May 26 , 2020
Okay, so there isn’t a specific THCV strain – that is to say that there isn’t a strain called THCV, but there are strains that contain significant amounts of THCV. What is THCV – and why should you care? We are here to answer that question and more; just as we are sure you are here to get that answer… or you just have time to kill on the internet. Either way, welcome and let’s plunge into the pool of THCV information and go for a swim. Wanna? It’ll be fun!
First off, what the heck is it? Tetrahydrocannabivarin (good luck with the pronunciation) is a cannabinoid; it is considered to be a homologue or close chemical relative of THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the main psychoactive component in weed. Molecularly, THC and THCV differ only by a coupla carbon atoms. So, then, is THCV psychoactive? The answer is, yes and no; small amounts of THCV seem to have little to no effect, but in higher and higher amounts it will get you higher.
But getting a ganja glow on is not the only reason to concern yourself with this particular cannabinoid – some THCV benefits include appetite suppressant properties, the ability to regulate blood sugar levels for diabetics, discernable promise in decreasing anxiety attacks in PTSD patients but without turning them into emotionless zombies like some big pharma antidepressants; it has shown to be effective in improving Alzheimer’s disease tremors, motor control, and even brain lesions; and THCV stimulates the growth of new bone cells, thus could be instrumental in treating osteoporosis and other bone-loss diseases.
THC and CBD get a lot of buzz and deservedly so, both of those cannabinoids interact strongly with your body’s endocannabinoid system and both have proven track records in terms of pain relief and symptom management for a number of different conditions such as headaches, muscular pain, inflammation, seizures, nausea, anxiety, depression and so much more! Now there is a new rising star in the cannabis constellation: THCV – a powerful cannabinoid worthy of your consideration!
(THCV Infographic, image from BB Hydro Australia on Instagram)
All marijuana seeds and seedlings contain some degree of THCV, from trace amounts all the way up to the highest ever recorded THCV level of 53.7% of total cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV, is found in the most elevated levels in cannabis crops from places like China, India, Nepal, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as southern and western Africa – so you are more likely to get THCV effects from weed strains that are imported from those regions, pot plants that are bred from combinations of those high-THCV strain grows, or local cannabis crops of those same ganja greens cultivated for their elevated levels of THCV.
Certain landrace sativas tend to be high-THCV, those sativa strains of cannabis that evolved naturally in the geographic region they were originally from, such as the select Asian, Middle Eastern, and African countries or areas we mentioned above. Likely cannabis sativas that might contain a lot of THCV are grown in a region as close to the equator as possible and at a relatively high elevation – or in greenhouse growing conditions that can simulate those particular pot cultivation climates.
Right now, pure THCV isolate is not fully government-approved for any medical uses, so it is not currently available as a commercial product; mainly, you get THCV from weed, smoking it, or toking it, not as a tincture like THC or CBD can be found in. But because preliminary research has shown that THCV has promise as a potential treatment for obesity-associated glucose intolerance, companies such as GW Pharmaceuticals have studied pot plant-derived tetrahydrocannabivarin for type 2 diabetes patients.
(IS THVC psychoactive?, MCR Labs on Instagram)
So, is THCV legal? THCV itself is not specifically listed as a Schedule I drug like THC, unfortunately, still is; because it is technically a marijuana extract sales or possession intended for use could be prosecuted under the Federal Analog Act – unless cannabis is legal in your state for recreational use or you have a state-approved medical marijuana license.
So, you can’t just buy drops THCV or capsules – nor is your doctor likely to prescribe you THCV shots or pills because none of these is a thing just yet. You aren’t going to be able to find THCV edibles – unless they are made from a strain that contains high THCV; alas, there are no THCV Cheeba Chews candies like there are for CBD.
And what precisely is the difference when it comes to THCV vs THC? As we mentioned above, there is a very small molecular difference between THC and THCV. They are both psychoactive cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds found naturally within the cannabis plants – also known as phytocannabinoids; and these cannabinoids work with your body’s own endocannabinoid system in medicinal applications of both cannabis and hemp-derived products for the treatment of such varied conditions as inflammation, nausea, epileptic seizures, anxiety and PTSD, depression, sleep disorders, chronic pain, cancer, and tons more!
