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February 17, 2020
Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are partly responsible for the wide array of medicinal and psychoactive effects cannabis may provide. Currently, there are over 110 known cannabinoids with more likely to be discovered as studies continue to reveal the complex molecular structures of the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids interact with human physiology through the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the set of receptors that function to regulate health and promote homeostasis throughout the body. The ECS has two primary receptors, the CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor binds primarily to the brain and nervous system, while the CB2 receptor interacts largely with the immune system. The cannabis plant relies on cannabinoids binding to these receptors to produce the array of potential benefits and effects. Each cannabinoid holds unique characteristics of their own that are worth noting in order to maximize desired effects from medicating with cannabis
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a cannabinoid that holds potentially potent psychoactive effects, along with a host of medicinal benefits. Similar in chemical composition to THC, THCV is thought to act as an antagonist to some of the effects of THC when found in small amounts, while possibly accentuating them in higher doses. Strains or products rich in THCV may result in a stimulating, clear headed, almost psychedelic type of energetic high that is typically shorter in duration.
THCV holds appetite suppressing effects, which make it a possible weight loss supplement and potentially beneficial to diabetics by aiding in the regulation of blood sugar levels. THCV may also play a role in stimulating bone health, which could help osteoporosis. THCV displays anticonvulsant properties that may help with spasticity, neurodegenerative, and seizure related disorders. THCV may combat anxiety and panic attacks, with potential use for those who suffer from PTSD. In addition, THCV is also considered an antioxidant and potent anti-inflammatory agent.
THCV binds with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS. However, the binding process will significantly differ depending on dosage. Low doses seem to inhibit the psychoactive effects produced by THC, indicating THCV displays antagonistic properties upon interaction with the ECS. When higher doses are consumed, THCV converts to an agonist of both receptors and exhibits behavior resemblant of THC, resulting in the enhanced euphoric effects it can potentially provide.
THCV is quickly emerging as one of the most researched cannabinoids due to its potential health benefits. THCV displays the potential ability to alter not only the psychoactive sensation cannabis yields, but also has the versatility to interact with the ECS. While found in small amounts in most strains, THCV is known to be found more abundantly in sativas -- particularly landrace strains such as Durban Poison and Malawi. Feel free to ask any of our knowledgeable patient consultants with any questions you may have.
A study from May 2010 highlighted the anti-inflammatory effects of THCV. The anticonvulsant properties of THCV were the subject of an August 2010 study with promising findings. An August 2011 study focused on the antioxidant neuroprotective properties of THCV to potentially delay the progression of Parkinson’s Disease and provide symptomatic relief. A May 2013 study examined THCV to potentially reduce insulin sensitivity, making this cannabinoid a possible agent to regulate glucose levels. THCV’s ability to act as antipsychotic was the subject of a 2015 study that concluded THCV has therapeutic potential to treat schizophrenia. A study from October 2016 showed THCV could possibly aid with obesity-associated glucose intolerance.
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