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THCV: THE “DIET WEED”

Have you ever blazed one and found yourself waiting for a double-double at the In-N-Out drive-through with munchies so bad that you almost ate your iPhone? Well, if you have, this might be a shocker:

Cannabis use may also be an appetite suppressant and help marijuana users lose weight.

Huh? Are you high? 

Absolutely. But I’m high functioning, and that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

The cannabis plant is incredibly complex with limitless potential therapeutic benefit. While the science of smoking marijuana is new, and there’s still a ton that we don’t know, we do know this:cannabis has more than 100 cannabinoids, and they can affect us differently. THCV is one of them.

Known as diet weed or weederall, cannabis strains with THCV suppress appetite, may help you lose weight, and people are very excited about that. Why? Because in this culture, you can never be too rich or thin, and too many double-doubles make it hard to button your pants. 

Now, where did I leave those healthy snacks…?

WHAT IS THCV?

THCV is short for Tetrahydrocannabivarin. Yes, that’s a very long word. I tried to say it three times and gave up. So, let’s just stick with the short version — THCV. Yes, that’s much better. Anyway, as we know, THCV is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. But what you might not know is that cannabinoids affect us because they interact with our endocannabinoid system (“ECS”). 

The ECS is a system of naturally produced endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors in all humans that keep us in a state of homeostasis. Some of the functions it regulates include:

  • Immune Response
  • Pain Response
  • Blood Pressure
  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Mood

There are two primary receptors in the ECS — CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are in the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system. CB2 receptors are in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells. 

Smoking weed affects humans because cannabinoids mimic endocannabinoids and trigger a response in the endocannabinoid system. This is how cannabis fights chronic pain too, lowers blood pressure, gets you so high you can touch the sky, or suppresses appetite in the case of THCV.

THCV VS THC

One of the best ways to understand THCV is by contrasting its function in the ECS with our old friend THC. These two cannabinoids have a similar molecular structure but act like opposites. 

THC is found in high quantities in cannabis and is a CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist. This is why it causes appetite stimulation and makes you want that double-double. This is also why THC is an effective treatment for increasing appetite in cancer patients who struggle with appetite and nausea. 

THCV is a rare cannabinoid and has the opposite effect because it’s a CB1 antagonist. As a result, it suppresses hunger, reduces weight gain, and helps with weight loss. This is how THCV earned the name “diet weed” and why we have so many anecdotal accounts of people using THCV to reduce appetite, manage body weight, and to help with weight loss. 

ARE THCV AND THC PSYCHOACTIVE?

THC is psychoactive. It’s the cannabinoid that gets you high. Many consider pure THCV to be non-psychoactive, but that’s not accurate. A small to moderate dose of THCV may not have any intoxicating effects or psychoactive effects, but it will impact your mood, and anything that impacts your mood is psychoactive.

WHERE DO THC AND THCV COME FROM?

The origin stories of these cannabinoids highlight another significant difference. THC comes from the “mother cannabinoid” cannabigerolic acid (“CBGA”). THCV comes from cannabigerovarinic acid (“CBGVA”). When exposed to light and heat, these precursors convert from their acid forms into THC and THCV. This activation process is called decarboxylation

IS THCV LEGAL?

At the federal level, THCV’s legality hinges on the legal definition of hemp and marijuana. Federally, marijuana is an illegal Schedule I Narcotic in the Controlled Substance Act. But the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, defined as any cannabis plant with under 0.3% THC. So, on the federal level, marijuana-derived THCV is illegal and hemp-derived THCV is legal. Huh?

I know it makes no sense. But it gets even more absurd. On the state level, cannabis-derived THCV is legal in states where medical or recreational cannabis is legal, but it’s illegal in states without recreational or medicinal cannabis laws. All this nonsense needs to stop. Prohibition must end.

WHAT DOES THCV DO?

We talked about how THCV suppresses appetite, helps with weight loss, and our lack of willpower when it comes to cheeseburgers. THCV can help with reduced appetite. On a more serious note, it’s a powerful tool for anyone struggling with obesity that needs to improve their health.

But THCV is about more than just eating habits, weight loss, and appetite suppression. Cannabis research on medical marijuana has established that the effects of THCV also offer these potential therapeutic health benefits:

  • THCV may treat diabetes: THCV helped regulate glucose intolerance and insulin levels in mouse models.
  • THCV may reduce anxiety: In PTSD patients, THCV reduces anxiety without negative effects such as suppressing emotion.
  • THCV may treat Alzheimer’s Disease: This research is new and emerging, but THC may treat tremors, motor control, and brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s.
  • THCV may stimulate bone growth: THCV could treat osteoporosis and other bone and bone cells related conditions.

More human studies and more research on therapeutic benefits and the medicinal properties of medical cannabis, cannabis products, and other cannabinoids are needed. Moreover, always consult your healthcare professional before deciding whether marijuana use is right for you.

Now about that whole weederall thing. This is purely anecdotal, but recreational cannabis users often report that THCV gives them an energy boost like you’d get from coffee but without the jitters. Some describe its effect as a pleasant mood boost without the high associated with THC.

A pleasant mood boost? Who doesn’t want one of those? In fact, I’ll take two.

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