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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.


Is the Cannabinoid THCV Psychoactive?

  • 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

  • Jena Schlosser

    Love this article!

  • Vic Love

    Leafly `ohana, let’s not forget Maui Wowie.
    Why was it the most famous sativa in the world in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s?
    We didn’t know what to call it then except the WOW factor, but we do now, its THC-V.

  • B. Alvn

    now onward to the other 200-300+ compounds…and then various combination effects of those…and then off those combinations with whatever your DNA is, whatever you’ve been eating, whatever the temperature and humidity and elevation is….face it, scientific analysis of a plant this complex is never going to work….it comes down to subjective experiences.

    as i get older, read more, and just get more life experience period, the less faith i have in the latest religion known as science….and more faith in the old-school, time-tested systems of healing, magic, animism, …in all of which cannabis and other natural allies have long played a part, perhaps going back to times before we were techincally “homo sapiens” at all…think about that for awhile. a few decades of having microscopes and other (need i say, expensive) lab equipment, or perhaps a million or two year of subjective experience and knowledge and wisdom passed down from one generation to the next…….which do you really want to trust?

    if a 4000 year old Chinese herbal lists cannabis (or whatever) as having value in curing pain (or whatever), how can any reasonably minded person could possibly not believe that. fuck western medicine and western science…its mostly about money, and just in the US the medical system kills 80,000 people a year…very likely a lot more than they supposedly “save”…. cannabis truly will be a gateway drug, showing people that yes, ancient methods work and we’ve been lied to for a long ass time by a lot of fucking crooks.

    • Rainbow

      I like you.

    • Frank Straka

      My feelings exactly, only expressed much better. Thanks eh.

    • jackkessler

      Sure. Why not guess with no information or thought because you’re frustrated with trying to figure things out with some, even if insufficient, information and thought. Because superstition is always so much better.

      • B. Alvn

        OR: you can just smoke some and see what happens….that’s real science.

  • Travis Cesarone

    It’s always misleading to say THCv is an appetite suppressant, little evidence exists outside it’s effect as an antagonist of the CB1 receptor. Suggesting it supress those effects D9-THC, not independent as an appetite suppressant, unlike (eg.) Humolene. Huge misinterpretations follow from vague explanations of this. Unless someone presents data explaining otherwise.
    Travis Cesarone

  • Marilyn

    I just got my medical card and need to get to some dispensaries to compare items.

  • Trevor Metterhauser

    So much has changed since I last smoked a joint. I can’t wait until the day comes when I can do it again.

  • looiplooi

    African originals will be the best to get THCV….think Swazi Goldand even more Malawi Gold etc.

    I was lucky enough to grow up with these and can now say at 36 that Sativa is my favorite. Nice mellow high and it works well for me.Malawi gold is like nothing else out there. Proper dark dark green black/ tar-like smoke and taste is great. The high is also fast hitting and very very cerebral. modern bred genetics lost some of those terpene profiles.