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What Is THCV And How Is It Different From THC?

bladder cancer thcv marijuana cannabis

(image via SC Labs)

Cannabinoids. So many cannabinoids. Everyone of them has their own characteristics, and more are likely to be discovered. As far as I know, there are at least 111 known cannabinoids (fact check please, let me know if there are more!). A lot of them are unknown. The first cannabinoid (tetrahydrocannabinol) was discovered in 1964 at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and his colleagues, Dr. Yehiel Gaoni and Dr. Haviv Edery.

Research has been limited for the cannabis plant since that time, so a lot has yet to be discovered as to the traits and benefits of each cannabinoid. Historically tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was obviously the most well known cannabinoid, but cannabidiol (CBD) has been surging in popularity and relevance. CBD is great for a number of things, the most well known of which is reducing epileptic seizures. It’s on the news almost every day, which has been a two edged sword for reform. On one hand, it’s outstanding that sufferers are getting relief where they can and that the world is learning about CBD. But on the other hand, it has led to a lot of CBD-only legislation, which is basically always accompanied by an absence of a way to legally obtain CBD, and that’s very unfortunate for patients.

I had a conversation with my friend Pamela today (who is speaking at a very big event in New York tomorrow) about the cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). We both agreed that it’s going to be the next cannabinoid to ‘be discovered’ by mainstream America. THCV has been called the ‘the sports car of cannabinoids’ by Steep Hill Labs, and for good reason. THCV has a quicker, stronger ‘high’ compared to THC. The high from THCV doesn’t last as long as THC, so it’s much more useful being used as a sprint, rather than a marathon so to speak.

THCV and THC both possess pain relieving properties, but they differ in one very big way. Whereas THC induces appetite, THCV suppresses appetite. THCV also increases energy. That’s very significant when one considers how many health problems are directly tied to diabetes and obesity, which THCV can help combat. THCV has the potential to save our healthcare system, and I don’t think that’s too bold of a statement.

I know a lot of people that suffer from diabetes. A study in 2013 found the following about THCV and diabetes:

THCV is a new potential treatment against obesity-associated glucose intolerance with pharmacology different from that of CB1 inverse agonists/antagonists.

Steep Hill Labs had the following to say about additional benefits of THCV:

THCV has been found to reduce or even block panic attacks and, as a result, can be highly effective in the management of PTSD and other mental disorders involving anxiety or stress, as shown in research in places like Israel, where a great amount of cannabis research is done. THCV doesn’t appear to suppress emotions, only the ability to panic, associated with Fight or Flight response.

THCV has also been shown to reduce tremors associated with diseases such as Parkinson’s, along with ailments associated with motor control. There is also promising research demonstrating reduction of brain lesions associated with Parkinson’s.

THCV also stimulates bone cell growth, and has potential in the treatment of osteoporosis and similar ailments; possibly even in the micro gravity of space, to combat the loss of bone mass.

Strains that are high in THCV include Tangie, Girl Scout Cookies, Pie Face OG, Durban Poison, and Hawaiian Dutch. Durban Poison and Girl Scout Cookies is popular in my area. I’m not sure what is popular in your area but ask your local budtender and I’m sure they will help you out. And if you don’t live where there are bud tenders, move to the West Coast if you are able, it’s beautiful out here.


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Johnny Green


  1. Oh, I have no doubt, some are trying to patent it as we speak… I don’t believe anyone can patent a naturally occurring compound (that being the whole problem with pot, in the pharmaceutical industry’s eye, all along). I don’t believe that simply characterizing and isolating a cannabinoid, which is already known to exist, entitles anyone to exclusive rights to it…

    I think that isolated cannabinoids and custom combinations of cannabinoids must be the wave of the future. It should be possible to tailor a variety of distinctive effects, which is pretty exciting, but there will always be just plain bud, in all its wide variety of strains… which given the synergy between naturally occurring cannabioids, in naturally occurring ratios, will always be a great source of comfort and joy.

