What Is THCV?


What is THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) and what is its superpower?




Bet you thought that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was the only psychoactive compound in your marijuana. For the longest time, so did we. But there’s another compound that activates cannabinoid receptors in a psychoactive way – sometimes…

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a psychoactive cannabinoid with its own set of psychoactive effects; they’re just not very well characterized.

At higher doses, it can behave as a CB1 agonist, meaning that, like THC, it binds to a cannabinoid receptor and activates the receptor to produce a biological response.

At lower doses, THCV may act as a CB1 antagonist, blocking the receptor activation.

According to research from a leading cannabis science and technology company:


  • A side effect of THCV that requires attention is its strong appetite suppression
  • THCV may reduce and block panic attacks, making it potentially useful in the management of PTSD
  • THCV may reduce tremors associated with motor control ailments, such as Parkinson’s
  • THCV may stimulate bone cell growth, a reversing the damage of osteoporosis and other bone health conditions


They also found that THCV is stronger than THC but the effects have a shorter duration. Their report, however, is more anecdotal than empirical because studies have not been conducted where subjects receive high amounts of isolated THCV.

The inference about the psychedelic strength of THCV could be the influence of the kinds of strains in which THCV is most common.

Strains with elevated levels of THCV are found in populations of cannabis plants from China, India, Nepal, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as southern and western Africa—the varieties that tend to fall in the “indica” category. If you’re a Durban Poison devotee, you’ve probably felt the effects of THCV. The same thing goes if you’ve gotten your hands on less prevalent strains like Pineapple Purps (3:1 THC:THCV) or Doug’s Varin (6:7 THC:THCV).

What cannabinoid lights your fire? Which ones do you want to know more about? Comment below!

January 28, 2018

by Alana Armstrong

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Alana seeks to see cannabis from the perspective of politicians, advocates, entrepreneurs, and consumers. She got her start with a byline in the arts and culture section and crossed over into cannabis after using it medicinally. Current projects include investigations into cannabis and wellness; entrepreneurs of the Green Rush; cannabis for athletes; and the evolution of cannabis laws and culture in Canada.


  • david lampach

    I own a company that produces high THCV products. While THCV is shorter duration than THC, it is definitely not stronger. In the absence of THC, THCV is essentially non-psychoactive, but when combined it clarifies, lowers, and shortens the effects of THC. The cannabis media has been echoing the “Sports Car of Cannabinoids” post for years now, and it is simply incorrect.

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