Medical Marijuana Research: The Amazing THCV Cannabinoid
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 08/29/2011 in Medical Marijuana Research
Recently I had an interview with Subcool from TGA Genetics. During this interview he had mention the therapeutic potential of a cannabinoid known as Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin or more commonly known as THCV. As this is a lesser known cannabinoid that not many people have heard of I decided it’s time to shed some light on this potentially amazing chemical. THCV has many benefits, it is 4 or 5 times less psychoactive than THC so it can provide medical benefits without causing the patient to have a high feeling, it has appetite suppressing benefits to help treat obesity, and according to Spanish and British cannabis researchers “THCV has a promising pharmacological profile for delaying disease progression in PD and also for ameliorating parkinsonian symptoms.”
THCV is an interesting cannabinoid as it has completely opposite effects at different dosages. According to an article published by Professor Roger Pertwee of the Institute of Medical Sciences THCV, given in clinical trials to mice, at low doses actually blocks CB1 receptors so THC has less of an effect yet if given in higher doses it activates CB1 receptors giving a mild high. It’s in these lower doses that much of THCV’s medical benefits can be found. Even in low doses it provides all the same medicinal benefits as it does when found in higher levels of concentration. Not only does it affect the CB1 receptor of the human endocannabinoid system it also affects the CB2 receptor much like it’s cousin THC affects both receptors. Professor Pertwee also suggests that with further research THCV may potentially help treat chronic liver diseases as at a low dose it blocks CB1 receptors but activates CB2 receptors.
In 2007 GW Pharmaceuticals announced it was beginning phase one research into using THCV as a treatment for obesity, diabetes and related metabolic disorders. GW Pharm, led by chief researcher Professor Roger Pertwee, bred its own strain of cannabis which exhibits THCV as its principal cannabinoid component. They then made an oral solution from this strain to administer to test patients at varying doses. GW Pharm also states ”In pre-clinical studies, THCV has shown effects on body weight, body fat content, energy expenditure, food intake, and other obesity-related parameters. The human endocannabinoid system is known to play an important role in the regulation of body weight and metabolic homeostasis. To date, the most studied CB1 receptor antagonist is Rimonabant, a new product developed by Sanofi-Aventis.” The main aspect of this study is to test THCV’s safety and tolerability compared to a placebo. GW Pharmaceuticals is well known for it’s creation of Sativex, a prescription only synthetic cannabinoid approved in the UK and Spain to treat multiple sclerosis and other debilitating diseases. GW states that they are in phase two of their clinical research but they don’t have any reference to what phase two entails.
With all of the current research being conducted on the many cannabinoids of marijuana it’s hard to believe that the governments of the world still deny marijuana carries medicinal qualities. GW Pharm alone is working with 15 different cannabinoids, breeding their own plants to contain different ratios of these compounds. Fortunately times are changing and more and more companies are putting money into research based around marijuana. Currently we have 8 different medications that are either approved or nearing the end of clinical trials that contain chemicals taken directly from marijuana, synthetic versions of chemicals found in marijuana, or contain synthetic chemicals that are similar to those found in marijuana but are not found in the plant. Hopefully with all the ongoing research into marijuana’s many cannabinoids, including THC,CBD, and THCV, we may see a change in the laws surrounding cannabis.