What is THCV? How THCV is different from THC?


THCV or tetrahydrocannabivarin is a minor cannabinoid found in lower concentrations than the more common cannabinoids CBD and THC. THCV’s unique array of effects and medical benefits differ this compound from other cannabinoids.

This minor cannabinoid is also initially produced from tetrahydrocannabivarin acid (THCVA) like CBD and THC. The central precursor Cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGV) is converted into tetrahydrocannabivarin acid (THCVA), which then turns into THCV in the presence of heat or light.

What is the difference between THC and THCV?

THC is the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. The medicinal properties of THC are due to its specific interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a central neuro-modulatory system in humans. ECS system regulates emotional responses, behavioral reactivity, and social interactions. THC produces psychoactive effects by activating the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain that control memory, emotions, and movement.  THC can be used in the management of depression, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, resistant childhood seizures, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, convulsions, glaucoma, neuropathic pain and a variety of other condition.

THCV is a naturally occurring structural analogue of THC. Unlike THC, THCV produces an entirely different buzz. THCV is non-psychoactive. While THC acts by activating CB1 and CB2 receptors, THCV acts as a neutral CB1 antagonist / reverse agonist. THCV may act as agonist or antagonist at the CB2 receptors depending on the dose. THCV is predicted to be a compound that prevents the psychological effects of THC by acting as an antagonist. However, the exact mechanism by which THCV antagonizes the effect of THC is still unknown.

 Can THCV get you High?

Because THCV is similar to THC, it’s a common perception that THCV can also get you high. But in reality, THCV in a small dose does not get you high. A study published in 2015 found that low doses of THCV can inhibit the intoxicating effects of THC. However, at higher doses, THCV can itself cause intoxicating effects.

What are the uses of THCV?

Recent research found several potential health benefits associated with THCV. These benefits have increased the demand for THCV- products in the cannabis industry. A few prominent medical services of THCV includes;

  • Obesity: According to a study, low THCV doses can suppress appetite by antagonizing the CB1 receptors. These findings suggested the potential use of THCV in the treatment of obesity. The study also confirmed that THCV has no risk of side effects- depression, anxiety, and insomnia- commonly associated with anti-obesity drugs.
  • Diabetes: A study published in Diabetes Care suggested that CBD and THCV can help maintain tighter glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.  Research also found that moderate to high THCV doses ranging between 10 and 20 milligrams can regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.
  • Epilepsy: THCV possesses an anti-convulsant property that suggests its use to reduce seizures in epileptic patients. This minor cannabinoid is significantly reducing seizure incidences in an in vitro model induced with epileptic activity.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: Anti-oxidant property of THCV is useful in treating symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. THCV can also effectively delay neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease.
  • Schizophrenia: THCV acts on the endocannabinoid system, which ultimately results in enhanced serotonin receptors. Therefore, THCV can manage the negative, cognitive, and positive symptoms of schizophrenia.


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881115615104?journalCode=jopa&
  2. https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-020-0016-
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_A_Dawson/publication/327916263_Issue_4_1000219_Mol_Biol_an_open_access_journal_Dawson/links/5bacefe992851ca9ed2a3d86/Issue-4-1000219-Mol-Biol-an-open-access-journal-Dawson.pdf

Saba IqbalAuthor posts

Dr. Saba Iqbal is a contributing writer for BioMedican. She's a clinical pharmacist turned writer. Dr. Saba's education includes a doctoral degree in pharmacy (Pharm D) from the University of Sargodha, Pakistan. In search of a career that would take advantage of her medical and pharmaceutical skills, Dr. Saba found medical writing – a career path a few medical students consider. In her journey "from a medical bench to pen," she has worked with several startups for many years managing content on biotech products, pharmaceuticals, drugs, devices, and techniques. While keeping up with the latest trends in medical writing, she aims to use her writing skills to clearly communicate complex scientific, medical, and health information to the potential investor and general audience.

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