How many times have you smoked and found yourself downing a bag of chips in less than five minutes? If you’re trying to stay healthy or making efforts to lose some weight, the side-effect of the munchies can make cannabis seem unappealing. It’s very common to have an insatiable appetite after smoking, which is why it’s used as medication for those having serious medical issues causing appetite suppression.
However, one of cannabis’ active ingredients (cannabinoids), known as THCV, is gaining a lot of attention for its unique effects on appetite and the nervous system. THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is in all cannabis that offers a spectrum of effects setting it apart from other cannabinoids like THC and CBD. THCV modifies THC’s psychoactive effects when ingested to be much more energizing and euphoric giving a coherent mental effect than strains that do not have high levels of THCV present. Even though it has greater psychoactive qualities than THC, it only lasts half the time. This may be the reason why some strains high in THCV are deemed “one hitter quitters” – hits you hard, but wears off quickly.
One of the biggest qualities of THCV is having the ability to reduce appetite. Research has shown that strains high in THCV have the ability to block the reward sensation in the brain that triggers overeating.1 This is great news for consumers looking to lose or maintain weight while still consuming cannabis.
Originally, THCV was most commonly isolated in landrace sativa strains from Asia and regions of Africa, like Durban Poison and Skunk #1. However, a number of strains have hybridized the genetics prompting higher THCV levels. For example, Cherry Pie is a cross of Granddaddy Purple and Durban Poison giving it high levels of THCV. Durban Poison, Skunk #1, the strains Dutch Treat, Jack The Ripper, and Blue Dream all typically have significantly high levels of THCV to help ward off appetite. Hawaiian Dutch by Subdued Excitement and Tangie by Gold Leaf Gardens also test high in THCV.
Parent genetics don’t always guarantee high levels of THCV so it is important to ask your budtender which options would be best for you, keeping in mind this always a little unpredictable.
As cannabis testing and research evolves, we will be able to isolate the compounds causing these unique responses to achieve extremely targeted effects with each strain and/or brand.
The possibilities are endless and extremely exciting to both consumers and health professionals. So the next time you want to take a puff, but don’t necessarily want to make today a “cheat day.” Keep in mind you do have options that won’t necessarily make you run for the fridge!