The Apothecarium

Cannabinoids 101: THCVA


What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are partly responsible for the wide array of medicinal and psychoactive effects cannabis may provide. Currently there are over 110 known cannabinoids with more likely to be discovered as studies continue to reveal the complex molecular structures of the cannabis plant.

Cannabinoids interact with human physiology through the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the set of receptors that function to regulate health and promote homeostasis throughout the body. The ECS has two primary receptors, the CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor binds primarily to the brain and nervous system, while the CB2 receptor interacts largely with the immune system. The cannabis plant relies on cannabinoids binding to these receptors to produce the array of potential benefits and effects. Each cannabinoid holds unique characteristics of their own that are worth noting in order to maximize desired effects from medicating with cannabis.

What is THCVA?

Tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid (THCVA) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and molecular precursor to THCV. THCVA may act an anti-inflammatory, and possibly help regulate the immune system. THCVA holds promise as a pain reliever and key contributor to the potential anti-cancer properties cannabis may offer. THCVA will convert to THCV through decarboxylation, which occurs when cannabis is exposed to heat or sunlight.

THCV is regarded to hold appetite suppressing properties, therefore consuming raw cannabis with high levels of THCVA may also bring similar effects. This may potentially help those with obesity issues and other gastrointestinal disorders. Juicing with raw cannabis may also allow more efficient absorption of cannabinoids to maximize the full spectrum of medicinal benefits without the psychoactive properties. THCVA may work best when combined with other cannabinoids to provide a more synergistic healing approach when using cannabis.

How does THCVA work?

THCVA is not known to have any direct binding with the CB1 or CB2 receptors but could potentially act as an antagonist to the CB1. This indirect binding with the ECS can affect several regulatory health functions. As research continues to unlock the potential of the cannabis plant, acidic cannabinoids such as THCVA should become more widely understood, providing a greater understanding how to optimize a cannabis based healing regimen. Feel free to ask any of our knowledgeable patient consultants any questions you may have.

The Research

An August 2011 study examined several cannabinoids, including THCVA, which displayed potential therapeutic application as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent.

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