THC is the most prevalent cannabinoid in marijuana and specifically activates CB1 receptors associated with the brain and nervous system – which produce the high associated with THC, but also make it an effective appetite stimulator, nausea and vomiting suppressor, and pain reliever. THCV, by contrast, activates CB1 receptors at higher doses, but actually acts as a CB1 blocker in lower doses; THCV is found in generally minute quantities in most strains of cannabis and it has more appetite-suppressing effects and is excellent for pain relief in its own right, as well as promoting bone growth. Both THC and THCV being psychoactive (in large quantities with THCV) is unsurprising considering that THCV is just a THC molecule that is missing all of two carbon atoms.
And the only place you can currently get any THCV effects, currently, is from cannabis leaf and concentrates – shall we take a look at some pot strains with prodigious amounts of THCV? Let’s shall!
(High THCV vapes, image from Doug's Varin on Instagram)
High THCV Strains:
Here are the strains with the most THCV in them – we’ll give you a breakdown of each with its primary effects, the amount of THCV in most (if not all) of them and how to get THCV weed strains; not only will we clue you in on where to buy THCV strain pot products, but we’ll give you a rough idea of how much you’ll pay per 1/8th of an ounce.
Without further ado, here they are in order of highest THCV first and then descending:
1. Doug’s Varin – This is the one-and-only cannabis strain bred specifically for high THCV with a 22-24% THC range and an average THCV-A level of 15% (THCV-A is converted to THCV through decarboxylation, when you smoke it – just like THC-A becomes THC; advertised THC levels in unsmoked weed before it is decarbed are actually THC-A levels). This particular pot plant was specially cultivated to contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV, and produces THCV effects that can quiet Parkinson’s tremors, reduce anxiety and panic, subdue appetite and promote bone growth. And, yes, it will get you high.
Doug’s Varin is the closest thing to a ‘pure’ THCV strain, so you could just call it THCV strain, we suppose; this THCV Sativa strain has a notably piney scent and citrusy taste. California Cannabinoids is the exclusive provider of Doug’s Varin; there are currently no seeds available for outside growers, nor is there any growing information.
It is, right now, a rare find at recreational or medical marijuana dispensaries, or provisioning centers, but Doug’s Varin THCV strain runs $280 USD per ounce, $35 an eighth and can be found in places in California like Berkley, San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, and Santa Cruz. There are concentrated vape pen versions of Doug’s Varin that have varying ratios between THCV and the other cannabinoids such as Doug’s Varin Original Vape with 1:1 THCV/THC balance and Doug’s Varin Relief Formula with 1:1:1 THCV/THC/CBD – and in either case, they contain between 25% to 30% THCV in the cannabis oil and run $60 for .3g preloaded disposable vape pens.
(Books on cannabinoids Including THCV, image from Ms. Ganjapreneur on Instagram)
2. Pineapple Purps – Here is another sativa-dominant strain with a high-THCV cannabinoid profile of 5%, which may not seem like much compared to Doug’s Varin, but most marijuana strains only have trace amounts of THCV; the THC level is 15-16%, so there is a 3:1 ratio between Pineapple Purps THC and THCV. Genetically, PP is a cross between hybrid Pineapple, hybrid Skunk #1, and hybrid Cheese and has an earthy aroma with a sweet, pineapple taste.
THCV benefits include calming panic attacks, reduction of Parkinson’s tremors, and suppressing appetite with highly psychoactive and energizing effects befitting a sativa.
While we could not locate retail information for buying Pineapple Purps – nor could we find a source for seeds, we can tell you that the flowering time of Pineapple Purps THCV strain is 56-63 days with a yield of 1½ oz per square foot and a full-plant height of 80 inches or just over 6 feet.
3. Durban Poison – At least this high-THCV cannabis strain isn’t as obscure and hard to find as the first two; we ourselves have found and smoked this one even in the wilds of Michigan. And while it only has 0.5% THCV, that is a lot considering that most cannabis plants have far less. Once again, Durban Poison is a sativa, like most other high-THCV strains, and the THCV effects that it offers include reducing anxiety and reduced appetite stimulation compared to similar strains – as well as the usual energy boost uplift expected from smoking or ingesting a sativa.
Buying Durban poison commercially, you might expect to pay $48 for the 8th ounce in Boston, MA – whereas Los Angeles, CA sells it for $55 an 8th and Chicago, IL has it for $60 an 8th. Concentrated forms of Durban Poison with obviously higher percentages of THCV go for $65 per gram for oil cart in Detroit, MI; San Francisco has a 1 gram cartridge for $50.
