What Is CBDV (Cannabidivarin) And What Are Its Health Benefits?
Although the cannabis sativa plant produces over 100 chemical compounds that are occur naturally in the plant – collectively known as “phytocannabinoids” – research into these compounds is still in its infancy and only a few have been extensively studied.
These include the major psychoactive cannabinoid delta-9-THC (THC) and the main non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD).
Research has shown that THC possesses powerful health benefits and can treat loss of appetite that causes weight loss in people with AIDS. It can also be used to treat severe nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. However, because of its psychotropic activity, its use is limited in medicine.
We’ve written extensively about CBD’s numerous health effects and also its desirability as a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis sativa plant. It boasts an excellent safety profile and its lack of psychoactivity allows it to be well-tolerated by patients who are in need of alternative pharmacotherapies.
However, another non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis sativa plant that shows therapeutic potential for the treatment of a wide range of conditions is cannabidivarin or CBDV.
What is CBDV?
Cannabinoid biosynthesis begins when a precursor molecule reacts with geranyl pyrophosphate to form a ringed structure.
Most classical cannabinoids that you find in cannabis are 21-carbon compounds. This means their chemical structure will contain 21 carbon atoms. However, the variation in the length of the side chain that is attached to the aromatic ring (at the bottom right hand side of the structure) can produce different types of compounds.
For example, when the side-chain is a pentyl (5-carbon) chain for CBD type compounds, the compound produced will be CBD.
Cannabinoids with the propyl (3-carbon) side-chain are named using the suffix varin. When the pentyl chain is replaced with a propyl side-chain, the CBD type compound formed is cannabidivarin or CBDV. Plants with relatively high levels of CBDV have been reported in feral populations of cannabis from northwest India, and in hashish from Nepal.
CBDV not only has a similar chemical structure as CBD, but it also shares some of its characteristics as well.
For example, CBDV does not cause a psychotropic “high” like THC.
CBDV also shares some of CBD’s therapeutic effects as well. In fact, a comparison of the effects of CBD and CBDV show that they do share some similar medicinal qualities.
Health benefits of CBDV
Although little is known about the effects of this cannabinoid in the body, research to date has shown that CBDV may be an effective anticonvulsant agent and may also help with nausea and bone healing.
CBDV has been reported to inhibit diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL), the enzyme responsible for the production of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). The effect of inhibiting 2-AG production may be involved in its anticonvulsant effects.
One study also found that CBDV possesses strong anticonvulsant properties in a broad range of seizure models. The researchers found that normal motor function was not significantly affected by CBDV.
The authors concluded that further work is required to determine the anticonvulsant mechanism of CBDV, but the significant anticonvulsant effects and favorable motor side effect profile demonstrated in the study identify CBDV as a potential standalone anti-epileptic drug or as a clinically useful adjunctive treatment alongside other anti-epileptic drugs for treating chronic epilepsy.
In terms of treating nausea, a 2013 study was conducted to test the effects of CBDV and THCV on rodents to test their ability to produce conditioned gaping (a measure of nausea-induced behaviour).
However, not only did CBDV (and THCV) not produce conditioned gaping in the rats, they also suppressed lithium chloride-induced conditioned gaping (gaping produced by a toxin), suggesting anti-nausea potential. The authors concluded that CBDV may have therapeutic potential in reducing nausea.
Finally, CBDV may be involved in bone healing and may help with fractures as well. Its beneficial effects on bone formation and fracture healing were first uncovered in 2007 in a study published in the journal Calcified Tissue International. The researchers found CBDV may stimulate stem cells leading to bone formation and act via CB2 cannabinoid receptor-dependent mechanisms.