Hemp-derived cannabinoids are everywhere now and many buyers are keen on those with psychotropic properties. While delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is undoubtedly the most popular, hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) has also recently made a name for itself. But what is HHC and how does it make you feel?
Throughout this article, we’re going to give you an in-depth look at HHC’s effects and how it compares to the likes of delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC.
What is HHC THC?
Simply put, hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is an analog for THC. In other words, it’s another variety of THC that has similar molecular structures, similar to delta-8 THC. In turn, users can expect to feel similar effects among THC analogs.
While HHC is naturally found in the cannabis plant, there’s not enough to produce a usable concentration. Therefore, in order to develop HHC products, a complex process is required.
As a hydrogenated form of THC, HHC is obtained through hydrogenation. This is when manufacturers add hydrogen atoms to a chemical structure in order to stabilize it. In terms of HHC, you can use nickel or palladium and high pressure as a catalyst.
This process allows THC’s double bond chemical structure to break down and be replaced with hydrogen. In turn, you’re also preserving the potency and effects of the cannabinoid. Still, it’s not 100% as potent as THC – with some estimates suggesting HHC is 70% to 80% as potent.
Since HHC has no double bonds like THC, it’s chemically different. Still, it provides users with a similar effect due to the fact that it binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
It also maintains its potency for a longer period of time. Most notably, it won’t degrade from environmental factors, such as light, heat, or air.
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Research concerning HHC is even more limited than that of cannabidiol (CBD) and THC. Therefore, we only know so much about its effects.
What we do know is most users report a similar experience to that of delta-9 THC in the sense that it provides psychoactivity. However, the effects are likely more similar to that of delta-8 THC in the sense that it’s a smoother, less intense high. With that in mind, HHC may reduce anxiety and pain while also providing you with euphoria and sedation.
Still, much of the effects are dependent on dosing. Since HHC changes our auditory and visual perception, it’s similar to delta-9 at high doses (more than 20mg). But at lower doses, it’s likely to have a more calming effect like delta-8.
To give you a better idea of HHC’s effects, here is a comparison chart of HHC vs delta-8 vs delta-9:
Less than 0.1%
Less than 1%
Up to 30%
10mg - 30mg
10mg - 40mg
5mg - 20mg
More than 5 years
3 to 5 years
1 to 3 years
More so, HHC is often described as having more of a “body high” than both delta-8 and -9. Therefore, you may experience more positive effects in terms of benefits in this region, such as appetitive stimulation, sleep promotion, and pain alleviation. Still, some users prefer a “head high” in comparison, and in turn, have a bad experience with HHC.
Not to mention, the effects of HHC tend to last longer than other forms of THC. Inhaling HHC (typically through a vape pen) can last up to 3 to 4 hours, whereas delta-8 or -9 usually only last 1 to 2 hours. The same is true for HHC edibles and other digestible products (such as tinctures).
Some users prefer the longer-lasting highs and therefore, prefer an HHC product to other forms of THC. However, if you’re looking for a milder high, you’ll likely prefer delta-8 THC products. And if you’re looking for a more intense, but shorter-lasting high, delta-9 is your best option.
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If you’re looking for high-quality HHC edibles, Delta Extrax has you covered with its large selection of THC analog products.
Another THC analog that’s garnered some notoriety is THC-O (sometimes referred to as THC-O-acetate). Unlike HHC, THC-O does not naturally occur in the cannabis plant and can only be obtained through a complex chemical process. However, it provides users with one of the highest potencies of a THC analog currently available. In other words, if you’re looking for a “far-out” high, THC-O is the way to go.
Still, some users prefer a milder, longer-lasting high. In such cases, HHC is preferable as its psychoactive effects are somewhere between delta-8 and delta-9 THC.
HHC Safety & Side Effects
While the effects of HHC vs THC products are different, both produce psychoactivity. Therefore, users must be aware that they will experience a high if they purchase an HHC product. Under such circumstances, you should never operate a motor vehicle and only consume such products in the privacy of your own home.
