Welcome back to "Science of Cannabinoids"! This blog series continues to break down the recent scientific (peer-reviewed) research regarding the medicinal value of cannabinoids. We know there are a plethora of medical cannabis products on the market. It can be overwhelming and difficult for patients to find the right option. Understanding the role minor cannabinoids play will help you determine which products to purchase with confidence. Let's get started!
What is a cannabinoid? Most define cannabinoids as chemicals produced by the Cannabis sativa plant. These chemicals interact with the endocannabinoid system, specifically receptors CBR1 and CBR2. The endocannabinoid system has a significant role in the regulation of immunity. In turn, cannabinoids play a key role in overall health. While more research is vital, there are a few studies that touch the surface of what these cannabinoids are capable of medicinally.
THCv is a naturally occurring analogue of THC. It does not have psychoactive effects. This cannabinoid's popularity in the scientific community has been on the rise, thanks to recent studies suggesting it's clinical use for promoting weight loss. Recent research suggests THCv's therapeutic value may include decreasing appetite, up regulating energy metabolism, increases satiety (feeling "full"), and managing type 2 diabetes.
A study published in the journal of Nutrition and Diabetes highlighted these findings. Researchers found "[12.5mg taken orally once daily] of THCv resulted in statistically significant reduction of body fat mass [after 45 days]". At this same dosage and time frame, it was also found "THCv reduced fasting insulin concentration and lowered the fasting glucose concentration" and "[produced] approximately 50% reduction in liver triglyceride concentration". Another key finding was that "THCv increased energy expenditure by 8.2% [after a dosage of 5mg twice daily] and 13.5% [after a dosage of 12.5mg twice daily]". The average increase of energy over 45 days was 10% at once daily doses of 12.5mg THCv. "THCv also restored insulin signaling in insulin-resistant hepatocytes and myotubes", researches noted.
CBDv is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid gaining recent attention in the scientific community. This is due to its therapeutic potential for the management of disabling neurological conditions. Research also reveals promising value of CBDv in combating inflammatory bowel diseases.
The journal Pharmacological Research published a study discussing the findings of CBDv effects on intestinal inflammation in mice and on biopsies from Ulcerative Colitis pediatric patients. CBDv's ability to activate and desensitize TRPA1 was the reasoning for this study. TRPA1 is a ion channel/receptor located on a cell's plasma membrane. This ion channel is best known as a sensor for pain, temperature, and itch in humans, as well as it's ability to activate protective responses to environmental irritants. Also, researchers found oral consumption of CBDv altered the dysregulation of gut microbiota associated with ulcerative colitis. CBDv "lessons cytokine expression in colonic biopsies from pediatric patients". The article noted this cannabinoid "lessens signs of inflammation, including neutrophil infiltration, intestinal permeability, and cytokine production" in mice. This is promising research of CBDv's value in treating bowel inflammation.
PeerJ journal published research of CBDv's effect on gene expression in clinically induced seizures. Scientists found this cannabinoid "decreased induced seizure severity and increased latency to the first sign of seizure". Another key finding was "seizure induced increases of [the genes] Fos, Egr1, Arc, Ccl4, and Bdnf expression were suppressed after oral consumption of cannabidivarin". This reserach is worth noting, as its findings are the first molecular confirmation of the anticonvulsant properties of CBDv.
Amada N, Yamasaki Y, Williams CM, Whalley BJ.2013. Cannabidivarin (CBDv) suppresses pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced increases in epilepsy-related gene expression. PeerJ1:e214https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.214
E. Pagano, B. Romano, F.A. Iannotti, O.A. Parisi, M. D’Armiento, S. Pignatiello, L. Coretti, M. Lucafò, T. Venneri, G. Stocco, F. Lembo, P. Orlando, R. Capasso, V. Di Marzo, A.A. Izzo, F. Borrelli, The non-euphoric phytocannabinoid cannabidivarin counteracts intestinal inflammation in mice and cytokine expression in biopsies from UC pediatric patients, Pharmacological Research,
Volume 149, 2019,104464, ISSN 1043-6618, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2019.104464.
Wargent, E., Zaibi, M., Silvestri, C. et al. The cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) ameliorates insulin sensitivity in two mouse models of obesity. Nutrition & Diabetes3, e68 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nutd.2013.9