Study Summary: The Effects of THCV on THC

Updated: Aug 30

A 2015 study entitled "The Effect of Five Day Dosing with THCV on THC-induced Cognitive, Psychological, and Physiological Effects in Healthy Male Human Volunteers: A Placebo-controlled Double-blind Crossover Pilot Trial" that was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology investigated the biochemical effects of tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) against its cousin cannabinoid delta-9 THC.


The Study

The study's rationale: "Cannabis is mostly grown under illegal and unregulated circumstances, which seems to favor a product increasingly high in its main cannabinoid ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a relatively untested cannabinoid which is said to be a cannabinoid receptor neutral antagonist and may inhibit the effects of THC."


The objective of the research was to "explore the safety and tolerability of repeated THCV administration and its effects on symptoms normally induced by THC in a sample of healthy volunteers." The study's authors claimed that it was the first peer-reviewed scientific study of THC and THCV.

The THCV molecule


This scientific investigation involved ten male cannabis users (all of whom had consumed cannabis on fewer than 25 occasions) who were orally administered 10 milligrams of either pure THCV or a placebo for five days, after which they were given a 1 milligram intravenous injection of THC (on the fifth day).


This scientific investigation involved ten male cannabis users (all of whom had consumed cannabis fewer than 25 times) who were orally administered 10 milligrams of pure THCV or a placebo, after which they were given THC.

Results

The study's authors reported that THCV featured an acceptable safety profile and that it was "well tolerated and subjectively indistinguishable from placebo." It noted that, although THC produced "significant...effects," it did not "increase psychotic symptoms, paranoia, or impair short-term memory,"


Anecdotal reports have indicated that THCV is psychoactive, but only at larger doses, and that its psychotropic effects may actually be more potent than THC.

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The research revealed that "THCV inhibited THC-induced increased heart rate." In addition, the study found that "Nine out of ten participants reported THC [along with] THCV to be subjectively weaker or less intense" compared to placebo. It also found that, when consumed together, THC and THCV "significantly increased memory intrusions."


"Nine out of ten participants reported THC [along with] THCV to be subjectively weaker or less intense" compared to placebo.

Conclusions

The scientists summarized their research findings and data collected, revealing that "THCV inhibited some of the well-known effects of THC, while potentiating others." Due to the relatively small sample size of the subject cohort and other limitations of the study, it warned that its findings "need to be interpreted with caution."


View the original study.


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