With the advent of the 2018 farm bill, the United States has seen a massive boom of new cannabis-related products. CBD was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to new cannabinoid products available on store shelves – CBN, Delta 8 THC, and more are all readily available in most states, even ones where regular cannabis consumption has yet to be legalized.
Among the host of newly available cannabis products is THCV, a chemical cousin to the more familiar Delta 9 THC that makes up most of marijuana’s chemical composition. But what is THCV? How does THCV compare to Delta 9 THC? And will THCV get you high? We’ll answer all these questions and more in our article below. Let’s dig in.
THCV vs Delta 9 THC
Again, when most of us think about getting high from cannabis, most of what we’re really picturing is “Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol”, or D9 THC. This is only one of many cannabinoids present in the marijuana plant, but out of all of these compounds THCV (AKA: “Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabivarin”) and Delta 9 THC may be among the most closely related.
Where THCV differs from D9 THC is in it’s hydrocarbon chain – Where D9 THC has a carbon chain (the little tail bit) with five atoms in its compound, THCV has a carbon chain with only three.
However, despite their very close physical appearances, there are other, more important differences to note; for one, THCV has a much higher boiling point than other cannabinoids (up to 428 °F [or 220 °C]), meaning you’ll need to crank up the heat on your vape pen to get it’s full effects. But for the real question….
Will THCV Get Me High?
The answer is yes, though not as high as Delta 9 THC (or it’s similar cousins Delta 8 THC and Delta 10 THC). While THCV does carry some psychoactive & euphoric properties it’s high is noted to be more mindful and energetic, while also being mild.
THCV does have mood lifting properties but it’s overall strength is much lower than regular Delta 9 THC is, and while this may seem like a downside to some, THCV may have significant health benefits when taken as part of a medical marijuana regimen.
What Are the Medical Benefits of THCV?
While Delta 9 THC is known for antagonizing certain parts of the natural endocannabinoid system inside the human body (namely our CB1 cannabinoid receptors) THCV interacts with these receptors differently, leading to diminished effects in areas such as increased hunger, anxiety, and loss of motor control (interestingly, THCV also seems to promote the growth of healthy bone cells when taken as a supplement).
In particular, it’s been shown that THCV has highly promising results in trials for both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, with it’s therapeutic effects working as an anti-inflammatory while also reducing involuntary muscle movements, seizures, and other adverse symptoms. THCV’s ability to show sedating-but-active effects also show promising results in the treatment of PTSD and panic attacks.
As mentioned above, THCV actively works against THC’s natural tendency to increase one’s hunger (IE: the munchies) with strong appetite suppression qualities. This, along with other promising studies, has lead researchers to look at THCV as a means of combating both type 2 diabetes (by targeting glucose intolerance and high blood sugar levels) as well as varying forms of obesity.
How Do I Smoke THCV?
If looking for a strain of cannabis plant naturally rich in natural THCV content there are certainly those that fit the bill. High-THCV strains are typically thought of as sativa cultivars, particularly of the African land race type, but over time breeders have been working to create new strains high in THCV that stem from different, even non-sativa parentages. To list a few of the more popular high-THCV strains available:
- Durban Poison
- Jack the Ripper
- Pineapple Purps
- Quantum Kush
- Doug’s Varin
All of the above are some of the more popular cannabis strains associated with high levels of THCV (again, typically sativa), but are also strains with high levels of Delta 9 THC and other cannabinoids to accompany them. Not only can these high-THCV strains produce a potentially unwanted high, they’re also only an option in states that have legalized either medical or recreational cannabis use.
Increasingly popular are THCV isolates and concentrates, typically refined from a multi-strain source. Sold in forms such as shatter or isolate powder, THCV isolates are just as effective if taken as a supplement on it’s own, or added onto any other cannabis bud you’d like to smoke.
THCV in shatter form also works just as well as any other solid-style THC concentrate, and can be used in vaporizers. Plus, as an already active cannabinoid THCV can be added to infusions, baked goods, teas, tinctures and anything else regular marijuana concentrate can be added to.
Is THCV Legal?
Is THCV legal? Yes, or at least according to the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act (the “Farm Bill” we mentioned in the intro), the same one that legalized pretty much every other cannabinoid inside the hemp plant except Delta 9 THC.
… so then is THCV legal? Well, possibly not, depending on how it was produced. While the 2018 Farm Bill did make all cannabinoids inside the marijuana plant (excepting Delta 9 THC) legal, synthetically derived cannabinoids are still in somewhat of an odd position. Even though THCV itself may be legal, if the THCV was converted from another cannabinoid (even something such as CBD or D9 THC), the THCV would then be potentially considered illegal under United States federal law.
All of this is to say, for right now, that THCV isolate you ordered from an online store isn’t likely to get any feds knocking at your doorstep, but with the legal status of cannabis in such a jumbled mess inside the United States, keep an eye out on both your state and federal laws to make sure your THCV is still legal to possess.
Where Can I Purchase THCV?
Assuming you live in an area with excellent dispensary service, odds are buying THCV is as simple as asking your local budtender; even if they don’t currently carry it in stock they can likely either order some or point you in the right direction to purchase THCV at another location.
With THCV’s current status as a legal cannabinoid it can be found in areas without more traditional cannabis dispensaries as well – Usually checking at local smoking supply shops (both marijuana-related and otherwise) can yield results.
Failing a brick-and-mortar approach THCV can be purchased online in a number of forms and styles. THCV gummies, tinctures, creams and other forms of easy-to-take medications can be easily found at a number of online stores. If looking to make your own THCV-based medication, though, we recommend looking into a high THCV concentrate or isolate.
What Are THCV Isolates?
As discussed above THCV isolates are, much like the name suggests, a pure (or at least mostly) solution of THCV, preferably with 99%+ THCV levels in the product. These often come in the form of shatter, but can be found in powders and liquids as well. This pure THCV can then be added to any recipe, smoking device, or vaporizing machine you have, or otherwise be used in any way you would otherwise use cannabis products.
If looking to purchase THCV isolate online, two sources we recommend are CannaClear and 3chi – All products from both companies have verified lab testing, and consistently high reviews for both their products and customer service. Note, though, that by the nature of purchasing isolate, this means no strain-specific terpenes will be included. If that sort of thing is important to you, make sure to take a look at purchasing some terpene sauce before you check out.
From panic attacks and PTSD to brain lesions and bone growth, tetrahydrocannabivarin is a cannabinoid with some potentially exciting medical properties, and one who’s benefits any medical marijuana patient might be smart to research. Particularly with clinical trials proving promising for offering aid to those suffering from advanced medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important for marijuana consumers to be informed of how THCV and other cannabinoids can offer differing benefits to both mind and body in their day to day life. Happy smoking!