What is THCV? How is it Different from THC?

Strong THCV marijuana in scientific tubes

Cannabis research is quickly discovering more and more about the marijuana plant. It has been nearly 55 years since we first identified and isolated the cannabinoid THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).

Now in 2018, published cannabis research and studies are taking off. From understanding the endocannabinoid system to the break-down of each cannabinoid, our knowledge of marijuana is growing every day. Educated consumers realize what THC and CBD are, and what they do.

However, those are only two of the many cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. Aside from THC and CBD, consumers do not know much about the cannabinoids in marijuana. One particular cannabinoid sparking the recent interest of both scientists and consumers is THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin).

The Purpose

The entourage effect is not a brand-new discovery. Cannabinoids and terpenes all work hand-in-hand to produce a synergistic effect on a person’s endocannabinoid system. While the compounds found within marijuana all work together, each cannabinoid and terpene serves its individual purpose.

THCV is a psychoactive cannabinoid similar to the primary cannabinoid, THC. While both are psychoactive, THCV serves a different purpose and role in the endocannabinoid system. When comparing THCV to its counterpart, it serves as an antagonist to specific effects of THC. However, in high doses, THCV is said to be more psychoactive than THC and works hand-in-hand to increase the strength of the effects. Strains with high THCV content tend to cause euphoric, energetic, and uplifting effects. Granted, there is a common consensus that the effects depend on the quantity consumed.

The effects of THCV at lower doses tend to counteract specific effects of THC. The crazy thing about the marijuana plant is how it has checks and balances on itself. With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Cannabis follows this same rule. In a sense, THCV is the equal and opposite reaction to THC.


Producing THCV

Both THC and CBD began as a CBGA compound. When CBGA is broken down with UV light, it produces cannabinoids called THCA and THCVA. THCA produces THC when activated, while the cannabinoid THCV comes from the compound THCVA. A majority of today’s cannabis is bred by cultivators to have a higher THC content; which makes it challenging to find THCV on its own or in high concentrations. To produce high THCV potencies cultivators must stop breeding for solely THC.

There are not many strains with THCV. Until recently, the strains that contain the most THCV content were Durban Poison, Jack the Ripper, and Skunk #1. Even though these strains contain a fair amount of the cannabinoid, it is still only about 1 to 2 percent, or sometimes even less. The strain Doug’s Varin is a new sativa strain with the highest THCV content in history. What makes this strain even more unique is how it contains more THCV than THC. Doug’s Varin is the first step towards making THCV available to consumers.

What to Expect in the Future

As we continue to learn more and more about this amazing cannabinoid, we will likely see more strains bred with high THCV content. With more published research and the rise of federal reform, we may see a legal THCV product soon. Keep an eye out for THCV tinctures and even isolates coming to market. Odds are they will be crazy expensive but, it will be worth it for many consumers!