There are over 100 cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant. Each different cannabinoid compound acts on cannabinoid receptors present in the host cell. These cannabinoid receptors are collectively known as the human endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is involved in many different physiological activities, these include control of pain, mood, memory and appetite. THC is the most well know of the cannabinoids. But soon Dutch Passion hope to release the first cannabis seed varieties rich in CBG and THCV. So what do we know about the importance and relevance of cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG and THCV?
Just a few years ago, the only cannabinoid anyone had heard about was THC. In the early part of the new millennium some smart breeding produced the first CBD rich cannabis seeds. Initially no-one fully appreciated the significance of these. Indeed, the ‘High Street’ CBD boom took place many years after the first CBD rich cannabis seeds had been released. It took time for public interest to catch up. The rest is history, CBD has created more mainstream interest in cannabis than most people ever imagined. CBD has become the most widely used and accepted of the cannabinoids thanks to the High Street success. People are using CBD for a wide variety of medical issues, though it’s also fair to say that many people find no benefit from CBD for their personal situation.
So what will happen when more new cannabinoids start to appear in brand new cannabis varieties? Dutch Passion have been working hard to release feminized cannabis seed varieties which will produce plants rich in CBG (Cannabigerol) and THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin). A few years down the line, there will be varieties rich in other cannabinoids too. Legalization has allowed targeted and science-led cannabis breeding to emerge. This will allow more cannabinoids to come under the spotlight in coming years. During the next few years there is every possibility that science will discover more and more medical uses for cannabis.
Scientific information on THCV is limited. But one research paper indicates that THCV does work in conjunction with THC and modulate intoxication of it “displaying 25% of its potency in early testing”. In other words, THCV may not be quite as psycho active as THC, but it will have significant effects and may amplify the effects of THC. Medical cannabis users are eagerly looking forward to new cannabinoids such as THCV. But the suggested increased psycho-activity from THCV will also appeal to recreational users too. The pleasurable effects related to THCV may depend on the individual. After all, we are all different. Some people prefer THC-rich varieties. Whereas others prefer to have a little (or even a lot) of CBD in their cannabis. It may be the same with THCV. Some will adore the addition of THCV to their buds. There are some suggestions that THCV may be responsible, or partly responsible, for the energising high associated with sativa genetics. But, like so many of the cannabinoids, there are still far more questions than answers.
Research and studies with animals have shown that pure THCV tends to suppress appetite and reduce food consumption. A study presented in 2007 at the IACM 4th Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine found that rodents given pure THCV (without THC) spent less time around their food and did not eat as much as other rodents. Similar appetite suppression has been linked to CBD. However, when THC was added to the THCV, the rodents (perhaps predictably) soon re-discovered their appetite.
Research trials by GW Pharmaceuticals showed that THCV and CBD successfully improved fasting (i.e. without food) insulin levels. They also reduced blood glucose levels, improved insulin response, reduced blood pressure, and reduced inflammation markers. It should be stressed that these trials are preliminary rather than final clinical trials. But the results are interesting to researchers. THCV is referred to as ‘GWP42004’ in this study. THCV may also be useful in preventing seizures, this study on rodents showed promising signs. This study showed promising results for neuroprotective properties of THCV and symptom reductions for Parkinson’s Disease. There is great medical interest in THCV, both as an isolated compound and in conjunction with other cannabinoids.
CBG is important since it is the parent cannabinoid from which the others are synthesised. Usually, there is little residual CBG in cannabis at harvest, most has been converted to other cannabinoids. The role of CBG as the starting point for other cannabinoids has drawn a great deal of attention to it. That’s one of the reasons Dutch Passion are hoping to release their first CBG-rich feminized cannabis seeds in the near future. CBG isn’t especially psychoactive, but it does provide a slight mental stimulation. If you created a scale from 0-100 to describe potency and gave CBD zero points for potency and THC 100 points for potency, then CBG would be around 10-20. Nowhere near as strong as THC, but with a more noticeable effect than CBD.
As with THCV, little medical research has been done on CBG. But some research has been done on the neuro-protective qualities of CBG. The researchers in this study were encouraged by their work with CBG and concluded “our results open new research avenues for the use of CBG, alone or in combination with other phytocannabinoids or therapies, for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s Disease”. This research paper also discusses the use of CBG as an anti-inflammatory, and again mentions the possible neuro-protective benefits and Huntington’s Disease. CBG may also be useful as an appetite stimulant following this rodent study.
No-one really knows which, if any, medical benefits may exist until these varieties are subject to full medical scrutiny and made available to the cannabis community. Following decades of cannabis prohibition there has been insufficient research on cannabis. Even THC is still far from fully understood. The medical world is scrambling to catch up with the increasing legality of cannabis, they are investing heavily to find out what the full range of medical properties are.
For the mainstream pharmaceutical companies, the costs to commercialise a new cannabinoid based pharmaceutical medicine are eye-watering. Dozens of scientists, clinical trials and $millions of R&D funds are required. That’s why the big pharmaceutical companies will be unable to offer low cost cannabis based medicines. They simply have too many overheads.
For cannabis home growers there is a simpler, and cheaper, alternative. Many people continue to grow their own recreational or medical cannabis at home using cannabis seeds. Growing your own from cannabis seeds has never been easier. You can grow from feminized seeds or autoflower seeds. Today you can buy cannabis seeds which will produce cannabis rich in THC and/or CBD. Soon you will be able to grow feminized cannabis seeds which will produce other novel cannabinoids such as THCV and CBG. Keep reading the Dutch Passion blog for the latest information on the progress of these new varieties.
July 23rd 2019