With both inflammation and medical cannabis being hot topics in the past few years, it’s no wonder that talk about THCV as an anti-inflammatory might perk up people’s ears. After all, inflammation as a health issue is pretty worrying, as it is known to be tied to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease.
So if it’s possible that THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), a cannabinoid known to have a variety of health benefits, could reduce inflammation and therefore one’s risk of a number of serious diseases, you’d want to know about it.
Well, that’s what this article is for. Here, we’ll explain exactly how THCV can work as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Is THCV Anti-Inflammatory?
Like the other more famous cannabinoids THC and CBD, THCV is one of the 66 compounds found in cannabis that work by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and immune system. Through these interactions with the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS), cannabinoids like THCV can produce various effects on motor coordination, emotion, pain, memory, and pleasure.
THCV is present in some strains of marijuana and will only have psychoactive properties like euphoria similar to those of THC when taken in higher doses. However, in lower doses, THCV actually mitigates some of the “high” of THC, sort of like how CBD does.
In various studies, THCV has been shown to have a number of health benefits including regulating blood sugar levels, reducing insulin resistance, curbing anxiety, and promoting the growth of new bone cells. Additionally, THCV can also help reduce inflammation, which is yet another exciting potential medical use of this powerful cannabinoid.
While the study of THCV as an anti-inflammatory is still young and the minimal research that has been published has mostly been done on animals and 3D models of human tissue, early research does point to several possible explanations for how THCV works to reduce inflammation.
In experiments done on mice, THCV was shown to be able to activate the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, decreasing signs of inflammation and inflammatory pain. 
Another mouse study showed similar results, with THCV again having been demonstrated to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects in rodents by activating CB2 receptors. 
And in a third study done on 3D human models of oral, airways, and intestinal tissues, the presence of THCV reduced the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (a type of protein involved in immune function, known to trigger an inflammatory response) IL-6, IL-8, CCL2, and CCL7. 
As a relatively newer and lesser-known cannabinoid, THCV hasn’t been studied as closely as its brothers THC and CBD yet, which themselves have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, but the research that has been done does point to THCV as a potentially effective therapy for reducing inflammation and therefore helping in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases tied to inflammation such as:
- Heart disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Further, it’s been shown that THCV is safe for humans, so the potential for THCV to be used in clinical trials as an anti-inflammatory medication is there.
So while it will take time for us to see any definitive research showing that THCV does, indeed, have anti-inflammatory benefits in human beings, the groundwork has been done to suggest that these studies will eventually emerge.
In the meantime, there are not too many strains of marijuana available that are high in THCV, but we can expect more to become accessible as people learn about THCV and its myriad benefits. For now, African Sativa strains contain relatively high levels of THCV, and strains like Doug’s Varin and Pineapple Purps have even been bred specifically for this cannabinoid.
- The plant cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin can decrease signs of inflammation and inflammatory pain in mice
- Chapter 86 – Synthetic Cannabinoids in Dementia
- Δ8-Tetrahydrocannabivarin prevents hepatic ischaemia/reperfusion injury by decreasing oxidative stress and inflammatory responses through cannabinoid CB2 receptors
- The Immunopathology of COVID-19 and the Cannabis Paradigm