Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a compound found in marijuana that is similar to THC in molecular structure but produces different effects. It is non-intoxicating and it interacts with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. In marijuana, it is only found in very small amounts and more research needs to be done to accurately conclude its effect on humans. THCV is in the class of phytocannabinoids and it is one that isn’t as prominent as THC or CBD.
THCV is derived from cannabigerovarin acid (CBGVA). CBGVA is just one of the two major cannabinoid precursors in addition to cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Specific enzymes will take CBGVA and convert them into cannabinoids that are more acidic such as THCVA, and this then decarboxylates into THCV when it is exposed to light or heat, which is the active compound.
Cannabinoids like THCV, THC, and CBD interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system which is comprised of receptors, messenger molecules, and enzymes that have the purpose of regulating the body. Similar to other cannabinoids, THCV is produced in the trichomes of marijuana plants. The trichomes are tiny little hairs that coat the surface of the plant. THCV is said to bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, and these two receptors are the most popular and most researched in the body.
Someone that is consuming cannabis will likely not experience any effects from THCV because it is only present in such small amounts in cannabis cultivars. Though more research needs to be done on THCV, one study conducted in 2010 revealed decreased signs of inflammatory pain in mice. Another study in 2010 on rats revealed that THCV might be able to reduce epileptic seizure activity. A study in 2007 showed that THCV might aid in promoting bone health by interacting with CB2 receptors in the bone marrow.