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What's the Difference Between THCV and THC?

If you've tried to keep up with the latest research into the many cannabinoids that cannabis produces you may be wondering what the known differences are between tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are. The two molecules are homologs, which means they both belong to a certain series of compounds that share similar structures but differ from one another by slightly varied elements; this makes them somewhat like cousins. For example, both THC and THCV have seven double bond isomers and 30 stereoisomers. To help you better understand what sets these two compounds apart, here we talk about the differences between THCV and THC we know of at this time.

  • THCV is made after geranyl pryophosphate combines with divarinolic acid, whereas THC is made after geranyl pryophosphate combines with olivetolic acid.
  • The structural difference between THCV and THC molecules is that THCV has a propyl (3-carbon) side chain rather than a pentyl (5-carbon) group that THC has.
  • The boiling point of THC is 315 °F while the boiling point of THCV is 428 °F; an important difference to note if you plan on vaporizing your cannabis.
  • The psychoactive effects of THCV are not understood as well as the famous “high” brought on by THC, but we do know that they come on quicker, are often more intense, only last half as long, and are generally more stimulating and clear-headed. In fact, THCV has been shown to influence the effects brought on by THC, by both enhancing feelings of euphoia and counteracting some of the negative feelings THC can bring on, like extreme anxiety, paranoia, or an increased heart rate.
  • THC is always an agonist (an activator) of CB1 receptors, but THCV exhibits different effects depending on how much you consume. A small dose of THCV will act as an antagonist (an inhibitor) of CB1 receptors, but a high dose will make it act like an agonist of those same receptors.
  • THCV is known to supress the appetite, whereas THC often exhibits a stimulating effect over one's hunger, and this difference is important to understand if you have specific weight or dietary goals.


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