THCV is often called 'diet weed' due to claims it can suppress your appetite. Here's everything we know about it.

THCV is often called 'diet weed' due to claims it can suppress your appetite. Here's everything we know about it.
Marijuana remains illegal on the federal level.Mayara Klingner / EyeEm/Getty Images
  • THCV, a chemical compound in cannabis, is often called "diet weed" because it has some appetite-suppressing qualities.
  • Since it's found only in small quantities in naturally-occurring weed, it's unlikely to cause a high.

Studies suggest cannabis has benefits for pain management, anxiety, and depression. Now, researchers are uncovering the therapeutic potential of specific compounds found in the plant, called cannabinoids.

One of those cannabinoids, THCV (short for tetrahydrocannabivarin), is found in small amounts in naturally-occurring weed plants. Research on THCV is still in its early stages, but small studies on humans and animals suggest it has appetite-suppressing properties. For that reason, some people refer to THCV as "diet weed," though experts have warned against using cannabis as a weight-loss tool.

Research suggests THCV could also aid in diabetes and Alzheimer's treatment and reduce anxiety.

THCV probably won't cause an intoxicating effect

All cannabinoids, THCV included, come from the "mother" cannabinoid CBG (short for cannabigerol), Insider previously reported. When exposed to environmental factors like light or heat, CBG reacts and turns into other cannabinoids, like CBD, THC, or THCV, which all have unique properties.

Current research suggests THCV is one-quarter less intense than THC, Leafly reported. Since THCV is found in smaller amounts in weed compared to THC and CBD, it's unlikely a person will consume enough to feel an intoxicating effect.


Typically, sativa-leaning cannabis strains that come from Africa have the highest concentrations of THCV, according to Leafly. Some strains, like Doug's Varin and Pineapple Purps, were engineered to contain more THCV than they naturally have, Leafly reported.

THCV could curb appetite, but it's not a weight-loss tool

There are also non-flower THCV products that claim to provide the cannabinoid's appetite-suppressing effect, Mashable previously reported. But there's no solid research on these products, or the effects of THCV on humans.

A 2009 animal study found obese mice who had pure THCV ate less food than mice who didn't have THCV. If the THCV was mixed with THC, like it would if it came from weed found in nature, it didn't have the same appetite-reducing effect, the researchers found.

A 2016 double-blind study on people with type 2 diabetes found THCV could potentially help control blood sugar levels.

Still, there's not enough evidence to apply THCV as a treatment for weight loss and obesity.


Researchers, who published an October 2019 paper that found weed users were less likely to be obese, have warned against using cannabis in general as a weight-loss tool.

If a weed user wants to avoid getting the "munchies" and overeating while stoned, it's best to prepare before consuming weed, or to forgo it, Dr. Jordan Tishler, president of the Association of Cannabis Specialists, previously told Insider.

"If cannabis use for you leads to munchies, and you have a tendency to satisfy those munchies with high-calorie foods, then stopping cannabis may be necessary," Tishler said.