  2. Closet Warrior on

    I’m glad somebody out there knows something about other profiles of the plant better. I have been interested in thcv, cbds and cbn for a good while now. I have some health problems but both my dad’s and my mother’s families inherently suffer from cancer, nerve problems, colitis, skin cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, obesity, bipolar disorder, and they’re all uptight assholes to boot, lol. I however, feel that being a smoker and ingester of cannabis, has truly kept me healthier because I suffer from none of these afflictions. My health was impacted by a bad car crash. I am 45 and have smoked since age 16 and am looking younger, healthier, better outlook on life and laid back as compared to two whole family trees! Coincidence? I don’t believe in them, I’ve heard of them, I just don’t never seen one. Stay Green and educated!

  3. “Whereas THC induces appetite, THCV suppresses appetite. THCV also increases energy. That’s very significant when one considers how many health problems are directly tied to diabetes and obesity, which THCV can help combat?” It’s beginning to look like parsing out the different cannabinoids could be very useful, both for medical AND for “recreational” purposes. Personally, I think that most people, even those who think they use cannabis for kicks, use it for medicinal purposes. I for one would LOVE a prep or strain high in THCV. I like to get high, but then I often want to get straight again, and as we get older, especially, anything that helps keep the pounds off will have positive health effects… Of course we can all use a little energy boost!

  4. darthhillbilly on

    As soon as it is “discovered” pharmaceutical companies will try to isolate/monopolize THCV as well. Despite mounting evidence that “whole plant cannabis” provides an entourage effect which helps more than any one cannibinoid alone…because ANYONE can grow this medicine, due to it growing like a “weed”. You may not get the same result as a professional grower/facility, but you can grow a medicine that is more than effective…it is great news though…very interesting article.

  5. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Thanks for sharing the historical nugget! The relentless anti-“marihuana” actions of federal, state and local agents here in New York make this article seem like it describes current science on a distant planet. Actual relocation from NY (or any state in which cannabis repression still reigns supreme) certainly tempts multitudes. Far too many heartless New Yorkers hold key positions of power, and they arrogantly refuse to admit that THC, CBD, THCV or any of the 100+ other identified cannabinoids—all produced from natural cannabis flowers, primarily seedless females—have very promising medical value. That’s not to mention the highly nutritious oils, loaded with compounds vital to our bodies, that can be pressed from cannabis hemp seeds; or the tough fibers and fascinating pulp from hemp stalks that can be utilized in the manufacture of many types of clothing, ropes and paper products. History reveals clearly that “marihuana” is not the sole miracle that cannabis plants have always offered us. Let these plants grow “everywhere,” as President George Washington once wrote—starting yesterday.

  6. I was just thinking today about how much we know about this plant now, as compared to say, ten years ago. BUT, we are far, far away from knowing EVERYTHING about this plant and all its makeup.

    I TRULY feel that we’re still at the tip of the iceberg on the already-proven benefits and the still-to-be-discovered benefits.
    Take a “snapshot” now where we are with known applications (and they are plentiful, for sure) and then compare today’s snapshot next to ten or even just five years ago. Take today’s snapshot and compare it to where we are five or even three years from now (when we get there…) .

    This issue and phenomenon is analogous to the U.S. Patent Office back in the late 1800s when they came out publicly and stated this (to paraphrase quite accurately) :
    “We might as well now shut this Office down because we have invented everything that can be invented. There’s no need for us anymore …. ”

    Think about THAT one and how it so closely resembles the issue-at-hand today ———————– this is what the common man has to fight against every day —- OUR government holding a position on issue(s) where WE should be making the decisions…

  7. Dear Johnny Green,
    The first patent for cannabis, from 1940, was filed for by Roger Adams for the isolation of cannabidiol. That was the ‘first’ cannabinoid ‘discovered’. Reference US patent 2304669

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