Cannabidivarin (CBDV): The Cannabis Compound That Treats Epilepsy

What if there were a molecule that could halt seizures and make bones heal faster? If the preclinical evidence holds true, that molecule might be CBDV.

Jul 30, 2017

Have you heard of cannabidivarin (CBDV)? While this cannabis compound is a bit mysterious, emerging research suggests that the simple molecule may prove to be a versatile anti-epileptic treatment. Research is still in its early phases, but there are some seriously good reasons to pay attention to CBDV. Here’s the scoop on this minor cannabinoid and what it might do for the body.

What is cannabidivarin (CBDV)?

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CBDV is one of at least 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are the active chemical components in the cannabis plant. Thus far, cannabis is the only plant that produces these precise compounds. Unlike THC, CBDV does not cause a psychotropic “high.”

Rather, very little is known about the effects of this cannabinoid in the body. Most abundant in Pakistani varieties of cannabis, CBDV is a close relative of the more famous cannabis compound, cannabidiol (CBD).

CBD is currently under investigation for many different medical ailments, including epilepsy, breast cancer, and schizophrenia. Mexican cannabis also has also tested positive for CBDV.

CBDV is the precursor to another compound of interest, THCV. THCV is currently being studied as a potential treatment for diabetes. Research suggests that CBDV transforms into THCV under acidic conditions.

Whether or not CBDV may prove to be useful for any of these ailments has yet to be determined. However, early laboratory and rodent research suggests that the cannabinoid may have some therapeutic potential. Though all research thus far is in its early stages and scientists have a long way to go before they make any firm conclusions about the benefits of CBDV.

Potential benefits of CBDV

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Thus far, CBDV has shown potential in three major areas of research. Though, studies on the cannabinoid are limited to preclinical investigations in the laboratory. CBDV is also not very abundant in most mainstream cannabis cultivars, which can make the compound difficult to come by.

Still, it may be worthwhile for growers and breeders to experiment with creating chemovars (cultivars that produce specific chemical compounds) that contain higher levels of CBDV. Here’s why:

1. Epilepsy

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Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide. Already, a pharmaceutical drug containing CBD has successfully reduced seizure activity in advanced clinical trials. Now, early research on CBDV has found that the cannabinoid may have anticonvulsant properties.

For example, a 2014 study found that CBDV reduced the electrical waves that indicate seizure activity in brain slices tested outside of the body. Another study published in 2012 found that CBDV was effective in quelling a broad range of seizure activity in mice and rats.

The company that invented the CBD-based drug mentioned above, GW Pharmaceuticals, currently holds a patent on CBDV for the treatment of epilepsy. This is a strong sign that the cannabinoid has serious potential as an anti-epileptic drug.

Though more research is needed,  cannabis cultivars that produce high levels of both CBDV and CBD may be particularly valuable.

2. Nausea

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To test the effects of CBDV on nausea, scientists treated rodents with lithium chloride. This made them gape, which is how rats express nausea. Rats cannot physically vomit. Researchers found that CBDV successfully reduced gaping, indicating that it has some of the same anti-nausea effects as other more common cannabinoids.

3. Bone healing and fracture

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Interestingly, CBDV may help bones grow. This cannabinoid has bone stimulant properties, which may be useful in healing bones after a fracture. Researchers have made similar findings with CBD, which has been shown to strengthen the cartilage bridge that binds fragments of breaks and fractures.

Research suggests that CBDV may help by stimulating stem cells in bone marrow, which then work to form and repair bones.

Jul 30, 2017