You’ve probably heard of THC, the most famous chemical in cannabis. Have you ever heard of THC-V? Probably not, but these cannabinoids are important for our bodies, and they all interact with our endocannabinoid system to create those benefits that the scientific world is discovering. THC-V, or tetra-hydro-cannabivarian, is another very plentiful compound in the cannabis plant with medical benefits that differ from the two main cannabinoids, THC and CBD. THC-V is similar to THC in chemical makeup, but medical scientists are still studying how THC-V works.
What we know about THC and CBD could hold clues to how these other cannabinoids work. THC is known as an agonist of CB1 receptors, meaning that THC will pair with CB1 receptors in the brain. CBD is a CB1 antagonist, which means it doesn’t get you high. When cannabis is consumed, the body will automatically partner with the THC, giving way to the psychoactive qualities.
Is THC-V psychoactive?
The truth is, scientists don’t know just yet. At a lower dose, we know that THC-V acts like CBD oil, meaning it won’t get you high. At higher doses, it has the potential to change to a CB1 agonist like THC, meaning it could potentially get you high if you take enough of it, but research has proven the high to be short.
With the current medical research into this little-known cannabinoid, doctors have indications that THC-V could:
- Suppress the appetite. THC-V has the potential to dull appetite, making it a potential drug for people focused on weight loss.
- Stimulate bone growth. THC-V has proven to promote the growth of bone cells, meaning it could be a treatment for bone-related diseases and disorders such as osteoporosis.
- Help with diabetes. It has also shown to have the ability to reduce insulin resistance and help regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics.
- Help with Alzheimer’s. Just like other cannabinoids, THC-V can reduce tremors and help motor control.
- Reduce panic attacks. Studies on THC-V have shown that it seems to control anxiety attacks without also dulling emotions like other PTSD drugs are known to do.
New Studies: THC-V and Nitrite Production
Medical researchers who study these little-known cannabinoids like THC-V are discovering more benefits every day. A recent study looked at how THC-V can lower nitrites in the body. However, before we start talking about what THC-V can do for us, let’s talk about nitrites first.
What are Nitrites?
There are healthful nitrates and harmful nitrites, depending on the concentration. Nitrates have three oxygen atoms and nitrites have two oxygen atoms. Basically, nitrates are harmless, but the body turns them into nitrites. Nitrites can form two things: nitric oxide or nitrosamines. Nitrates occur in everything — fruits, vegetables, grains. The nitrates from natural sources turn into nitric oxide in the body which actually prevents nitrosamines from forming. Nitrosamines are manufactured, but they also develop when nitrites make it to the stomach.
The reason we should avoid nitrosamines, or artificial nitrites, is because they can promote the growth of cancer in the body. Research has already shown that eating processed meats can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. Nitrosamines can also affect brain health and contribute to Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and obesity.
The easiest and quickest solution to avoiding nitrosamines is to avoid eating processed meats. Processed meats include anything that’s been smoked, cured, salted, or contains preservatives. This especially includes hot dogs, lunch meat, ham, bacon, and sausages. Eating freshly packaged meats is the best alternative. Eating fruits and vegetables can help combat the nitrosamine growth in the body as well. If you’re still worried about your nitrosamine consumption, this study shows that THC-V could be the future of controlling the production of nitrites in the body.
A Study on THC-V and Nitrites
This study did a two-part experiment on the effects of THC-V on nitrite production and on the receptors of peritoneal macrophages. Peritoneal macrophages are defense-cells that live between the abdomen wall and the organs that are inside the abdomen. These defense-cells are thought to have anti-inflammatory qualities when not combating bad bacteria in the body.
In this medical cannabis study, researchers found that administering THC-V down-regulated the production of nitrites caused by the defense-cells and it helped control the regulation of CB1 receptors in the body without having any effect on the CB2 receptors.
I know that whole cannabinoid study sounds vague, but what scientists are looking at is a way to combat the growth of nitrites in the body and lower the body’s response. By stimulating rats to send defense-cells to the peritoneal cavity, the researchers had the opportunity to see the effects of THC-V. And because we know that nitrites can be created in the body and promote the growth of cancer cells, the fact that THC-V manages to reduce the production of nitrites is pretty impressive for a drug with very few side effects.
We also learned through this study that THC-V counteracted an increase in CB1 receptors while not affecting our CB2 receptors. Our CB1 receptors are the receptors inside our brain, but they are also inside our peritoneal cavity. Down-regulating CB1 receptors while also reducing the production of nitrites means that THC-V does double-duty like cannabidiol does. THC-V helps the problem on both ends.
Supplementing with Cannabinoids to Fight Disease
If you’ve been looking for new treatments for diseases and easing of certain symptoms, it could be in your best interest to supplement this whole endocannabinoid system with extracts of cannabis. You can find isolated cannabinoids like CBD in oil, capsule, or melt-away tablets because it is easily absorbed through the mucus membranes in the mouth. To get THC isolated and THC + other cannabinoid extracts, a patient needs to live in a state that has legalized medical marijuana oils, edibles, and pills. As always, talk to your doctor about alternative treatments like CBD hemp oil, for example, before you start a new supplement regime.