Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, and an incredibly popular choice both for its mild psychoactive high and other unique properties. You might be surprised to learn that the process of producing THCV products involves a lot more than just isolating this cannabinoid in the hemp plant and concentrating it.
In fact, most cannabinoids that you see on the market are made available thanks to a fascinating process known as isomerization, which relies on the surprising similarities between all of the cannabinoids that exist in hemp plant material.
Making THCV Starts with Industrial Hemp
The THCV products that exist on today’s hemp market come from industrial hemp. THCV is an extremely trace cannabinoid in the plant material, making up less than 1% of the plant’s entire chemical composition. Tetrahydrocannabivarin is found in the plant’s flowering buds, and these buds must be picked at the right point when the plant has matured to ensure that the plant’s cannabinoids are fully stable in its chemical makeup.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) ideally comes from hemp that has been grown organically, since organic hemp is free of pesticides. And, it should be grown here in the United States, since our uniquely strict agricultural standards lead to higher-quality hemp.
How To Make THCV Distillate
We said before that THCV is a very trace cannabinoid in the raw hemp plant material. To create a meaningful amount of pure tetrahydrocannabivarin extract, an enormous amount of flower buds would be required, and this could be both expensive and tedious for processors. After all, compare the less than 1% THCV in hemp to the 20% or more CBD found in the plant’s flowers. Good news is that we can rely on a process called isomerization to get a flawlessly pure tetrahydrocannabivarin extract.
All cannabinoids come from a cannabinoid precursor called cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which is found in the plant before it matures. CBGA eventually converts into the full spectrum of cannabinoids we are more familiar with. Because these cannabinoids all have the same ancestor, they all have the same molecular components, but those molecules are organized differently depending on the cannabinoid. In chemistry terms, this means that all cannabinoids are isomers of one another.
Isomerization involves taking one compound and rearranging it to turn it into another. Because CBD is so easy to isolate, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is usually made by rearranging the molecules of cannabidiol.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Applying a Solvent: To create a pure form of CBD that can be converted into THCV, a solvent is applied to the raw hemp material.
- Add an Acid: Next, a carefully chosen acid is applied to the CBD extract. This forces the molecules to rearrange, and, force the CBD to turn into THCV.
- Test the End Result: Now, liquid chromatography is used to analyze the resulting extract, to ensure that it is pure tetrahydrocannabivarin.
Isomerization is by far the most efficient way to create tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) but some companies are willing to go through the less efficient process of traditional extraction using a method called distillation.
Distillation involves taking the raw hemp plant material and exposing it to steam, at varying levels of temperature and pressure. Each compound in hemp evaporates when exposed to a different temperature and pressure amount, and this process is repeated until the only remaining compound is refined tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
Formulating THCV Vapes and Products
Now, it’s time to take that pure tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) extract and combine it with other ingredients to produce a product such as a vape, a gummy, etc. Here is the basic way in which each common type of THCV product is produced.
- THC-V Flower: THCV flower takes raw hemp flower buds and infuses them with this pure tetrahydrocannabivarin extract.
- THCV Vapes: THCV vapes, including disposables as well as vape cartridges, are made by taking the pure tetrahydrocannabivarin extract and combining it with terpene extracts, which may either come from raw hemp or come from other botanical sources. Ideally, the vape oil contains only these two ingredients.
- THCV Tinctures: THCV tinctures combine pure tetrahydrocannabivarin extract with a carrier oil, in a specific concentration (milligram strength).
- THCV Edibles: THCV edibles like gummies can made be made with any number of ingredients that are combined with pure tetrahydrocannabivarin extract.
- THCV Capsules: THCV capsules take pure tetrahydrocannabivarin extract and place them into a gel capsule. Sometimes, a carrier oil is added to dilute the THCV into a specific milligram strength.
Lab-Testing Through a Third-Party Source
The next step is to have the tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) third-party-tested by a state-licensed laboratory. Here, the product is analyzed for its purity, potential contaminants and toxins, chemical breakdown and federal compliance. The lab report is given to the company, and, should be made available to the public. Lab-testing is required of all companies that produce hemp products.
Packaging THCV Products
Last but not least, it’s time to package the product. One thing that’s crucial is that the packaging is airtight, as THCV and other hemp compounds lose their potency and their flavor as they degrade when exposed to the elements. The packaging must also list the ingredients, share the serving size and serving instructions, and provide information about the milligram strength if that applies to the product type.
THCV: A Wild Ride from the Farm to Your Door
Those THCV-infused products that we see on the market today could very well have not been possible if it weren’t for exciting advancements in the hemp industry, such as isomerization and liquid chromatography. At Binoid, we employ all of these methods to make our lab-tested, legal and highly effective tetrahydrocannabivarin products. This way, we can keep THCV affordable for our customers, while providing them with the very best that the market has to offer.