Seeds are available from a number of online repositories. Durban Poison flowers after 8-9 weeks indoors and Durban Poison pot plants to 2-3 meters/yards (6-9ft) tall outdoors. The typical yield of Durban Poison high-THCV weed is 16 ounces grown outdoors, or around 13 ounces indoors.
(Table of cannabinoids Including THCV, image from Meme Weed Man on Instagram)
4. AC/DC – The next highest THCV level is the 50/50 balanced sativa/indica hybrid AC/DC with .11% THCV. Notable THCV benefits from using AC/DC cannabis include dialing down stress and anxiety, THCV weight loss assistance, calming panic attacks, helping with epileptic seizures, and the spasms of Parkinson’s disease.
Your out-of-pocket price for AC/DC high-THCV weed strain would be $23 per 8th ounce in Denver, Co; over in Salem, OR, you can get an 8th for $34, and AC/DC is only $15 an eighth in Seattle, WA. San Jose has concentrated high-THCV AC/DC concentrates for $60 for 1 gram of cannabis oil; Chicago, IL has AC/DC based RSO oil for $80 per gram with very high THCV levels being a concentrate, and West Hollywood has AC/DC carts for $55 for 1 gram.
If you get your hands on some seeds, then AC/DC high-THCV pot plants flower within 9 to 10 weeks; but expect a few weeks longer for budding in colder climates. AC/DC marijuana plants grow up to four feet high and have purple, thin, feathery leaves. The bud size is about that of a walnut. This is a high-maintenance plant with an average yield of 3 ounces per square foot outdoors and 1 ounce/ft^2 indoors.
5. Chocolope Haze – This high-THCV strain is a 95% Sativa-dominant hybrid with a .066 THCV level and 21-24% THC. You can reasonably expect to experience THCV diabetes benefit with potentially lower blood sugars from this and similar strains, as well as the soothing of stress and anxiety symptoms, plus some appetite suppression – though not as much as some of the above strains; Chocolope Haze is also known for alleviating pain and fighting fatigue.
Picking up a packet or plastic bottle of Chocolope Haze nugs will run you $25 for 1/8th oz-in Phoenix, AZ; $38 is your eighth cost in Seattle, WA, and Eugene, OR has the same for $23 per 1/8th ounce. Sacramento, CA has THCV-high Chocolope Haze cannabis cartridges for $30 for 1 half-gram; Eugene, OR has Chocolope Haze shatter for $16/gram, and Portland, OR has 1 gram cart for $32.
Chocolope Haze has a flowering time of 49-63 DAYS depending upon whether it is grown outdoors or inside; and has a general plant height of 80 inches or nearly 7 feet. And Chocolope Haze high-THCV has a yield of 6 ounces per square foot.
(Know Your Cannabinoids graphic, Image from Green Passion Industries on Instagram)
6. Blueberry Cheesecake – Because THCV tends to be found most often in sativas, it should be no surprise that Blueberry Cheesecake is a 70/30 sativa/indica hybrid; it boasts a .024 THCV level, with the associated THC range coming in at 14-17%. There will be some THCV appetite suppressant effect, but again far less than any of the above high-THCV strains because it has an even lower level of tetrahydrocannabivarin. It does, however, offer some of the same THCV effects like lowering blood sugars to a degree, helping to reduce panic attacks; improving the tremors, motor control problems, and brain lesions that come with Alzheimer’s disease, slowing Parkinson’s shaking, and stimulating bone growth. Blueberry Cheesecake can be both energizing and uplifting, as well as rather relaxing.
A slice of Blueberry Cheesecake strain, actually an 8th of an ounce, costs $30 in Portland, OR; Tacoma, WA has an eighth for $25, and it would be $50 for a 1/8th oz-in West Hollywood, CA. Concentrates with correspondingly concentrated THCV are $48 for a ½-gram cartridge of oil in Los Vegas, NV; and Seattle, WA offers an Ig concentrate cart for $25.
Cultivated high-THCV Blueberry Cheesecake plants tend to reach a height of 44 inches, or just under 4 feet, with a growing and flowering time of 65 days for an outdoor grow and 75 days for an indoor harvest. And the yield of Blueberry Cheesecake strain bud bushes tends to be 1½ ounces indoors and 2½ ounces, both per square foot.
