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Everyone knows weed can cause the munchies. Use enough of it, and that bag of chips isn’t in the pantry anymore—it’s lying empty on the coffee table in front of you.
For this reason, the idea of using cannabis to help lose weight seems ridiculous. But research into the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) has shown the compound might prove effective in controlling appetite.
A review of the studies published in the Journal of Cannabis Research reported that “the uniquely diverse properties of THCV provide neuroprotection, appetite suppression, glycemic control, and reduced side effects, etc.; therefore, making it a potential priority candidate for the development of clinically useful therapies in the future.”
As with most new marijuana products, such as CBD, this new use for cannabis revolves around a new cannabinoid – in this case, THCV. Unlike THC, the most commonly known ingredient of cannabis, THCV is not psychoactive (i.e., it won’t get you high). Also, unlike THC, the THCV cannabinoid may not lead to the munchies but suppress the appetite.
Late in 2021, the popular Colorado-based company Wana Brands launched a new line of gummies called Wana Optimals Fit that uses THCV for this very purpose. The company is marketing the gummies as a “surprising new cannabinoid-powered tool” that can help people get a handle on their food cravings.
In a news release about the new product, Wana Brands VP of Innovation Mike Hennesy said the new gummy addresses “one of the underlying conditions causing weight gain—unhealthy eating habits.”
The company states that THCV gives people a feeling of fullness and enhances focus, keeping people from “reaching mindlessly for that bag of potato chips.” They also say the gummy will modify dopamine reward cycles, reducing chemical incentives that lead people to consume unhealthy snacks. Currently, Wana Optimals Fit is available only in Colorado.
THCV has shown potential as an appetite suppressant
Wana Brand is wisely getting ahead of the pack on THCV. Any natural product that can suppress appetite is expected to become extremely popular, extremely fast. And while more research is needed, early studies have shown the potential of THCV as an appetite suppressant.
In the Journal of Cannabis report, researchers wrote that “in rodent studies, THCV decreases appetite, increases satiety, and up-regulates energy metabolism, making it a clinically useful remedy for weight loss and management of obesity and type 2 diabetic patients.”
A study involving humans, published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, found that THCV increased responses in the brain for both rewarding and aversive stimuli. They wrote: “This effect profile suggests therapeutic activity in obesity, perhaps with a lowered risk of depressive side effects.”
As the research into THCV continues, expect more companies to join Wana Brand with products that feature this unique cannabis chemical ingredient.