In a consumer market increasingly flooded with hemp-derived products, you have likely seen or purchased any number of wellness products containing CBD or THC. However, you may not be as familiar with THCV, which is bound to change soon.
THCV is receiving more attention today thanks to the early observations about its potential effectiveness as a weight loss supplement—a nearly $40 billion consumer market as of 2023. Weight loss solutions are in high demand, as evidenced by the frequent media coverage surrounding weight loss drugs like Ozempic.
While people are sometimes looking for extreme ways to lose massive amounts of weight—such as gastric bypass surgery—millions are also interested in natural, minimally invasive, and affordable ways to curb an appetite and shed a few extra pounds. This is where THCV comes into the picture, and we will explore what it is and how it works below.
What Is THCV?
The cannabis plant yields more than 500 substances, or cannabinoids, and Tetrahydrocannabivarin (or THCV) is just one of them. Some of the more well-known cannabinoids like THC, CBD, or CBN are available in a wide variety of consumer products, from gummies and capsules to tinctures and vape pens, and as we learn more about the lesser-known cannabinoids, we can expect to see more variety in this market.
THCV is found primarily in African Sativa, which is a strain of the cannabis plant. THCV’s molecular structure is similar to that of THC but does not have the same psychoactive effects. There is still fairly limited research on THCV, but scientists estimate it to be only 25% as potent as THC in terms of its psychoactive effects.
What Are the Effects of THCV?
When it comes to the better-known effects of THC, one common reaction is one of the first any user mentions: “the munchies.” THC is often thought to increase appetite in users.
Interestingly, the slight variation in molecular structure with THCV may mean it yields a completely opposite reaction for many individuals. Instead of increasing appetite, it may actually work to suppress it. This is why the compound is already showing promise as a potential weight loss supplement and why it has earned the nickname “diet weed.”
What Effects Do We See From THCV?
THCV has been touted by many users for its ability to suppress appetites, but that is by no means its only beneficial effect.
In addition to staving off frequent hunger cravings, THCV has been reported to effectively reduce anxiety with a mildly calming effect. Some early indications point to the existence of neuroprotectant properties in THCV as well.
To understand how THCV suppresses appetite, consider the way cannabinoids work with our own endocannabinoid systems. Our bodies have receptors in this system, and when we ingest cannabinoids like THC, THCV, or CBD, these compounds act on or bind to these receptors. This can improve homeostasis and enhance everything from sleep quality to mental health.
When introducing THCV to our endocannabinoid system, it antagonizes our CB receptors. This results in appetite suppression—versus what happens when THC binds to the receptors and appetite is stimulated or increased.
Is THCV Legal?
You may be wondering at this point whether it is worth getting excited about THCV as a possible solution to your weight loss goals if there is any doubt about its legality.
The good news is that you can purchase THCV legally—depending on where you live—with a few caveats.
THCV can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp, and its origin is incredibly important regarding whether or not you can purchase it legally. There are some specific differences between how legislatures classify consumer products derived from marijuana and those derived from hemp.
The key piece of legislation regarding the cannabis market is the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill changed the landscape of commercial hemp production by making it legal in cases where the THC content of the hemp was 0.3% or less. Therefore, THCV derived from hemp is legal in extremely small quantities unless specifically banned in that state.
The key things to pay attention to when it comes to all cannabis products in the consumer market are whether the product is derived from hemp or marijuana and whether the concentration of THC exceeds or falls below 0.3%
Is THCV Only Good for Dieting?
While THCV quickly earned the nickname “diet weed,” this does not mean it is only good for suppressing the appetite. Cannabinoids affect our bodies in different ways, and what might be a great weight loss tool for one could be another’s mood booster or pain management tool.
THCV is thought to offer therapeutic benefits that often mirror those of the more popular (and more thoroughly researched) CBD. There is still a tremendous amount to learn about THCV, but early indicators tell us that it could be incredibly beneficial in helping with homeostasis, meaning it could have a positive impact on such areas as:
- Quality of sleep
- Focus and memory
- Pain management
No definitive studies link specific benefits to THCV yet, but the anecdotal observations are promising. As efforts to study THCV grow, the list of beneficial effects will likely grow.
Should I Use THCV to Lose Weight?
Weight loss tools are not one size fits all, and some individuals benefit from traditional efforts like diet and exercise, while others need alternatives to kickstart the shedding of pounds.
Illness or injuries sometimes prevent people from engaging in rigorous exercise, and sometimes dieting yields little to no change, no matter how hard the person seems to try.
An appetite suppressant can be helpful in some cases, and THCV shows incredible promise in this area. Whatever your plan for weight loss, be sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your unique health profile.
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