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Cannabinoid Clinic: THCVA

Welcome to Cannabinoid Clinic, an education project powered by Higher Learning LV. This series provides cannabis and hemp industry professionals with easily digested cannabinoid profiles that ask little of your time—but provide plenty of science-based information.


There are two categories of cannabinoids: Phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are those produced by cannabis/marijuana/hemp, while endocannabinoids are made by the human body. This series covers both.

THCVA molecular structure


What is THCVA?

Tetrahydrocannabivarin acid (THCVA) is the varin-specific acidic precursor that morphs into THCV under the right environmental conditions. This minor cannabinoid was first isolated in 1977. However, since its discovery, little peer-reviewed scientific research has been conducted regarding this phytomolecule.


"Tetrahydrocannabivarin acid (THCVA) is the varin-specific acidic precursor that morphs into THCV under the right environmental conditions."

More research attention has been focused on THCV, the varin cannabinoid that results from this acidic precursora situation that is predicted to pervade into the future.


THCVA Fast Facts

  • Role: Results from CBGVA

  • Biosynthetic pathway: CBGVA > THCVA > THCV

  • Psychoactivity: Nonpsychoactive

  • Acidic precursor: CBGVA

  • Boiling point: n/a

  • Primary medical benefits: Antioxidant, antimicrobial

THCVA biosynthetic pathway


THCVA Medicinal Benefits

The few research studies involving THCVA that are available indicate that THCVA may offer benefits such as antioxidant and antimicrobial effects.


A September 2020 study entitled "Modeling Cannabinoids from a Large-scale Sample of Cannabis sativa Chemotypes" that was published in the journal PLOS ONE explored a data set that documented 17,600 cannabis cultivars (strains) tested by Still Hill Labs in California "to interpolate missing chemotype observations and cluster cultivars into groups based on chemotype similarity."


"Both THCVA and CBDVA are produced in very low quantities by most Cannabis cultivars, and likely for this reason, they have not been studied widely."

The study reported that "both THCVA and CBDVA are produced in very low quantities by most Cannabis cultivars, and likely for this reason, they have not been studied widely to date." It noted that THCV, the decarboxylated neutral version resulting of THCVA, "is the only other cannabinoid that is known to produce psychoactive effects along with THC."


Note: Students should note that some research classifies cannabinol (CBN) as a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid.

An October 2020 study entitled "Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activity of Two Standardized Extracts from a New Chinese Accession of Non-psychotropic Cannabis sativa L." that was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research evaluated "the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of two extracts from a new Chinese accession (G-309) of Cannabis sativa L."


The study found that four minor cannabinoids resulted in "remarkable antioxidant activity and strong antimicrobial properties," including THCVA.

The study found that four minor cannabinoids resulted in "remarkable antioxidant activity and strong antimicrobial properties," including cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), tetraydrocannabivarinic acid (THCVA), cannabidivarin (CBDV), and tetraydrocannabivarin (THCV). The research concluded that cannabis extracts containing THCVA and these other varin-related cannabinoids "could be promising for their possible use as novel antibacterial agents for the treatment of widespread S. aureus infections."


How to Get THCVA

Like many other minor cannabinoids, loose-leaf flower and products containing efficacious volumes of THCVA are not widely available. Also, cannabis and hemp cultivars with meaningful volumes of THCVA must be ingested (eaten) because of the fact that the application of heat (as with smoking or vaporization) causes THCVA to transmogrify into THCV.

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