Up until just a few years ago, most people believed that cannabis only contained THC.
Since that time, we have discovered CBD (Cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has been used to treat chronic pain, epilepsy, and various mental health disorders. But the truth is that cannabis research is still in its infancy. Cannabis has over 140 cannabinoids; CBD and THC are just two. But with policies being lifted against cannabis research, we are embarking on an exciting time.
I am very hopeful that other cannabinoids such as THCV will be available soon for medical patients. While appetite stimulation is excellent (an effect produced by THC) for those who need it (Cancer and HIV patients), it is an unpleasant side effect for others. THCV has been shown to suppress appetite and aid with weight management (1,2).
In fact, a 2013 study on mice concluded that “It dose-dependently reduced glucose intolerance in ob/ob mice and improved glucose tolerance and increased insulin sensitivity in DIO mice.” This means that THCV may be an effective treatment for those who are both genetically susceptible to obesity and those who have acquired obesity through poor dietary choices. (1)
Another 2016 study examined the effects of THCV on 62 diabetic subjects (in humans). This was a randomized controlled trial (the gold standard in research), and the authors concluded that “THCV significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose and improved pancreatic β-cell function” (2).
This is very valuable and essential information for those who are opposed to using cannabis due to its potential to stimulate appetite (from THC). It’s important for prospective and current cannabis users to understand that there is a cannabinoid available in cannabis that may help prevent weight gain and improve various metabolic parameters.
Recently, more and more athletes have come out of the “cannabis closet” to share their experience with cannabis use. Many athletes battle chronic pain and mental health issues similar to everyday people, and athletes who are seeking pain relief without getting “the munchies” may use a combination of THC, CBD, and THCV to get relief from pain, anxiety, and benefit from appetite reducing effects.
Elias Theodorou of the UFC has publicly stated many times that he wants to fight the cannabis stigma, and former NFL star Ricky Williams has been very upfront about his cannabis usage. You can understand why – when you are playing combat sports, you are more than likely going to be injured and beat up, and when dealing with these injuries, ideally you want something that is fast, effective and side effect free. And that’s why so many athletes continue to use cannabis over various other pharmaceuticals and other treatments.
Considering how effective we have seen cannabis to be for various diseases, it is critical that we continue to research other cannabinoids that are contained within the cannabis plant. I’m looking forward to the day when THCV has been isolated (similarly to CBD), so patients can access a cannabinoid that may help with weight management.
About Dr. Hart:
Dr. Michael Hart in London, Ontario is the Founder, Medical Director, and Head Physician of Readytogo Clinic. Throughout his career, he has helped countless patients gain control of their health through non-traditional medical treatments. His passion for staying up to date on the latest in medicine has positioned him as one of Canada’s leaders in alternative healthcare.x\