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What is THC-V?

More and more, cannabis research continues to discover the therapeutic benefits of not only CBD and THC but also other lesser-known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While CBD and THC are some of the well-studied and most abundantly found cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, there is one unique cannabinoid that has been garnering a lot of attention lately.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids that are being explored for its effects and uses. And just as something is totally new, everybody wants a piece of the pie — where it is legal, cannabis companies have been developing a number of THCV products including vapes, flower, sublingual oils, and more.

Derived from the cannabis plant, THCV is believed to produce psychoactive effects, but in relatively higher amounts than its botanical cousin, delta 9 THC. If you’re interested to know more, in this article we briefly cover a few things you need to know about THCV including its benefits, effects, and the current law for its sale and consumption.

THCV and its History

While THCV is just starting to gain popularity, what many may not know is that researchers have known about this cannabinoid since the 70s. As a native of Africa, THCV is mainly found in the cannabis plants of this country.

During the 1980s, researchers developed a unique test using THCV to determine if cannabis plants were smuggled into the country. Due to the fact that THC is commonly found in cannabis located in America, measuring THC wasn’t enough. High THCV levels typically meant that the plants were brought overseas. As laws on cannabis started to change, more studies on THC and CBD came to the forefront due to the increase in legalization. And in the 2000s, THCV started to catch the eye of the medical sector...

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill signed into law by the previous president, many doors have been opened for the manufacturing, sale, and consumption of cannabis. Interestingly enough, cannabis companies that don’t have a recreational marijuana program are able to sell hemp-derived THCV products...

Does THCV Cause Any Psychoactive Effect?

In small amounts, THCV won’t cause a high feeling in the mind and the body. In fact, THCV has been believed to have the ability to counteract the effects of THC, which includes reducing the effects of a psychoactive high. However, consuming THCV in high amounts can cause a psychoactive effect.

In the beginning, THCV was mainly found in the marijuana plant. However, as time and innovation progressed, cultivators and breeders alike have created hemp plants to contain high levels of THCV, which can cause a high in the mind and the body.

Due to its molecular structure, a high caused by THCV won’t be as intense or last as long as THC. However, it's just enough for cannabis companies to sell THC-infused products. Until full legalization happens, many believe THCV to be an acceptable alternative to traditional THC.


THCV and THC are both cannabinoids that may have a similar name and look, but that’s just about it when it comes to their similarities. It’s important to note that THCV is an analog of THC so while they appear the same, they are both unique in their own right.

While THCV has a near identical molecular makeup as THC, it comes with a smaller hydrocarbon chain. The hydrocarbon chain of THC is much longer and exactly what makes the cannabinoid provide such an intense high. So how is THCV formed? While both THC and THCV are formed by chemical reactions, THCV derives from cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVa). After this acidic cannabinoid undergoes a process of decarboxylation, THCV is formed.

What Are THCV’s Effects?

Like THC, THCV has an affinity for CB1 receptors found in the body’s natural endocannabinoid system (ECS). CB1 receptors are mainly found in the dental nervous system which includes the brain. However, THCV doesn't produce psychoactive effects like THC, as we said before.

Cannabis researchers have the belief that the THCV cannabinoid could assist in managing psychological activities, motor function, appetite, unwanted effects associated with THC consumption, and many others. These tasks are accomplished by blocking the CB1 receptors, the same ones that THC binds to. Compared to THCV, THC does the same thing however it can cause the munchies, alters cognitive thinking, impairs mobility, and others.

Due to THCV’s interaction with CB1 receptors, it’s believed that the cannabinoid may positively impact mood by influencing these receptors.

Can THCV Cause a Positive Drug Test?

Marijuana drug tests were designed to look for metabolites of THC. In a study on non-marijuana smokers, it was found that metabolites or THCV can stay in the system for a couple weeks. However, only half of the patients had detectable amounts of THCV levels following consumption. Therefore, THCV will more than likely not cause a positive drug test.

Nonetheless, until more research is conducted, it may be best to avoid consuming THCV in any form if this is a concern for you.

Is THCV Legal?

No doubt, cannabis and its constituents are floating in a gray area when it comes to the legality of its sale and consumption. The 2018 Farm Bill classified THC as a Schedule 1 controlled substance however, THCV is not outlined as one of them. Due to this fact, many cannabis companies have been able to sell a number of different THCV products.

THCV t doesn't perform the same functions as THC and is not derived from THC, so it technically can't be considered tetrahydrocannabinol.

The has given the cannabinoid a pass in certain states where hemp-derived products haven't been totally outlawed. THCV could potentially be considered an analog of THC which has severely complicated our understanding of the legality of the cannabinoids, as current legislation has classified the THC cannabinoid as an analog which would make it a controlled substance. However, with time we hope things will clear up.


Cannabis is a highly versatile plant that offers consumers a wide variety of ways to enjoy the plant. Of them, THCV has been gaining a lot of traction and seems to interact with our bodies in a positive way. While it is federally legal to sell and consume, it might be a good idea to educate yourself on the current cannabis laws where you reside before making cannabis purchases so you can have a safe, responsible and pleasant cannabis experience.

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