THCV VS THC: What’s the Difference?
You’ve likely heard of Delta 9 THC. It is the cannabinoid famous for weed’s intoxicating effects, after all.
You might even be familiar with other types of THC, such as Delta 8 and Delta 10 THC.
Then there’s THCV. This up-and-coming cannabinoid is gaining increased attention for its potential effects, but what exactly is it? And how is it different from THC?
That’s exactly what we’ll take a look at in this article. Keep reading to learn all there is to know about THCV vs THC to learn which is best for you.
THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin or delta-9-THCV) is an isomer of delta-9 THC and contains a similar carbon structure. The primary difference is that the carbon tail has two fewer carbons
What exactly is a THC isomer?
Simply put, it’s a molecular compound with the same chemical formula, but with a different arrangement of atoms in the molecule. These isomers carry varying properties that can affect the body differently than their chemical counterparts when consumed.
So here you have THCV, an isomer of THC. Chemically the same, but THCV has two fewer carbon atoms.
And while this may seem insignificant, it leads to very different properties between. THCV and THC contain different effects and potential therapeutic benefits.
THCV is just one of over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, but because it’s produced in such small quantities (around 1%), science has focused on the more common cannabinoids like delta-9-THC, CBD, and delta-8 THC.
Now that cannabis research is slowly increasing, science has discovered significant benefits in even the most minute components found in the cannabis plant – THCV being one of them.
Increased scientific advancements in the cannabis space means THCV can be synthesized in greater quantities. You can now find THCV gummies, vape carts and other products containing this novel cannabinoid.
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THC is the major psychoactive component in cannabis, and like THCV, it is one of over 100+ cannabinoids that have been discovered in cannabis.
Due to its psychoactive, euphoric effects,, it’s been used recreationally and medicinally worldwide for thousands of years.
Currently, more than half of the US states have legalized the medicinal use of THC, and over a dozen states have legalized the compound for recreational use.
When consuming THC via inhalation (whether smoking cannabis flower, Delta 9 vape carts or taking dabs), the compound passes from the lungs into the bloodstream before making its way to the brain.
The effects of THC are felt almost immediately. THC’s peak effets are typically experienced about 30 minutes later and they can last up to three hours.
When taken orally, THC is felt between 1-2 hours, and the effects can last up to eight hours or more, depending on your tolerance.
Other common isomers of cannabis include delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC. While they both produce intoxicating effects, they’re considerably less potent than delta-9 THC.
That said, Delta 8 THC is stronger than Delta 10, making it a much more popular choice of THC isomers.
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THC VS THCV Compared
Like other cannabinoids, THCV and THC work because of their influence on the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS contains two primary receptors: CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found primarily in the central nervous system and the brain, whereas the CB2 receptors are prevalent in the peripheral nervous system and the body’s immune system.
And while you might assume THCV and THC have similar effects, chemical composition, and safety profiles, they’re actually quite different.
THC activates CB1 receptors, which are the receptors responsible for getting you high. THCV, on the other hand, essentially “turns off” CB1 receptors. Because of this, it’s suggested that THCV may help block adverse effects of THC.
THC is most famous for its high, and the effects of THC are caused by THC molecules binding with CB1 receptors in the brain. This binding affinity of THC to CB1 receptors is the reason for its euphoric, intoxicating effects.
Used both recreationally and medicinally, THC contains a wide array of potential therapeutic effects including pain relief, decreased anxiety, insomnia relief and more.
A positive effect of THC is the inhibition of nausea and vomiting, making it popular amongst individuals undergoing chemotherapy. The compound is also known to increase appetite stimulation.
On the other hand, THC is associated with a handful of adverse effects, including anxiety, fear, distrust, panic and paranoia.
THCV is psychoactive, but it does not get you high like THC. If taken in small doses, the effect may not impair your cognitive functions. This is great for individuals who need to remain clear-headed while still benefiting from the cannabinoid’s potential effects.
In fact, reports from THCV users claim that they feel more energized. Others claim they have higher motivation and alertness.
Some people even claim they feel a rush of euphoria from low doses of THCV, but if large doses are taken, it can cause intoxication very similar to a delta-9 THC buzz.
A 2020 study explored the effects of THCV on obesity. The findings demonstrated that THCV decreased appetite, influenced satiety, and increased metabolism. This outcome is an excellent indicator that THCV may help with weight loss.
An earlier 2015 study conducted on humans demonstrated there are areas of the brain that are hyperactive in obese people. Study participants underwent brain imaging after taking 10 mg of oral THCV. The results demonstrated that THCV influences these brain areas linked to obesity.
There have also been studies on the potential benefits of THCV for Parkinson’s Disease and epilepsy.
When it comes to the safety of THC and THCV, they are both considered well-tolerated and safe for human consumption.
Keep in mind, however, that research on cannabis is limited.
While cannabis in general is considered safe, THC isn’t without its adverse effects. In some cases people may experience anxiety and paranoia after consuming products containing THC.
Research on THCV is even more limited than THC. That said, there haven’t been any major side effects in the limited studies conducted on the cannabinoid.
Though similar, THC and THCV have differing chemical compositions that cause them to interact with the body in significantly different ways. The chemical composition of THCV is distinct from THC, as the chemical formula has two extra carbon molecules.
The chemical composition of THCV is C19H26O2, while the chemical composition of THC is C21H30O2.
Because THC has a longer carbon tail, it binds directly to CB1 receptors. THCV, on the other hand, doesn’t contain the same binding affinity as THC.
Which Is Right for Me: THCV VS THC
Whether THC or THCV is right for you depends on whether or not you are looking for an intoxicating buzz. If you are looking for an energetic feeling that will make you alert and motivated without the intoxicating effects of THC, you might want to try THCV.
When taken in small quantities, THCV will not get you buzzed like THC. Still, research is revealing many potential benefits of the compound regarding obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, and other conditions.
For people who dislike the THC high and the munchies that come with it, THCV reduces the hunger response to a certain degree and may be more to your liking.
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While studies further reveal the benefits of these two cannabinoids, more and more products containing THCV will be coming out.
As you already know, THC and its benefits and products are widely recognized and have been approved for use in certain medications. And though the investigation into THCV is still in the infantile stage, more benefits are sure to be found on the horizon.
Always make sure you buy from reputable sources. Please do your research and make sure they have completed quality testing. And be wary of online dispensaries that may sell inferior products.
Always medicate and use the products responsibly, and give THCV a try if you’re looking for a light and airy feeling.