Some other strains that are purported to have high THCV, but we couldn’t find the precise THCV levels for include: Power Plant, Willie Nelson (the strain, not the singer), Red Congolese, Jack the Ripper, Durban Cheese, and Skunk #1.
Here is a video with a ganja grower discussing the many benefits of THCV:
By now, it should be obvious that with the lone exception of Doug’s Varin, which was bred specifically to be a high-THCV strain, most weed strains have little to no THCV (or so little it barely registers). The most ‘pure THCV’ strain, Doug’s Varin, only has 15% THCV-A (the pre-heated or pre-decarboxylated form of tetrahydrocannabivarin), from there it drops down to 5% in Pineapple Purps and then really plummets after that. We’ve given you a list of the top THCV strains and an idea of where to get THCV weed, but the very highest THCV pot plants are pretty rare. There are concentrated forms of many of these largely sativa or sativa-dominant strains, including vape concentrates of Doug’s Varin, but there are no THCV isolates as of yet, no pure THCV extract. You can’t just run out to your local dispensary and buy some pure THCV oil. Given the obesity problems in our culture, there may be a THCV weight loss pill someday, but currently you have to smoke, dab, or vape it – unless you find some cannabis tincture made with one of the high-THCV strains we mentioned above.
While the effects are significant when it comes to THCV appetite suppressant abilities, THCV diabetes benefits are also important because they can regulate blood sugar levels; similarly, the THCV cannabinoid shows promise for curbing anxiety attacks in PTSD sufferers. THCV can also help with Alzheimer’s disease symptoms like tremors, motor control, and brain lesions; and THCV seems to promote bone growth so it shows potential as a treatment option for osteoporosis and other bone-loss conditions. Research into the efficacy of THCV is ongoing, as is a scientific investigation into most of the other cannabinoids and marijuana plant terpenes.
You wanted to know, is THCV legal? And we let you know that THCV is psychoactive in large quantities, so while not specifically listed as a controlled substance, it is regulated as a marijuana extract – and thus is currently a controlled substance. There is a THCV drug test that is used to determine whether someone has smoked or ingested natural cannabis versus synthetic marijuana. The results of this could be problematic in those states or countries where recreational marijuana use is prohibited and medical pot use is strictly controlled.
When it comes to THC vs THCV, they are nearly identical molecules save for a couple of carbon atoms. While both produce psychoactive effects, THCV does so only in larger quantities. Elsewise, they react differently with CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system located throughout your body; in low doses, THCV is actually a blocker of the CB1 receptor and this can somewhat negate the effects of THC.
(Doug's Varin Tincture, image from Doug's Varin on Instagram)
So, what is the takeaway on THCV?
- Right now, Doug’s Varin is the only strain specifically grown for THCV.
- THCV is an appetite suppressant in large amounts; though in lower quantities it can still stimulate your appetite.
- THCV has shown promise as a means to lower blood sugar in diabetics.
- THCV reduces anxiety in PTSD sufferers.
- THCV can quiet tremors in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.
- THCV can stimulate bone growth for treating osteoporosis.
- THCV is psychoactive in large amounts, but can actually negate the effects of THC in smaller amounts.
- THCV is a cannabinoid that is starting to get a lot of attention.
THCV shows a lot of promise, but it is less understood and less available in large quantities than either THC or CBD – so there are no THCV-specific products, save for the Doug’s Varin strain, and even that has more THC than THCV. As marijuana prohibition lessons and cannabis use becomes more commonplace both recreationally and medically, there is more and more research being done on the less well-known and less abundant cannabinoids found in pot plants – one that shows great potential for a number of different conditions such as diabetes, weight control, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and osteoporosis bone regrowth is THCV. Tetrahydrocannabivarin may be dwarfed by the attention given to THC and CBD but there is every indication that its star could shine brightly in the near future!
And here is a final vid before you go, with an actual doctor talking about THCV benefits:
Researched and written by David and Leah Kaye Weathers.
|David and Leah Kaye Weathers are a freelance cannabis writing and graphic designing husband and wife team from Lansing, Michigan. They are passionate advocates for medical and recreational pot legalization in the United States. They also enjoy cannabis cooking with weed-infused veggie oil, creating new and delicious medible treats; and are developing quite the expertise in CBD and hemp oil usefulness for a number of physical and mental conditions. Walking and loving in nature, along the river and through the woods – in spring, summer and fall, weedy and happy together - is their jam!|