Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a homologue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) having a propyl (3-carbon) side chain instead of a pentyl (5-carbon) group on the molecule, which makes it produce very different effects from THC. THCV is a cannabinoid receptor type 1 antagonist and cannabinoid receptor type 2 partial agonist. Δ8-THCV has also been shown to be a CB1 antagonist. THCV is an antagonist of THC at CB1 receptors and lessens the psychoactive effects of THC.
Unlike THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabichromene (CBC), THCV doesn't begin as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Instead of combining with olivetolic acid to create CBGA, geranyl pyrophosphate joins with divarinolic acid, which has two fewer carbon atoms. The result is cannabigerovarin acid (CBGVA). Once CBGVA is created, the process continues exactly the same as it would for THC. CBGVA is broken down to tetrahydrocannabivarin carboxylic acid (THCVA) by the enzyme THCV synthase. At that point, THCVA can be decarboxylated with heat or UV light to create THCV.
THCV is prevalent in certain central Asian and southern African strains of Cannabis. Plants with elevated levels of propyl cannabinoids (including THCV) have been found in populations of Cannabis sativa L from China, India, Nepal, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as southern and western Africa. THCV levels up to 53.7% of total cannabinoids have been reported.
THC increases appetite ("the munchies") by acting as a CB1 agonist. As a CB1 antagonist, THCV has been shown to reduce appetite in clinical studies of murine models. THCV has recently been embraced by hemp product marketers as "the weight loss cannabinoid" based on reasonably compelling animal model science in this arena in the early 2000's that is now becoming more noticed and cited by cannabis researchers. Other research suggests that THCV is a new potential treatment against obesity-associated glucose intolerance with pharmacology different from that of CB1 inverse agonists/antagonists.
- Cannabinoids 101
- The Endocannabinoid System
- The Entourage Effect
- About Cannabidiol (CBD)
- About Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDa)
- About Cannabigerol (CBG)
- About Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGa)
- About Cannabinol (CBN)
- About Cannabichromene (CBC)
- About Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- About Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
- About Terpenes & Terpenoids