What is HHC? Everything You Need To Know

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With so much weed science and information out there, you might think that we know all there is to know about cannabis––but surprisingly, you’d be wrong. The cannabis plant is a wonderfully complex plant that is made up of hundreds of different chemical compounds (more commonly known as cannabinoids) that react in different ways with the human body.

As of yet, science knows about around 119 different cannabinoids. And as scientific research continues, that number is sure to go up. So, after the introduction of THC, CBD, and delta-8 into the cannabis world, we’re seeing yet another cannabinoid that is making a name for itself in the cannabinoid industry: HHC (or hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol.)

It’s important to note that the research on HHC is still relatively new––meaning, most of what we know is anecdotal in nature. As a result, we don’t have quite all the facts yet, and there are some questions that still need answering.

But thankfully, that’s what we’re here for: to tell you what we know about HHC based on reported user experiences, as well as highlighting the research that has been done so far. We’ll talk about what exactly HHC is, the effects of HHC, what the potential benefits of HHC may be, and if you’re interested, where to get HHC.

What is the HHC Cannabinoid?

Learning about cannabinoids can be a little confusing since the cannabis plant is full of compounds made up of many different letters, such as THC, CBD, and HHC. Which leads us to our first question: what does HHC stand for?

HHC stands for hexahydrocannabinol. Hexahydrocannabinol is a hemp-derived chemical compound that can be found in trace amounts within the cannabis plant. Just like its similarly acronymed cannabinoid cousins THC and CBD, HHC reacts with the endocannabinoid system (or ECS) within the human body to produce different feelings and effects, both physical and mental.

Q: How is HHC created?

HHC is a hemp-derived chemical compound created in 1944 by an American chemist named Roger Adams. Adams discovered that by adding hydrogen molecules to delta-9 THC during a process called hydrogenation, creates a chemical reaction that converts THC into HHC. Initially, this process used THC cultivated from the cannabis plant, but nowadays, most HHC is hemp-derived.

Q: What does hemp-derived mean?

Did you know that the marijuana and hemp plants are actually two different plants? They’re both plants that come from cannabis but have their own slight differences, mainly in THC content. The marijuana (or cannabis Sativa) plant is typically used to harvest the weed we’re used to smoking. While, on the other hand, hemp is harvested for many industrial uses and cultivated for its cannabinoid benefits. So, when a cannabinoid is described as hemp-derived, that means it has been harvested explicitly from the hemp plant itself and not the cannabis Sativa plant.

Q: Is HHC synthetic?

Most people would consider HHC to be a semi-synthetic cannabinoid. Semi-synthetic means that, while HHC is still a naturally occurring cannabinoid, to come to fruition, it needs a little help from humans to be adequately cultivated (as we see happen during the process of hydrogenation.)

Q: Is HHC safe?

While all of the research thus far looks like HHC is just as safe to use as any other cannabinoid, we cannot answer this definitively as there is not enough science-backed data done on HHC yet to claim absolute safety. While we personally feel safe using HHC, this is where it’s crucial to conduct your own research to make sure you’re comfortable with the HHC you’re consuming and where you’re getting the HHC from. Always purchase from a reputable source that is transparent with their business. Meaning they’ll answer any questions you might have and publicly display their full panel lab test of all their products. 

Is HHC Legal?

Since the legality of cannabis in the United States is constantly changing, it’s important to remember that any list you find online must be as up-to-date as possible. Like any other cannabis product, HHC is subject to the same legal grey areas (including differences on a state and federal level) as other cannabinoids.

As of the writing of this article (December 2021), HHC is both legal on a federal and state level. It is currently open for sales and distribution to all 50 states in America. 

Q: Why/how is HHC legal?

In 2018, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill allowed minimal amounts of THC to be present in hemp cultivated for sale while still being legal. 

Because of this, scientists were able to harvest trace amounts of cannabinoids like delta-8 and HHC by using fractional distillation and hydrogenation to turn them into cannabis products that consumers can use and enjoy. So, we can thank the Farm Bill of 2018 for producing yet another ‘loophole cannabinoid’ that we’ve been able to research into potential beneficial use.

How Do You Consume HHC?

You can consume HHC similarly to other cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Although, since it’s relatively new to the market, options are still a bit limited. As of now, you can find HHC in forms like tinctures, edibles, and vapes.

Q: Does HHC get you high?

Yes, HHC does get you high. But, also remember that everyone’s experience is different based on your unique physiology, body makeup, tolerance for cannabis products, and overall health. That being said, if you’ve tried other cannabinoids like CBD, delta-8 THC, or delta-9 THC, HHC will give you a different experience.

The feelings of HHC are all based on anecdotal user experiences, but many have reported feelings of a smooth and cerebral ‘high,’ one that is a bit more mellow than delta-9 but a bit more energetic than delta-8. In addition, most users have reported HHC being more potent than delta 8 but less potent than delta-9. 

Q: Will HHC show up on a drug test?

Although HHC is not considered THC, there isn’t much research up to this point if HHC consistently shows up on a drug test. Some users have said that they’ve passed a drug test while using HHC, while others have reported that HHC flagged their drug test as positive. With that being said, we wouldn’t recommend taking a drug test if you’ve ingested HHC within the past 4 weeks. 

What’s the Difference Between HHC & Other Cannabinoids?

The differences between HHC and other cannabinoids like CBD and THC are primarily how they make you feel. Molecularly, they’re all pretty similar. But when isolated, their unique properties begin to shine.

Q: What’s the difference between HHC and delta-9 THC?

While HHC and THC can act somewhat similarly (with HHC being a bit more potent), HHC isn’t actually a form of THC at all. HHC starts off as THC, but after undergoing the process of hydrogenation, it converts into HHC.

Q: What’s the difference between HHC and CBD?

CBD is notorious for being a cannabinoid used for its medicinal benefits without the typical psychoactive experience of THC. HHC, on the other hand, will still produce similar psychoactive effects to THC that are known for having the feeling of a ‘high’ associated with weed.

What Are the Effects of HHC?

Since HHC is still in its infancy in terms of research and scientific evidence, we’re relying purely on anecdotal user experience to tell us how HHC affects us and makes us feel.

Consumers who have used HHC have said that it’s given them psychoactive effects, ranging from mellow and cerebral to clearheaded and energetic. Users have also reported this kind of ‘high’ being more potent than delta-8 THC (which is already about half as potent as delta-9 THC).

Although many users share common experiences with HHC, it’s important to remember that every cannabinoid, HHC included, will affect each and every individual differently.

Q: What are the benefits of HHC?

The potential benefits of HHC will be very similar to the potential benefits of delta 8 and delta 9 THC. Based on what we’ve heard users say so far, some benefits of HHC include:

  • HHC is less psychoactive than delta-9 THC. THC can sometimes trigger anxiety in users who don’t enjoy the strong psychoactive experience that often comes with it.

  • On the other hand, HHC is more potent than delta 8 and CBD. CBD is typically used medicinally, so it does not offer a psychoactive experience.

  • HHC has also been said to show potential in pain relief, stress relief, apetite stimulation, and more —typical traits of many cannabinoids, including both THC and CBD.

Where Can I Buy HHC?

If you are over the age of 21, you can buy HHC products online and have them shipped right to your door (In all 50 states!). However, since HHC is still relatively new, it won’t be as easy to find as other legal cannabinoids like delta 8 and CBD. 

We recommend researching and looking for reputable online headshops that comply with their state’s cannabis laws to provide their consumers with safe and quality HHC products.

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