Researchers say they’ve made a major breakthrough in producing rare cannabinoid responsible for medical benefits

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While much of the attention on cannabinoids is devoted to THC and CBD, a group of researchers say they’ve made a major breakthrough on a compound that may be more effective at producing marijuana’s medical benefits, writes Joseph Misulonas. 

A group of researchers in California say they’ve made a major breakthrough on how to ramp up production of tetrahydrocannabivarin, also known as THCV. THCV is a cannabinoid with several medical benefits, such as fighting inflammation, protecting the brain, preventing epileptic episodes and more. But THCV is also a very rare cannabinoid and most cannabis strains contain only trace amounts of it. But these researchers say they’ve found a way to increase its production.

In the 20th century, many marijuana growers began altering their plants through breeding to increase the amount of THC, the cannabinoid responsible for making users feel “high.” However, that process also meant that other cannabinoids were being bred out of these cannabis strains. The researchers in California are basically reversing the breeding process so the strains they create are lower in THC but higher in THCV.

The goal, according to the researchers, is to produce medical products and prescription medications containing THCV. They say the possibilities for THCV products is endless.

“The only thing that THCV does is it’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory, it’s neuroprotective, which means it protects the nervous system,” said Dr. Michael Moskowitz, one of the researchers behind the THCV breakthrough. “It’s anti-nausea and vomiting. It helps with bone health and bone formation, it’s sleep-promoting, it’s anti-epileptic, it’s anti-anxiety. It’s a major anti-psychotic. And it helps with appetite suppression, it’s anti-diabetic and it’s anti-cholesterol.”

So perhaps in a few years, the huge prevalence of CBD products we see in stores everywhere will be replaced by products containing THCV.

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