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J Psychopharmacol. 2016 Feb;30(2):140-51. doi: 10.1177/0269881115615104. Epub 2015 Nov 17.

The effect of five day dosing with THCV on THC-induced cognitive, psychological and physiological effects in healthy male human volunteers: A placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot trial.

Author information

1
Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK amir.englund@kcl.ac.uk.
2
Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Cannabis is mostly grown under illegal and unregulated circumstances, which seems to favour a product increasingly high in its main cannabinoid ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a relatively untested cannabinoid which is said to be a cannabinoid receptor neutral antagonist, and may inhibit the effects of THC.

OBJECTIVES:

To explore the safety and tolerability of repeated THCV administration and its effects on symptoms normally induced by THC in a sample of healthy volunteers.

METHODS:

Ten male cannabis users (<25 use occasions) were recruited for this within-subjects, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over pilot study. 10mg oral pure THCV or placebo were administered daily for five days, followed by 1mg intravenous THC on the fifth day.

RESULTS:

THCV was well tolerated and subjectively indistinguishable from placebo. THC did not significantly increase psychotic symptoms, paranoia or impair short-term memory, while still producing significant intoxicating effects. Delayed verbal recall was impaired by THC and only occurred under placebo condition (Z=-2.201, p=0.028), suggesting a protective effect of THCV. THCV also inhibited THC-induced increased heart rate (Z=-2.193, p=0.028). Nine out of ten participants reported THC under THCV condition (compared to placebo) to be subjectively weaker or less intense (χ(2)=6.4, p=0.011). THCV in combination with THC significantly increased memory intrusions (Z=-2.155, p=0.031).

CONCLUSION:

In this first study of THC and THCV, THCV inhibited some of the well-known effects of THC, while potentiating others. These findings need to be interpreted with caution due to a small sample size and lack of THC-induced psychotomimetic and memory-impairing effect, probably owing to the choice of dose.

KEYWORDS:

THC; THCV; cannabinoid; cannabis; human; memory; psychosis; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin

PMID:
26577065
DOI:
10.1177/0269881115615104
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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