchies. THCV on the other hand has the complete opposite effect, suppressing appetite. While most THC-rich cannabis leaves you feeling relaxed, THCV can act as a stimulant.

Does THCV Get You High? 

The jury is still out on this one. Some studies say it is completely non-psychoactive. Others suggest that it can get you high, but the effect depends on how much you take.

To explain this, we need to dip into a little pharmacology. The human body’s endocannabinoid system has two main cannabinoid receptors, named CB1 and CB2. THC is a CB1 agonist, which means it triggers the CB1 receptors in your brain, resulting in the sensation of being stoned.

THCV also acts on both CB receptors, but it can behave as an agonist or an antagonist at different doses. In small doses, it blocks the receptor, dulling some of the effects of THC and reducing the high. In larger doses, it can trigger the receptor, producing a buzz and stimulant effects, which could act together with THC to intensify the high and change its character.

What Does the THCV + THC High Feel Like?

The high associated with THCV is very clear-headed and stimulating. Some tokers say THCV intensifies the euphoric feelings of THC. The high is said to come on faster than pure THC but is also shorter, with about half the duration.

One Redditor said it felt almost like an amphetamine: “As a high, it was pretty fun, but in no way was it chill or relaxing. It's better for talking your friend's head off or dancing rather than kicking back with a movie.”

What Do Studies Report About THCV?

Researchers have also dived into the question of "What is THCv" still in the early stages of exploring all the effects and uses of THCV, but the results of small animal studies have been very promising for a number of different conditions. Here’s a summary of some findings so far:

  • THCV was shown to produce weight loss and reduce body fat in obese mice
  • THCV was also shown to have anticonvulsant properties in rats
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties, shown to reduce inflammation and pain in rats
  • It is considered to have great potential in the management of metabolic syndromes and type 2 diabetes
  • THCV may blunt some unpleasant side effects of THC, including psychotic and paranoid effects according to this study
  • It may also reduce some negative psychological effects of schizophrenia

Could THCV Help With Weight Loss?

 There is huge potential for THCV to be used in managing obesity and diabetes in the future, but for now, there is not enough research available to properly guide the usage of THCV as a medical treatment. 

It’s perfectly legal to buy and try at home here in San Francisco, though. Simply order online and get it delivered along with your recreational cannabis products. Other tokers who tried THCV found it suppressed their appetites significantly for an hour or two, and this may help control food intake if you’re trying to lose weight or beat the THC munchies.

Check out How to Incorporate Cannabis into Your Workout Routine.

Where Can I Try THCV? 

There are a few strains that have been bred to contain much higher than natural levels of THCV. Doug’s Varin is one of these gems. If you’re ready for the full on THCV experience, try the Stimulate THCv sublingual tabs from LEVEL, which is powered by THCV from Doug’s Varin. 

Alternatively, we recommend getting your hands on a potent Durban Poison full-spectrum vape cartridge to enjoy the combo of extremely high THC with a side of landrace strain THCV.

If you’re using THCV for the appetite suppression, don’t forget to make sure you get adequate nutrition and hydration during the day! Here’s How To Make a Green Ganja Smoothie.