THC, THCV, TCHVA – Not all THC is the Same, But Sort Of

Photo Credit: cannamm

We all know about the cannabinoid THC, however, there’s more than just one version of THC. We have been taught about the most popular: THC which is known as the cannabinoid that gets us “high”. This piece will focus on the other types of THC and what research and experts say about them and how these cannabinoids are connected to each other.

What is THC?

THC, short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, comes from the dried/cured cannabis plant,and is known as the intoxicationing and mind altering cannabinoid.  In recently developed cannabis culture, due to new finds, THC is mainly known as Delta-9 THC, meaning it’s on the 9th chain of the carbon bond. Delta 9 THC, the most popular THC, reacts to the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which cause the psychotropic effects for the consumer. Another form of THC is Delta-8 THC, meaning it’s attached to the 8th chain of the carbon bond and it reacts to the CB1 & CB2 receptors. 

What is THCV?

The second cannabinoid of THC is THCV(Tetrahydrocannabivarin). This version of THC has a mild psychotropic effect, and because of that, it is said that most people don’t have associated anxiety, like they may with THC. It’s found mostly in Sativa strains of the cannabis plant and is said to produce feelings of euphoria and alertness THCV is said to act as an appetite suppressant, according to Cresco Labs. 

THCV can also control the blood sugar for type-2 diabetics, according to the study with the Nutrition and Diabetes Journal: “in 2013 we were using mice that have Type-2 Diabetes, the findings where that the mice had increased energy, lower glucose intolerance, and increase insulin sensitivity in obese mice.”  

What is THCVA?

Depending on the stimuli,THCVA can turn into THCV. THCVA cannabinoid is a final byproduct of CBGVA (cannabigerovarin acid). When CBGV converts to THCVA and when exposed to heat or light, it turns into THCV.  According to Ionization Labs: “THCVA is created when geranyl pyrophosphate bonds with divorinolic acid instead of olivetolic acid and forms CBGA. CBGA then breaks down into THCVA by a process of THCV synthase.”  

The Benefits of THC, THCV, and THCVA 

THC, THCV, and THCVA are helpful to the endocannabinoid system by helping the receptors in the nervous system. THC can give you strong psychotropic effects, by binding with the CB1 receptors in your brain.  THCV, does help as an antagonist to the CB1 receptors, and that eases the effects of its relative. THCVA is converted to THCV, but that all depends as it were discussed previously, on the stimuli.  

All are helpful to the body because they are beneficial to the  Endocannabinoid System, which binds to brain receptors that go into the central nervous system.  They all heal in different areas:appetite suppression, PTSD, controlling diabetes, immune booster, stimulating the appetite, pain relief, epilepsy, parkinson’s, and for cancers.  

According to Itzhak Kurek, Ph.D., CEO, and co-founder of Cannformatics, there aren’t many differences in the varieties of THC:  “under a microscope, there’s not much difference between THC &THCV, they have a similar molecular structure, except THC has a longer side-chain.”

In Conclusion

These cannabinoids are 3 out of 100+ still being discovered. For those who aren’t scientists, the simplistic way of describing the chemical compounds of these 3 cannabinoids is: 

THC is the protagonist for the CB1 receptors, meaning it’s the primary cannabinoid that gives the “high” feeling.  THCV and THCVA, are the antagonists of the CB1 receptor.

THC, as we know, is only legal in certain states and countries, however when it was researched, THCV is federally legal, when extracted from hemp plants with less than 0.3% THC, and it’s also legal medically, for those who have a doctor’s prescription. 

Written by: Terry Byas

Edited by: Veronica Castillo

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