Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THC-V, is “the latest cannabinoid on the block.” I have now had nearly two years of experience working with this molecule in whole plant form. The plants containing significant amounts of THC-V are still very rare, so when we’ve had access to strains rich in THC-V, we’ve extracted and blended the oils. This has resulted in two groups of products in which I believe the addition of THC-V will be greatly beneficial. I’ll first address transdermal (local) creams, and then touch on new oral (systemic) tinctures containing THC-V that offer help in a number of areas.
The dosed transdermal cream contains various excipients to aid the transfer of THC-V from the skin to the dermal area, where it can have direct effects on muscles, nerves, and connective tissue.
I wish I could take credit for discovering how to effectively treat neuropathic pain, in particular, with cannabis. Based on my many years experience using various formulations to treat patients with a multitude of medical conditions, I’ve certainly had some informed thoughts and opinions on the topic, but LUCK (not genius!) brought this new neuropathic pain therapy to a reality for well over 100 patients… so far!
I was looking for a transdermal method for treating our pediatric patients with seizures, autism, or both. As it can be a challenge giving children with these conditions dosed liquid medicine under their tongue, and rarely can they swallow capsules, I thought that preparing a transdermal medicine containing CBD and THC-V might be more easily administered. However, although it was not effective for the children, the mother of an autistic patient tried it at home for her own chemo-related neuropathic pain, and she later called me asking where she could get more as it was extremely effective. Her pain, loss of sensation, as well as motor function all improved in only a few hours.
Since that time, we have completed a simple observational study of approximately forty patients with neuropathy, accompanied by severe pain, tingling sensation, and/or numbness. The etiology of the neuropathy was often chemotherapy, diabetes, other pharmaceuticals, etc.
Approximately 80% of the patients involved in this two week study experienced nearly 80% improvement in both pain level and sensation. I have every reason to believe that the trial would have actually shown even greater results had there been an unlimited supply of THC-V. Although the trial was short lived, it proved extremely promising. In addition to the prompt relief of pain, patients would commonly experience the return of sensation, and for some, even the return of motor function. I have personally witnessed this dozens of times.
In general, a patient begins feeling “something” within thirty minutes. Within ninety minutes, all three deficits are often far better. I’m quite aware that this appears too good to be true. Time spent conducting further studies will be the final judge, but I do have a thought. What if some neuropathies are, in some manner, nutritional deficiencies that are reversed by THC-V? Further evidence to support this notion is that the initial dose of THC-V is drastically reduced over the first few weeks of therapy, as it appears that the longer the patient uses the THC-V, the longer they experience reduced symptoms even after they’ve discontinued treatment.
Now, let's talk about our experience with oral THC-V tinctures. A 1:1:1 tincture was created using 10 mg per ml of CBD, THC, and THC-V. Administered at a low dose, this trio of cannabinoids is showing promise in the treatment of mood disorders, depression, and generalized pain (including neuropathic pain.)
This begs the question, will THC-V (used both systemically and locally) be beneficial in treating multiple sclerosis? Of the MS patients I’ve seen in my practice, I’ve witnessed two whose pain and neurological dysfunction of their lower extremities was greatly improved with transdermal THC-V cream. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a large enough supply of the tincture available at that time to test the MS patients with systemic THC-V. Without question, this will continue to be explored.
With regard to the THC-V plants from which the tinctures are derived, it’s been determined that they all contain more THC than THC-V. Despite this THC "excess", patients taking the tincture often do not experience any psychoactivity until, on the average, three hours after ingestion. This is an unusual response. Why would it take three hours for the psychoactivity to take effect? We honestly had no idea until we looked into the half-life of THC-V. Simply put, “half-life” is the term used when calculating just how long a substance remains in the bloodstream. It’s been determined that THC-V has a half-life that is actually one hour shorter than THC. So once the THC-V has absorbed into the system, some THC remains. At that point, the patient can potentially experience psychoactivity. For patients sensitive to THC, our plans are to balance out the tincture with a higher ratio of CBD.
Clearly there is much work to be done, but the future of THC-V is looking very bright. THC-V and other cannabinoids hold great promise for treating neuropathy, as well as systemic use for a number of other conditions.
You might have guessed that I am having a love affair with THC-V, and I hope to report much more once we have a greater degree of experience and depth of knowledge with the new products currently in development.