Know Your Medicine: THCV | Marijuana

As access to cannabis widens and research into the medicinal effects of its compounds expands, we’re learning there’s much more to the cannabis plant than THC and CBD. One of the most interesting cannabinoids in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabivarin or THCV. Preliminary studies show promising therapeutic effects for different ailments including diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

THCV results from a different chemical pathway than THC. Geranyl pyrophosphate joins with divarinolic acid to make cannabigerovarin acid (CBGVA), which changes to tetrahydrocannabivarin carboxylic acid (THCVA) when exposed to the enzyme THCV. When THCVA is heated, it decarboxylates to THCV.

Like other cannabinoids, THCV has biphasic effects, meaning it has differing effects on the body at different doses and blood concentration levels. At low doses, THCV is a neutral antagonist of the CB1 receptor, binding to the receptor without causing any effects; however, at this low dose, it blocks other compounds (like THC) from binding to the receptor. THCV is also a CB2 agonist, binding to this receptor — which is mostly located in the immune system and gut — giving anti-inflammatory and…

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