Delving into cannabinoids
Cannabis is packed with a diverse mix of chemical compounds, harboring over a hundred different cannabinoids. To create these compounds, the plant goes through several chemical reactions. The cannabinoids created through these reactions differ depending on the type of cannabis species, the stage of its life cycle, its exposure to heat, or the presence of enzymes.
One of these groups of cannabinoids, which all contain the letter “V”, is the result of a specific chemical change that occurs in the earliest stages of a cannabis plant’s development. Although parts of their chemical structure are very similar to other cannabinoids, CBCV, THCV, and CBDV all have attractive qualities.
Introducing the “V” family of cannabinoids
Let’s explore that unique chemical reaction mentioned above. In the earliest stages of a cannabis plant’s life, a chemical compound called geranyl pyrophosphate has the option of combining with two different types of acids found in the plant. If it is combined with olivetolic acid it produces CBGA, while if it is combined with divarinic acid it gives rise to CBGVA. Both are intermediate cannabinoids, but CBGVA is the first member of the “V” family of cannabinoids.
The diversity of families or groups of cannabinoids can be overwhelming. One of the simplest ways to visualize cannabinoid synthesis is to imagine CBGA and CBGVA as two types of mass. While CBGA dough can be used to make spaghetti, CBGVA dough is better for macaroni. Although many of the base ingredients are the same, the end result varies depending on the way the dough is prepared, the cooking process, and the molding.
A similar concept can be applied to the entire cannabinoid family tree. By dividing into several branches or paths (depending on the reaction or manipulation carried out), dozens of potential results are obtained. If you go the way of the “V” cannabinoids as a plant grows, and apply heat to the raw cannabinoids, you will end up with the previously mentioned compounds: CBCV, THCV, and CBDV.
Where are the “V” family cannabinoids found and what do they do?
Most of the “V” family cannabinoids are difficult to isolate. They are the shy and introverted part of the cannabinoid family. Unless you find a cannabis plant of a pure landrace. These are genetically “pure” varieties, which have not been altered by decades of selective breeding and manipulation by growers. Instead, inbred strains have been able to grow naturally, resulting in higher concentrations of “V” cannabinoids like CBDV.
Regarding its capabilities, research on the cannabinoids of the “V” family is still in its early stages. However, what we do know is that they are not psychoactive and interact with receptors other than cannabinoids such as CBD. THCV is non-psychoactive and has shown the ability to suppress appetite, while CBDV has shown potential as a treatment for epilepsy and other seizure disorders. For now, we must rely on ongoing research to reveal the true potential of the “V” cannabinoids.