THCV vs. Delta-8 THC: What’s the Difference?
Cannabinoids have long been utilized for their therapeutic effects that can help assist various health conditions. In particular, cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exhibit potent effects.
While THCV and delta-8 THC might sound similar to THC, there are some key differences.
Cannabis and THC
The cannabis plant contains many cannabinoids, one of which is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is known to be the primary psychoactive compound able to provide feelings of euphoria to the user. Alongside the “high,” the THC cannabinoid can provide many benefits, including an uplifted mood, sedative effects, and relief from many health symptoms (1).
All cannabinoids can cause therapeutic effects within the body, as they interact closely with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Within the bodies of mammals, the ECS consists of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids. THC can then bind to receptors in the nervous system and brain and produce benefits (2).
Due to this close interaction with the ECS, THC, CBD, and other minor cannabinoids remain well-known natural alternatives to help ease and assist the symptoms of various health conditions.
What Is THCV?
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a unique cannabinoid also found in cannabis. While THC and THCV might sound similar, the two cannabinoids are derived from separate parent molecules to produce different effects throughout the body. Within the cannabis plant, THC and THCV are also present at very different levels.
The differences keep going when we look closer at the chemical structure of both cannabinoids. THC and THCV appear similar to each other. However, they come from separate parent molecules and chemical pathways.
The parent molecule of THC and other popular cannabinoids like CBD and CBC is cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), synthesized in a reaction between olivetolic acid and geranyl pyrophosphate (3). The parent molecule for THCV is cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA), synthesized in a reaction between geranyl pyrophosphate and divarinolic acid (4).
The two compounds also produce different effects. Our ECS contains CB1 receptors that can interact with cannabinoids like THC and THCV. However, THCV can only interact with these receptors at higher levels, and their effects are considered weaker (5).
The Benefits of THCV
While research surrounding THCV is still in its infancy, research has shown cannabinoids can have a potent effect on appetite (6). While most cannabinoids increase your appetite, recent studies have indicated that THCV could have the opposite effect. While researchers are still not fully sure how this occurs, many believe THCV blocks the CB1 receptor. This receptor stimulates appetite, so blocking this can help reduce appetite and decrease hunger signals. Alongside THCV, other cannabinoids, like CBD, can influence weight loss.
THCV also has potent anti-inflammatory properties like many other cannabinoids, including CBD and CBG. Pain and inflammation often walk hand-in-hand, with one symptom affecting the other. Inflammation is also associated with many chronic stress-related conditions. While most of the studies investigating THCV and inflammation have been done on animals, the results have been promising, and THCV shows potential for reducing inflammation (7).
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is another form of THC, the cannabinoid we commonly associate with cannabis. THC exists in two forms, and the regular THC is known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC). Delta-8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, and while this compound causes similar effects to delta-9, it exhibits them to a less potent degree (8).
While their names might sound relatively similar, there are some subtle differences, especially in their chemical structures. Many experts believe the presence of a double bond in both delta-8 and delta-9 is how they exhibit psychoactive effects, or a natural “high” (9). Delta-8 has a double bond on the 8th carbon instead of the 9th, hence the name. Because of this change in a double bond, delta-8 binds to the receptors in the ECS slightly differently, and this is thought to be the reason behind the decreased potency (10).
The Benefits of Delta-8 THC
The effects of regular delta-9 THC include feelings of happiness, euphoria, pain relief, and even easing symptoms of insomnia to improve sleep quality (11). The effects of delta-8 THC are similar, although less potent.
As mentioned earlier, this occurs because cannabinoids can bind to CB1 receptors within the brain to produce the signature “high” known for in cannabis. When this occurs, an elevated mind state can help activate the reward system within the body to release “feel-good” hormones that induce feelings of calm and naturally reduce pain levels (12).
Because of this, delta-8 can be a popular option to treat various pain-related conditions alongside traditional medication, like cancer-related pain, arthritis, and migraines. Delta-8-THC has similar effects to THC, so avid THC users may find some benefit in taking delta-8 if they’re looking for similar effects.
The Difference Between THCV and Delta-8 THC
The differences between THCV and delta-8 THC are subtle and will also depend on the individual and dosage. Generally, THCV acts as a stimulant to help people feel more focused and increase concentration as it boosts energy levels (13). When THCV is taken alone, this can be compared to the boost in energy someone can get from a coffee or energy drink. However, THCV doesn’t come with the side effects from caffeine like dizziness, jitters, or headaches.
Unless you take very high doses, THCV won’t get you high. However, any THCV products containing THC will get you high. On the other hand, delta-8-THC offers a happy and clear function and is not as intense as THC. This makes it a favorite for those who often feel paranoid or overly anxious after taking THC.
The Bottom Line
THCV and delta-8 THC are both cannabinoids present at lower levels in cannabis. They both produce therapeutic effects. However, THCV is known to be more intense and stimulating for the user.
Before taking any new cannabinoids, check-in with your doctor to assess your health needs.
**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**