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THCV: The Cannabinoid That Can Help With Weight Loss
More than 113 cannabinoids have been discovered in the cannabis plant, including tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV. An obvious molecular cousin to the infamous euphoric tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), THCV offers distinct characteristics in the world of cannabinoids.
According to Raphael Mechoulam, the Israeli researcher who discovered THC in 1964,
“Most of the cannabinoids in cannabis have not been fully evaluated for their pharmacological activity. Tetrahydrocannabivarin is a potent antagonist of anandamide, a major endogenous cannabinoid. It seems possible that many of the non‐psychoactive constituents of this plant will be of biological interest.”
The Details on THCV
Probably the most distinct — and distinctly marketable — aspect of THCV is its ability to suppress appetite. This characteristic of this molecule is the opposite of THC, which has a reputation for enhancing appetite to create what is sometimes dubbed “the munchies.” This cannabinoid should be avoided by those suffering from anorexia.
The medical community finds obvious interest in the appetite suppressing qualities of molecules such as THCV. The efficacy of natural and non-addictive products, lacking the side effects of traditional pharmaceutical therapies, is of obvious benefit to consumers suffering from conditions like obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
THCV regulates blood sugar levels and reduces insulin resistance. It is believed to be helpful for osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions. For the same reasons that it is helpful for Alzheimer’s disease, this special cannabinoid shows promise for alleviating the symptoms of and delaying the neurodegeneration associated with Parkinson’s disease. THCV may also prevent and relieve panic attacks in PTSD patients.
Cannabis strains rich in THCV include Doug’s Varin, Durban Poison, Jack the Ripper, Pineapple Purps, Power Plant, Red Congolese, Skunk #1, and Willie Nelson. It is more common in sativa varieties of the herb.
Research into the medicinal efficacy of cannabinoids like THCV is increasing, although thwarted in the United States by the Schedule 1 status of cannabis. A number of studies have revealed the neuroprotective and blood sugar regulation qualities of THCV, spotlighting its efficacy for senior patients with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2011 study entitled “Symptom‐relieving and Neuroprotective Effects of the Phytocannabinoid Δ9‐THCV in Animal Models of Parkinson’s Disease” published in the British Journal of Pharmacology concluded that THCV can be a beneficial therapy for patients with diseases involving neurodegeneration, including Parkinson’s disease.
The study’s researchers concluded, “Given its antioxidant properties and its ability to activate CB2, but to block CB1, receptors, THCV has a promising pharmacological profile for delaying disease progression in Parkinson’s disease and also for ameliorating Parkinsonian symptoms.”
A review article published in 2012 in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology entitled “Role of Cannabinoids in the Regulation of Bone Remodeling” demonstrated that the human endocannabinoid system—which features CB1 and CB2 receptors that bind with cannabinoids like THC and THCV—is present in not only the brain, central nervous system, and immune system, but also throughout the skeletal system.
Concluded the study, “The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in regulating a variety of physiological processes, such as appetite control, energy balance, pain perception, and immune responses. Recent studies have implicated the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of bone cell activity and bone remodeling.”