What is HHC?
Hexahydrocannabinol, referred to as HHC is a hemp-derived cannabis compound just like CBD, Delta 8, and Delta 10, among others. These minor cannabinoids have gained traction after former President Trump approved the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp cultivation and the use of hemp-derived products containing less that 0.3% Delta 9 THC. This opened the door for alternative cannabinoids, which can be purchased by American adults online instead of at a dispensary, however their legality is questionable due to local and state laws.
What are HHC and HHC-O?
While the name may sound similar, the biggest difference between HHC and HHC-O is the strength. HHC-O is short for hexahydrocannabinol acetate. It’s created by adding acetic anhydride, a chemical compound to HHC extract. This addition to the mix allows for the cannabinoid receptors in the body to more efficiently bind with the HHC-O molecules, resulting in a stronger high than what HHC can produce on its own. HHC-O manufacturers state that HHC-O is anywhere from 1.5 to 3 times more potent than HHC extract on its own. That’s a huge difference!
How is HHC produced?
Despite being quite complicated to produce, HHC was actually first synthesized over seven decades ago. Chemist Roger Adams developed the first HHC extract back in 1944 by combining hydrogen molecules with THC, a process called hydrogenation. The addition of hydrogen converts THC extract into hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) and is very similar to the method used to transform vegetable oil into margarine. With the introduction of federally legal hemp that limits the percentage of THC allowed, HHC along with other minor cannabinoids are produced today using CBD isolate instead of THC to remain within the law.
Like other hemp-derived products, HHC production is a complicated and lengthy multi-step process that can only be done in an explosion-proof laboratory setting. The initial step is to obtain CBD from the legal hemp plants, which is typically done using closed-loop CO2 extraction methods. The CBD extract is then distilled and turned into powdered CBD isolate (CBD in its purest form), which does not contain any other lesser cannabinoids or terpenes. The rest of the process is very complicated and is done within a chemical reactor, hence not a DIY project you can do in your garage. Essentially, CBD isolate is put inside the reactor and a dark gold HHC oil comes out. The final step is to distill and isolate the oil for maximum purity and potency before filling vape carts and adding it to other commercial products.
Is HHC synthetic?
Cannabis plants naturally produce over one hundred cannabinoids with THC and CBD being found in the highest concentrations. Like CBG, Delta 8 THC, and other lesser cannabis compounds, HHC is naturally produced by the cannabis plant but in very small quantities. Depending on how it's produced and sourced, HHC is considered to be either a natural or a semi-synthetic cannabinoid. Nearly all HHC products on the market fall into the latter category since it’s easier for CBD or THC to be chemically altered into HHC. This final HHC oil that’s obtained was never produced by the plant itself.
Does HHC get you high?
This is the most asked question, and for good reason. Luckily for you, the answer is yes! Unlike CBD, HHC has psychoactive properties similar to THC and will get you blazed. If consuming an HHC edible, the effects will take roughly 45 minutes to one hour to kick in, just like a regular weed edible. Users say that the high creeps up slowly and there’s never a jerking, “now I’m way too high” moment that happens all at once. When it comes to smoking or vaping HHC, the high is much more mellow, but it’s still important to take it slow, even if you’re a seasoned toker. Overall, stoners compare the high as more similar to Delta 8 or Delta 10 rather than traditional dry herb or dabs. One thing is for certain though, HHC and HHC-O will get you baked when you need it.
How potent is HHC?
The strength of HHC products varies widely and each batch of HHC produced also has a wide range of potency. When manufacturing HHC extract, most labs have a minimum threshold of 50% active to inactive compounds in order to be sold, so there will be psychoactive properties no matter what. On average, HHC products are roughly 70% to 80% the potency of THC. At moderate doses, HHC has similar effects to THC, but is most commonly compared to Delta 8 and Delta 9 in terms of its relaxing attributes. As mentioned earlier, HHC-O is even stronger than HHC by itself and is more akin to conventional THC. HHC-O, which is just acetic anhydride added to HHC extract, is said to range anywhere from 1.5 to three times the strength of HHC on its own. To sum things up, you will get high and have psychoactive effects from Delta 8, Delta 9 (conventional THC), Delta 10, and HHC with Delta 9 being the most potent of the bunch followed by HHC-O and HHC. Delta 8 and Delta 10 are at the back of the pack.
HHC vs THC
It’s best to compare HHC vs THC since THC is the most well known of the cannabis compounds. There are many hardcore 420 enthusiasts (typically in legal states) that won’t even touch minor cannabinoids like HHC and swear by the tried and true THC and CBD combo. But there’s a growing community of both recreational and medical users who swear by HHC and HHC-O. These are just a few differences in terms of production, potency, and effects between HHC vs THC:
- THC is roughly 20% to 30% more potent than HHC.
