Tetrahydrocannabivarin— abbreviated in THCv— is a cannabinoid substance that occurs in the plant known to the scientific community as Cannabis Sativa, from which marijuana is made. THCv originally grew in Central Asia and on the Indian Subcontinent, where it may have been a component in the drug known as soma; an archeologist discovered traces of it in a Zoroastrian temple. (The drug of the same name in “Brave New World” is quite different.) Then, as now, the medicinal potential of cannabis was was widely recognized.
THCV is what scientists call a CB1 receptor antagonist— that is, it inhibits the release of the psychoactive THC, which is a partial agonist on the CB1 and CB2 receptors on the central nervous and immune systems respectively. CB1 contributes to certain types of hypotension and also plays a role in pain transmission. CB2 appears to have a part in the functions of white blood cells.
Another cannabinoid substance, called THCa (trans- 4- hydroxycrotonic acid), is commonly used for scientific research. Its molecular structure is considerably less complex than that of THCv. Raw cannabis consists primarily of this ingredient, which, like THCv, is being promoted for its medicinal properties: Some research has shown can be used to treat cancer by inhibiting the growth of tumorous cells. It can also be used as an antispasmodic. THCa is known, in fact, to be responsible for both the good and the bad effects that marihuana has on people– it gives the drug its medicinawl value, but also causes its intense high. Both compounds are non- psychoactive. Hemp does not produce THCa.
All countries have laws that prohibit the non-medical use of cannabis. There have been claims that medical cannabis (or medical marihuana, as it is also known) is effective in treated various kinds of diseases, from breast and lung cancer to Alzheimer’s to AIDS— and mental conditions such as schizophrenia as well. Doctors often recommend the drug as a form of herbal therapy. A form of the drug has also become widely used in treating type 1 diabetes, and its effectiveness in treating glaucoma has been demonstrated. There is even a claim that it relieves the symptoms of ALS, for which doctors still say there is no cure. A few states even allow the use of marihuana for medical purposes, despite the federally- enacted Controlled Substances Act of 1970, and this has sometimes led to conflicts between federal and state governments, two of which ended with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the former. In other countries, similarly, marihuana has limited legally- sanctioned medical applications. And it must be acknowedged that, despite the bad reputation that this drug has had, there is not one documented case of marijuana being the sole cause of anybody’s death; there is always at least one additional drug in the system.
These claims are nothing new, of course; as mentioned above, the use of cannabis in medicine goes back at least 4,000 years. Here are some references to the drug in various medical texts of the 19th and 20th centuries. (The first Federal Laws prohibiting marihuana were passed in 1937, even though local, and state laws were in force back then.)
– “Pharmacographia: A History of the Principal Drugs of Vegetable Origin, Met with in Great Britain and British India” (1879) states that hemp has been used “as a soporific, anodyne, antispasmodic, and as a nervous stimulant.”
– “Materia Medica Pura” (1884) mentions that the seeds of the hemp plant have been used “with advantage in the treatment of gonorrhea, and in ancient times in some kinds of jaundice.” The former use is homeopathic: Although this fact was not acknowledged by any doctor, healthy patients who had been administered the drug revealed morbid states in the urinary organs. The juice was used in various diseases of the chest, genitals, and sense organs.
– The author of “A Textbook of Materia Medica, Pharmacology, and Special Therapeutics, with Many New Remedies” (1889) wrote that “for uterine hemorrhage, five drops every two hours, has served me well,” and that it is “very valuable” for spermatorrhea and gonorrhea.
– The listings for all forms of cannabis appeared in the “American Homeopathic Pharmacopeia” in 1911, though no specific use for any of these drugs is given.