THC vs. THC-V The win-win battle

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The munchies. Nature may abhor a vacuum, but that’s nothing compared to the unstoppable lure a bag of chili cheese Fritos can present to the freshly-baked cannabis user. Would the world have Hot Pockets if not for the munchies? Would Harold and Kumar have been so determined to make it to White Castle?

Fortunately, there is some science behind these cravings, and options on how to love your cannabis and watch your waistline have been bubbling up lately. It’s known as THC-V, short for tetrahydrocannabivarin cannabis. Lesser scientific minds have dubbed it “one-hit quitter” cannabis, for its quick-acting and intense mental effect, or “diet pot” because unlike most cannabis, it acts as an appetite suppressant.

But unless you happen to be smoking rare strains of cannabis from Africa or eastern Asia, you’ve probably never experienced it. “This is definitely in the research and development phase for many people. I just don’t know of any pure THC-V product available in Colorado at this time,” said Ian Dumpert, a cannabis geneticist, at LivWell in Colorado.

Discovered in the 1970s, THC-V works on the same receptors in the brain as THC. The euphoria is still there, but it hits quicker and lasts about half as long. Strains high in THC-V tend to come from the hotter parts of the world, and since western breeders have been focusing on cannabis that is high in THC for so long, they are rare.

“It’s much more energetic and clear-headed than traditional THC,” said Dumpert. While some people experience paranoia with cannabis, THC-V strains are known to reduce panic attacks. There is also some promise in the treatment of tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease.

But THC-V is most-known for what it doesn’t do, namely cause the munchies. So where can the connoisseur find it? That’s the tricky part, Dumpert said. Strains known to contain THC-V include Durban Poison, Blue Dream, Jack the Ripper, Super Silver Haze and Pineapple Purps. But according to Steep Hill, a cannabis testing laboratory, THC is still the dominant factor in these strains, with a ratio to
THC-V of 20:1.

Then came Doug’s Varin. According to the analysis of this rare, small-batch strain, it contains
a THC to THC-V ratio of 6:7, the first strain found to have more THC-V than THC. Scientists also found a small amount of myrcene, which they concluded allows the psychoactive effects to hit the brain more quickly and in greater concentrations. “The mother plant of this exceedingly rare strain has now been
stabilized by three different expert horticulturists, who ultimately plan to release this strain for use in treatment of P.T.S.D., Parkinson’s and other ailments for which it is exceptionally suited,” according to Dumpert’s analysis. Dumpert said he would love to grow a THC-V strain like Doug’s Varin. “If I knew who Doug was I would be trying to find Doug,” he said.

Given the discriminating tastes of today’s cannabis users and the increasing buzz over THC-V, he expects it will only be a matter of time until such strains are more widely available. Certain companies are already spending boatloads of money trying to perfect that perfect THC-V combo for consumers. California’s Medi-Cone and Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl Company are both already flooring their production for this kind of THC-V focused product. “I do think this is going to become a more controlled and doseable industry, where we’re getting away from smoking and into a more pharmaceutical environment, where you can just dial in your compound,” he said.

Still, it won’t be for everybody. Medical cannabis patients who might be going through chemotherapy and depend on cannabis to spur their appetites will want to steer clear, he said. So would anyone considering a road trip to White Castle.

 

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