But is HHC safe overall? It’s difficult to say as there’s only so much research looking into the cannabinoid. What we know about its safety is mostly from speculation, but it’s safe to say that the risks of HHC are similar to other THC analogs.
In the long term, HHC may obscure brain development, cognitive function, and increase feelings of anxiety and depression, similar to THC.
Is HHC Legal?
The legal status of HHC is currently in a legal gray area. While it’s federally legal to sell due to the 2018 Farm Bill, many U.S. States have recognized its psychoactive and synthetic properties. Concerned with customer safety, there’s been debates over the legality of HHC and whether or not to associate it with other hemp-derived cannabinoids.
As of this time, a cannabis product is only considered a federal substance if it contains more than 0.3% delta-9 THC. Therefore, HHC and delta-8 THC products are technically legal.
Still, there’s a lot of confusion, both among buyers and lawmakers. While there are no laws forbidding you from buying HHC online, it is possible for you to run into legal troubles if you consume it improperly (i.e. in a public space). In order to ensure safety and legality, we only recommend using HHC in a private location while also avoiding the use of a motor vehicle.
Where to Buy HHC?
Since HHC was only recently discovered, there aren’t too many products available on the market. Still, hemp manufacturers (notably, those involved in the CBD industry) are racing to get high-quality HHC products out there for consumers.
However, buyers should be aware that there are no testing protocols for HHC. With CBD, delta-9, and even delta-8, a reputable brand will provide a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) in order to ensure the safety and quality of a product. Without established protocols, it’s currently impossible to properly test an HHC product in such a manner.
Still, brands like Diamond CBD and Delta Extrax are making an effort to provide users with lab results. These test for the cannabinoid profile of a product and whether or not it contains any contaminants. For this reason, we only recommend purchasing from brands that offer lab reports.
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If you’re looking for a brand that offers CoAs on all its HHC products, look no further than Exhale Wellness. Another plus is they’re one of the few brands that offer HHC flower, pre-rolls, and cigarettes.
Beyond its long-lasting shelf life, many vendors are advertising HHC as a cannabis product that will not appear on a drug test. More specifically, a standard 12-panel drug test is likely not going to pick up HHC simply because it’s not looking for the cannabinoid.
While this is an intriguing claim, we cannot confirm these rumors. As of this time, there is no evidence to suggest HHC won’t appear on a drug test. If you are expecting to take a drug test, we recommend avoiding HHC altogether.
The discovery of new cannabinoids is always exciting and many brands out there are already jumping on HHC’s excitement. While there are a number of high-quality HHC products currently available, it’s likely we’ll find a number of low-quality products hit store shelves. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of HHC, how it’s supposed to make you feel, and to always check for CoAs.
You may find HHC is the perfect high you were always looking for – not too intense, but much longer-lasting. This is a great option for those who found delta-8 to be too mild and delta-9 to be intense, as HHC falls somewhere in between. Still, be sure only to take the recommended HHC dose (as labeled on the product) and only use it when you have the time to experience psychoactivity.
Paul James is a seasoned cannabis and CBD writer and expert. He is a mental health blogger who advocates CBD as a natural alternative to prescription medications. You can read more about this and other natural alternatives on his blog: https://bedlamite.co/."
HHC Frequently Asked Questions
In terms of delta-8 and delta-9 THC, HHC’s effects fall somewhere in the middle. It’s stronger than delta-8 THC but milder than delta-9 THC.
HHC provides users with psychoactivity (a “high”) very similar to that of delta-8 and delta-9 THC. In larger doses, you’ll likely feel euphoria and sedation – whereas, in smaller doses, it may provide calming effects. Overall, anecdotal reports claim HHC provides users with a “body high” similar to indica cannabis.
No! While both are naturally-occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, there are a number of differences between the two chemical molecules. Most notably, HHC will cause psychoactivity whereas CBD will not get users high.