New products are popping up on dispensary shelves faster than you can say tetrahydrocannabinol, and many of them suggest they do more than get you high. Some are said to enhance your sex life while others are meant to promote a good night’s sleep. And an increasing number of cannabis products are aimed toward promoting focus for work-related tasks.
After writing about cannabis as a tool for concentration a while back, I’ve kept this topic on my radar and have tried a half-dozen products specifically formulated for focus. Many of them work, at least to some degree.
I should say that I don’t have any kind of condition, like ADD or ADHD, that makes it inherently difficult to focus, though I admit that I can fall down a Facebook rabbit hole as fast as the next person. (I mean, who among us is immune to the five buttons—by which, of course, I mean like, love, sad, angry, and wow?) Nonetheless, I do like to supercharge my productivity once in a while.
So, I was stoked to receive two vape iterations of California Cannabinoids' Doug’s Varin, a proprietary strain with higher than usual amounts of THCV. Tetrahydrocannabivarin is a rare cannabinoid that some people associate with energy and productivity. It’s meant to provide a cerebral, clear-headed high that doesn’t take you down all those (fun, but distracting) mental pathways, like I wonder if the Titanic was actually sunk by aliens? In addition to having potential therapeutic effects for bone growth and blood sugar regulation, THCV is usually thought to provide a shorter high than THC, and it’s also supposed to curb the munchies.
Doug’s Varin comes in two pre-filled vape varieties: THCV-only, and THCV+CBD. They are both nice-looking vape pens that remind me of the high-end retail I can’t usually afford. I tried the THCV-only vape the first day, and the THCV-CBD combo the next.
Many vapes can be a little hard on the lungs, and though the taste of Doug’s Varin is smooth, I did feel the slight burn from inhaling. With the intention of focusing on work, I took a couple of hits and opened a new Word doc. I didn’t feel much of anything for a few minutes, which was a little surprising. Then it hit: a legitimate rush of energy.
I suddenly felt compelled to clean my kitchen, start prepping dinner, and then pop outside for a weed-pulling session in my garden (actual weeds, not weed weed). And all this, I did with a smile and a great attitude! Just ask my neighbors (whom I chatted up).
With my kitchen clean, my dinner prep complete, and my yard free of weeds, I remembered that I had intended to tackle the other kind of work—the kind I get paid to do. So, I sat at my laptop and did some research and writing. I’m also pretty sure that I hit the vape a couple more times somewhere along the way. And while I can’t say that I produced the best, most inspired work of all time (and it certainly benefited from sober editing) it was serviceable stuff. Parts of the work were pretty good.
The next day, the THCV+CBD combo more or less repeated the experience for me, but with less intensity. In other words, the CBD mellowed out the high-energy, slightly frenetic feeling that THCV brings on—which makes sense because CBD is usually known to modulate or temper a high.
In summary, I found Doug's Varin enjoyable because it gave me a burst of energy compounded with positivity, and it left me feeling capable, competent, and not too forgetful. In short, while neither product produces a laser-beam focus, the THCV is certainly a boost to getting sh*t done.
As to the downsides, I found that the THCV-only product made me a tiny bit tense and jittery. Full disclosure: One cup of coffee makes me a tiny bit tense and jittery, too, so maybe my circuits are more sensitive than most (i.e. I’m weird).
I also got just as hungry as I would with a regular ‘ol THC high and derived the same joy from eating a delicious dinner. I should add here that caffeine is an appetite suppressant for many people, and an appetite stimulant for me. See above re: weird.
The THCV high is not as long-lasting — which is neither inherently good nor bad. However, I do wish that dosing information was included on the packaging. Knowing how many milligrams of THCV and/or CBD per three-second pull would have helped me calibrate my own dose and compare it to other products.
Next time, I might try the THCV-only vape before exercise. Channeling the energetic jitters toward cardio and weights seems like it would kickstart a badass workout.