Phytocannabinoids are the fuel to the cannabis plants fire, producing almost all of the lovely, happy, giggly, munchy effects weve come to love. On top of this, phytocannabinoids are also unique and potent medicines in a number of weird and wonderful ways. Theyre lipophilic, meaning theyre attracted to fats and repelled by water, which makes transport a bit trickier in the body. They tend to have very different effects depending on the dose, many producing opposite effects at high and low doses. And finally, phytocannabinoids dont just activate one receptor or even keep their interactions within one system! They bind to a number of molecular targets, including neurotransmitter sites, ion channels, and enzymes, all of which contribute to the cannabis plants promiscuous pharmacology.
THCV is one of these quirky compounds. Depending on the dose and the method of administration, THCV can have wildly different effects. (Although its important to note that most of our knowledge can be attributed to the limited number of studies that have only begun to fill in the picture.) Studies suggest that the different effects stem from the compounds unique cannabinoid receptor interactions. At low to mid doses, THCV seems to act as a potent CB1 receptor antagonist, interfering with binding at the CB1 receptor and reducing the effects of THC. However, at high to very high doses, THCV is a potent agonist, with effects reported to be profoundly energetic, clear-headed, and euphoric. Its speculated that THCV levels play a role in the cerebral and zippy experiences when using tropical Asian and African landrace strains, which have been found to exhibit high levels of the compoundup to 53.7% of the total cannabinoid content!
The doses used for medical purposes are typically too low to produce psychoactive effects. Doses in this range have shown enough promise to prompt GW pharmaceuticals to take out an active research patent investigating THCV in the treatment of conditions ranging from Alzheimers to addiction and diabetes. All in all, THCV seems to indicate the following:
- Show promise in the treatment of panic attacks without producing sedation or blunting emotional response
- At appropriate doses, reduce levels of anxiety and stress
- Be an anorectic, diminishing appetite
- Possess anticonvulsant and antiepileptic effects that benefit spasms, tremor, and a host of neurological disorders
- Reduce insulin resistance, benefit diabetes.
- Stimulate bone growth.
While it might not be the next new diet craze, THCV presents a novel tool for people seeking a less munchy and more focused stone. And on top of that, it could be a valuable tool in the fight against diabetes, neurological disease, and so much more.