Get in Glycemic Control with THCv!
The value of tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv) has been largely overlooked since its discovery in the lab of Dr. Roger Pertwee in 1970 until this last decade when researchers started trying to understand the pharmacology. Even GW Pharmaceuticals, maker of pharmaceutical grade 1:1 THC and CBD oromucosal spray Sativex®, and CBD oil Epidiolex®, is studying THCv as a potential therapeutic with favorable results seen in clinical trials (NCT01217112).
THCv has therapeutic potential for neuroprotection to alleviate symptoms common in neurodegenerative and cognitive disorders, seizures, and inflammation, but more evidence in humans is needed to determine the true efficacy of THCv to treat these conditions. On the other hand, there is increasing evidence showing THCv improves outcomes for diabetics. In clinical trials, THCv reduced fasting plasma glucose and improved pancreatic β-cell function in patients with type 2 diabetes1. In addition to controlling blood sugar levels, THCv treatment resulted in lower body fat, increased energy expenditure, and improved insulin sensitivity1,2. While there are also some reports of THCv consumption suppressing appetite, the evidence is conflicting and further research is needed to determine at which doses this effect is significantly observed.
The beneficial effects seen in diabetic patients and other health conditions is due to how THCv interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). THCv is structurally similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and binds strongly to the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Depending on the dose, its action on the receptor is different. At lower doses, THCv acts like an antagonist that blocks or reduces receptor activity and; at higher doses, it acts like an agonist that activates receptor activity2. This behavior directly at the receptor results in differential effects at varying doses. For example, THCv at lower doses inhibits and at higher doses promotes psychoactive effects3. Interestingly, the psychoactive effects are characterized as being stronger than THC, but last for a shorter duration. Certain doses may lead to THCv inhibiting the breakdown of endocannabinoids (anandamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)), further promoting ECS activity4. As research continues in this field, we will have a better understanding of how THCv can be used therapeutically.
THCv containing products are hard to find considering most cannabis strains and related products are focused on THC and CBD content. While cannabis breeding practices has not focused on cultivating high THCv strains, varieties of African origin, such as Durban Poison, tend to have the highest THCv content. Doug’s Varin, Pineapple Purps, and Willie Nelson are specifically breed for high THCv potency.
If you want to learn more about how THCv can help you, then find out your genetic predisposition to certain eating behaviors that can benefit from THCv. Pathway Genomics has developed a new at-home DNA test, CannabisDNA, to help you understand your predisposition to common cannabis-related traits and match you to a cannabis strain. Learn more about how this test can help you personalize your cannabis experience and order your test today!
- Jadoon, K.A. et al. Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study. Diabetes Care 39, 1777-86 (2016).
- Pertwee, R.G. The diverse CB1 and CB2 receptor pharmacology of three plant cannabinoids: delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and delta9-tetrahydrocannabivarin. Br J Pharmacol 153, 199-215 (2008).
- Englund, A. et al. The effect of five day dosing with THCV on THC-induced cognitive, psychological and physiological effects in healthy male human volunteers: A placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot trial. J Psychopharmacol 30, 140-51 (2016).
- McPartland, J.M., Duncan, M., Di Marzo, V. & Pertwee, R.G. Are cannabidiol and Delta(9) -tetrahydrocannabivarin negative modulators of the endocannabinoid system? A systematic review. Br J Pharmacol 172, 737-53 (2015).