- THC is completely natural and produced by the cannabis plant in high quantities, while HHC is synthesized from THC or CBD extract. There is no such thing as a high-HHC strain and no way to smoke HHC flower unless it has been dipped in HHC extract.
- The cerebral and body effects of HHC last much longer than THC, especially when taken in edible form.
- HHC products have more resistance to UV light and heat exposure than THC does, making it last longer and be more shelf stable. This means your HHC vape pen won’t lose potency if left in the sun at the beach or in a hot car on a summer day.
- Manufacturers and retailers of HHC and other lesser cannabinoids are not required to get their products tested for safety, purity, and potency. There are very few regulations and research done into HHC and other hemp-derived cannabinoids, whereas legal THC has been studied and processes and regulations are in place to ensure consumer safety.
- THC products must be purchased at a dispensary within a legal U.S. state, whereas HHC and other hemp-derived products like CBD can be sold online. Lesser cannabinoids fall into a legal gray area despite being produced from legal hemp plants.
- Both THC and HHC are THC isomers and will show up on drug tests for marijuana.
How does HHC make you feel?
Recreational smokers and medicinal users both enjoy the effects of HHC. The hemp-derived cannabinoid is still relatively new with significantly less regular users than traditional THC products like dabs and dry herb. Those within the HHC community say that at low to moderate levels, they feel similar effects to THC with more of a relaxed and calm feeling with reduced anxiety. This is coupled with a strong cerebral high and a sense of euphoria with a very relaxed body high. Stoners report that it’s a great choice for easing tense muscles and de-stressing. The high comes on gradually and is considered to be gentle and soothing rather than an intense and happening all of a sudden. This makes HHC a great option for novice potheads or those who want something stronger than Delta 8 or Delta 10. Due to its sedating effects, HHC is more suited for use at home, before bed, or for therapeutic purposes rather than in social situations or parties.
What are the benefits of HHC?
There is almost no scientific research into the benefits of HHC, but most users believe that it has very similar benefits to THC due to its similar chemical structure. A few of these benefits according to HHC consumers include:
- Stimulation of appetite
- Lowering depression, stress, and anxiety
- Help with insomnia and sleep issues
- Pain relief
- Muscle relaxation
Does HHC show up on drug tests?
Vaping HHC is not a work around for THC to pass a drug test. If you regularly consume HHC products, you will fail a drug test for marijuana. This is because HHC is a THC isomer, so it has a very similar chemical structure to THC, triggering a positive result. There are several types of drug tests for marijuana including saliva, blood, and hair tests, but the most common by far is a urine test. Unlike breathalyzer tests for alcohol, marijuana tests are looking for past cannabis use, not if you are currently blazed and do not give a specific count, just a positive or negative result. Consumption of Delta 8, Delta 9, Delta 10, THC-O, HHC, or HHC-O will all result in a positive drug test. Each individual’s tolerance build-up, body weight, body fat percentage, and use habits will determine how long it will take to test clean naturally. There are a few ways to speed up the marijuana detoxification process ahead of a scheduled drug test. The best thing to do is to immediately stop using all HHC and THC products and start a THC detox program with THC detox drinks and capsules, hydration, healthy eating, and exercise.
Is HHC legal to buy online?
Minor cannabinoids have grown in popularity so quickly that state and federal lawmakers are having a difficult time keeping up with regulations. Does it fall within federal marijuana mandates or state laws regarding THC products? No one seems to really know the answer. While technically legal at the federal level under the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized commercial hemp farming, HHC and Delta 8 THC are stuck in a weird legal gray area. This is because they are so chemically similar to THC. Because of this lack of regulation, hemp-derived products like HHC do not need to be sold at dispensaries and can be purchased online or at smoke shops. Always check your local and state laws before ordering HHC online since some states have put a ban on such products. For example, here at EF420, we will not ship Delta THC products to Washington, Colorado, New York, Utah, and Arizona, among others.
Is HHC safe?
As mentioned earlier, there are very few scientific studies regarding the safety of short term or long term HHC consumption. Producers and manufacturers of dry herb, cannabis concentrates, and other THC products are required by law to accurately package their items and test them using a third-party laboratory to ensure the safety, potency, and purity of the products. Reputable brands with complete transparency have their products’ test results available for consumers to view. This is not the case with hemp-derived THC. HHC products are not regulated in any way and do not need to go through rigorous testing.
We hope this HHC cannabinoid review has helped you gain some insight into what exactly HHC is, how it’s produced, its effects, and its potency compared to THC. Check out the EF420 Delta THC page for HHC vape pens, moon rocks, vape carts, edibles, blunts, and more shipped discreetly to your doorstep!