What is THC? Benefits & effects of tetrahydrocannabivarin

THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a cannabinoid or one of the active chemical compounds in cannabis plants and a THC variant. Although it is more abundant in African sativa, hemp and marijuana plants are used in extracting it. THCV may be slightly psychoactive as a THC variant, but its less bonding factor leaves a user more clear-headed.

There are many cannabinoids or active chemical compounds in cannabis plants, and THCV is one. As the name suggests, it is a THC homolog, and the two have the same chemical structures, with subtle differences. Unlike THC with a 5-carbon alkyl side, THCV has a 3-carbon side. This means that it bonds less than THC; hence it’s only 25% as strong as delta-9 THC and 50% as potent as it. Currently, THCV is available in vape carts only, but we look forward to other delivery methods for this cannabinoid. Here is all you need to know about THCV.

What Is THCV?

THC is the psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis plants (cannabinoids), and it stands out for its ‘high’ effect where it makes a person stoned, especially in high amounts (Schlienz et al., 2018). It is available in many forms, which feature similar structural formulas with some differences. For instance, THCV is a THC variant with the same chemical structure as delta-9 but with 2 carbons less. Delta- 9 THC has a 5-carbon alkyl chain, while THCV’s sides have 3-carbon chains. While the difference may seem negligible, it means a lot, including how THCV can interact with the endocannabinoid receptors.

Where Does THCV Come From?

THCV is a cannabinoid, so you expect to find it in cannabis plants. Hemp and marijuana are common cannabis variants used in extracting many compounds, including THC. THCV is extracted from hemp and marijuana through chromatography techniques. Interestingly, THCV is found in limited amounts, less than 1%, in hemp and marijuana. However, some cannabis variants, especially the African sativa types, boast 3% or more THCV. Consequently, they would be great for THCV extraction, but because hemp and marijuana are studied, and the Farm Bill considers hemp with less than 0.3% THC federally legal, the two sound better for THCV extraction.

Is THCV Natural?

With the increased emphasis on consuming natural products, many people want to know if cannabinoids, including THCV, are natural. THCV is natural since it comes from cannabis plants, particularly hemp and cannabis plants. However, the demand for THCV is higher than the supply, so companies go out of their way to prepare THCV from other cannabinoids, specifically CBG. The inert form of CBG, i.e., CBGA, has THCV as one of the core compounds, and artificial production of THCV involves extracting it from CBGA.

What Are the Effects of THCV?

The cannabis space has so much to offer, and telling the difference between facts and fiction is challenging. Since THCV is a THC homolog, you may expect it to have some psychoactive effect. While this may be true, the effects are less intense in THCV. The fewer carbons in the alkyl bond also mean that the cannabinoid doesn’t bond as strongly as THC or its variants with more carbon atoms. Therefore, you can take THCV products and feel okay because the psychoactive effects linked to THC (Schlienz et al., 2018) are not as potent in THCV. THCV may only be half as potent as THC and 25% as strong as the parent compound or its close homolog, with 2 more carbon atoms in the alkyl chain.

What Are the Benefits of THCV?

THCV is a great THC alternative for people who like to enjoy the psychoactive THC but fear the ‘high’ effect. The few carbon atoms in the alkyl range show that THCV binds less strongly than delta- 9 THC; hence the effects are mild. THCV is almost similar to delta- 8, whose popularity is also growing because of the milder effects. Avraham et al. (2004) found delta- 8 great for appetite, and according to McCoy et al. (2018), THC may boost one’s quality of life if administered in the right amounts. You may want to explore THCV for these effects without exposing yourself to the risk of psychosis.

How Do You Consume THCV?

The consumption of THCV is yet another concern since many want to explore it because of the mild effects. Like other cannabinoids, THCV is ingestible and inhalable. You may want to try THCV desserts and sublinguals like tinctures, but the most common way of exploring THCV’s effects is by vaping the cannabinoid. You can buy pre-filled THCV vape tanks, cartridges, and pens. Alternatively, you can also opt for THCV and the vapes separately.

Therapeutic Effects of THCV

Cannabis plants have been there for the longest time, and the fact that they have a history moves people to always think of them as having therapeutic effects. For instance, Watt & Karl (2017) reported that CBD might have therapeutic effects, explaining why people opt for it for pain management, stress, and sleep problems. According to Aboiye et al. (2020), THCV boasts anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. Therefore, you can order THCV vapes for your rising blood sugar levels or inflammation. However, more studies are still underway to prove the THCV potential.

What Is the Legal Status of THCV?

THCV is milder in effects and has little influence on the brain. However, its legal status is critical since different regions have varying cannabis laws, and what might be legal in your country may jail you in another. Thankfully, THCV is not mentioned among the Psychotropic Substances in the Schedule 1 drugs. Therefore, THCV is technically legal, especially when extracted from hemp. Still, you must research your state’s cannabis law to know it views THC, including the THCV variant.


THCV is a cannabinoid or one of the many active chemical compounds in hemp and other marijuana plants. Although it is structurally similar to THC, THCV has a 3-carbon alkyl chain. Consequently, it bonds less strongly than THC, and it’s no wonder that it’s one as 25% strong as delta- 9 THC. The relatively low potency means less psychoactive effects, and you may be happy to know that THCV has a less potent effect on clear-headedness. Early studies show that THCV might have anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties, but further research is needed to provide more evidence before recommending THCV for inflammation and diabetes.


Abioye, A., Ayodele, O., Marinkovic, A., Patidar, R., Akinwekomi, A., & Sanyaolu, A. (2020). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): a commentary on potential therapeutic benefit for the management of obesity and diabetes. Journal of Cannabis Research2(1), 1-6.

Avraham, Y., Ben-Shushan, D., Breuer, A., Zolotarev, O., Okon, A., Fink, N., Katz, V., & Berry, E. M. (2004). Very low doses of delta 8-THC increase food consumption and alter neurotransmitter levels following weight loss. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior77(4), 675–684.

McCoy, B., Wang, L., Zak, M., Al‐Mehmadi, S., Kabir, N., Alhadid, K., … & Snead III, O. C. (2018). A prospective open‐label trial of a CBD/THC cannabis oil in dravet syndrome. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 5(9), 1077-1088.

Schlienz, N. J., Lee, D. C., Stitzer, M. L., & Vandrey, R. (2018). The effect of high-dose dronabinol (oral THC) maintenance on cannabis self-administration. Drug and alcohol dependence187, 254-260.

Watt, G., & Karl, T. (2017). In vivo evidence for therapeutic properties of cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s disease. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, 20.


Marie Salbuvik

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