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What Is THCV and What Are the Benefits of This Cannabinoid?

February 3, 2015

THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a compound in cannabis that offers a unique array of effects and medical benefits that sets it apart from other cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Whether you’re a medical marijuana patient looking for a particular type of relief or a casual consumer chasing a specific effect, we’d like to introduce you to this fascinating compound that’s sure to make major waves in the cannabis world as we discover and utilize its full potential.

What are THCV’s Effects and Benefits?

As its name suggests, THCV is similar to THC in molecular structure and psychoactive properties, but it provides a variety of pronounced and altogether different effects. A note for vaporizer enthusiasts: THCV has a boiling point of 428 °F (220 °C), so you’ll need to turn it up higher than you would THC.

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  • THCV is an appetite suppressant. In contrast to THC, THCV may dull the appetite. This may be good for consumers focused on weight loss, but THCV should be avoided by patients treating appetite loss or anorexia.
  • THCV may help with diabetes. Research shows promise in THCV’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.
  • THCV may reduce panic attacks. It appears to curb anxiety attacks in PTSD patients without suppressing emotion.
  • THCV may help with Alzheimer’s. Tremors, motor control, and brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease appear to be improved by THCV, but research is in progress.
  • THCV stimulates bone growth. Because it promotes the growth of new bone cells, THCV is being looked at for osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions.
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Where Can I Find THCV?

So you’re looking for the effects mentioned above, but you aren’t sure where to start your search for high-THCV strains and products. Most strains only contain trace, undetectable amounts of THCV, making it difficult to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. We can assume that more THCV-rich products will be introduced alongside its growing popularity, but in the meantime, here are some useful hints for locating this rare therapeutic gem.

  • Look for African sativas. Lab results show that THCV is most abundant in sativas, particularly landrace strains from Africa. Durban Poison is one of the more common high-THCV strains, but other options can be found in the strain list below.
  • Ask about parent genetics. Having trouble finding an African sativa? Plenty of strains have hybridized African genetics that predispose it to a higher THCV potential. Cherry Pie, for example, may express a high THCV content by way of its Durban Poison parent. Look for lineage information in Leafly’s strain pages or ask your budtenders to point out their African hybrids.
  • Request test results. Genetics alone can’t promise a high-THCV content, and cannabinoid contents can vary from harvest to harvest. If possible, ask your budtender for lab-tested strains to ensure that you’re indeed getting a THCV-rich product.
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High THCV Cannabis Strains

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it includes strains best known for their tendency toward higher-than-average THCV contents. These strains can be consumed in flower form or they can be processed into extracts, oils, and edibles for a higher concentration of cannabinoids. A few of the strains below, like Doug’s Varin and Pineapple Purps, were specially bred to contain higher levels of THCV. Again, be sure to steer your choices toward African sativas as they tend to contain the most THCV.

Leafly Doug's Varin sativa cannabis strain tile
Doug’s Varin
Leafly Pineapple Purps sativa cannabis strain tile
Pineapple Purps
Leafly Durban Poison sativa cannabis strain tile
Durban Poison
Leafly Power Plant sativa cannabis strain tile
Power Plant
Leafly Williw Nelson sativa cannabis strain tile
Willie Nelson
Leafly Red Congolese sativa cannabis strain tile
Red Congolese
Leafly Jack the Ripper sativa cannabis strain tile
Jack the Ripper
Leafly Durban Cheese hybrid cannabis strain tile
Durban Cheese
Leafly Skunk No. 1 hybrid cannabis strain tile
Skunk #1
Bailey Rahn's Bio Image
Bailey Rahn

Bailey is a senior content manager at Leafly, specializing in strains and health. She's spent 7+ years researching cannabis products, spreading patients’ stories, and exploring healthy ways of integrating cannabis into daily life.

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