What is HHC?

What is HHC?

Googling the cannabinoid, HHC, brings up a host of contradictory information: it’s effects on the body, about it’s legality and even whether it occurs naturally in the cannabis plant.

HHC is a cannabinoid that is naturally found in the pollen and seeds of the hemp plant. HHC is not a THC, although it may have similar effects. HHC is non-synthetic, which makes it a perfectly federally legal hemp extraction.

What are the Effects of HHC?

There is a lack of consensus around HHC’s potency. The complication arises, in part, from the fact that when the cannabinoid is manufactured, the end result is a mixture of two different kinds of HHC molecules:  9R HHC actively binds to the body’s natural endocannabinoid receptors, while 9S HHC, because of its slightly different molecular structure, doesn’t do so nearly as well.

With a sufficient dose, HHC effects are very very similar to THC, but HHC does have differences. Some people claim it gives them the same euphoric feeling, pain-fighting, and anti nausea/vomiting effects that THC does. Some just enjoy the Buzz 🙂

In other words, HHC can have THC-like effects on the body and mind, but HHC is less potent, milligram-per-milligram, than delta-8 THC. Delta-8 THC is itself generally regarded as about half as potent as the standard delta-9 THC.

It produces feelings of euphoria and stimulation, altered visual and auditory perception, changes in heart rate and body temperature, and altered headspace and cognition.

Many users report the effects of HHC are similar to that of delta 8 THC in terms of being more heavily weighted towards relaxation than stimulation. HHC is more potent than delta 8 but slightly less potent than delta 9 THC.

HHC is still very new, so there aren’t many studies available to evaluate its potential therapeutic effects — but so far, it seems this cannabinoid offers most of the same therapeutic effect profile as other forms of THC. There’s even been some animal testing that showed beta-HHC possesses notable painkilling effects when tested on rats [2].

The potential benefits of HHC include:

  • May help manage chronic pain
  • May reduce inflammation
  • May promote deeper, more restorative sleep
  • May alleviate nausea or vomiting
  • May alleviate anxiety (may also increase anxiousness)

The real benefit of this cannabinoid comes from its impressive shelf-life, more so than its physical effects. It offers very similar benefits to THC but comes in a much more stable form.

What makes hexahydrocannabinol different than THC?

HHC has shown to have an extremely high binding affinity for CB1 and CB2 Cannabinoid receptors in your body, and it is a potent cannabinoid in vitro and in vivo. 

HHC has three chiral centers, meaning it has three different forms of it. These forms are called enantiomers, and they are essentially mirror images of each other. The three enantiomers of HHC have different effects on the body, depending on which chiral center they bind to. 

  • The first chiral center is C1. If HHC binds to this chiral center, it will activate the CB1 receptor.
  • The second chiral center is C2. If HHC binds to this chiral center, it will activate the CB2 receptor.
  • The third chiral center is C3. If HHC binds to this chiral center, it will not activate either the CB1 or CB2 receptor.

The differences between the three enantiomers of HHC are important because they show that HHC can bind to two different receptors (CB1 and CB2), but it can only activate one of them (CB1). This means that HHC can potentially treat two conditions at once: a condition related to the immune system and a condition related to the CNS and cardiometabolic disorders. 

How is HHC Made?

Delta 9 THC is the most abundant form of THC in the cannabis plant, by far. This goes for both hemp and marijuana strains.

As delta 9 THC breaks down, most of it is converted to CBN, while a very small concentration is converted to delta 8 THC, delta 10 THC, or HHC.

Because of how abundant delta 9 THC is in the plant, it can be extracted and concentrated without any additional effort.

All of the other forms of THC are present in concentrations too low for this method to be feasible. Companies would need to extract massive quantities of marijuana to obtain any meaningful supply of this compound.

Instead, companies make HHC and other forms of tetrahydrocannabinols through isomerization or hydrogenation processes. Delta 8 and delta 10 are made through the isomerization of CBD, while HHC is made through a hydrogenation process involving THC that’s either converted from CBD or extracted in its natural form. HHC can also be made from the terpene citronellol.

It’s a many-step process. First, CBD is extracted from raw hemp, distilled and isolated in a powder form. From there, things get a little more complicated. Manufacturing is a proprietary process that takes place inside a chemical reactor.  May have a plastic taste depending on the process.

Is hexahydrocannabinol Legal?

Yes, it is! Since HHC is not only a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in hemp, it’s not a THC type like Delta-8. This means that HHC vapes, gummies, or edibles are perfectly legal on the federal level and will most likely remain legal on the state level as well.

Will HHC get you high?

HHC carries most, if not all benefits of CBD, but also introduces the “high” euphoric feeling which can be hugely beneficial for many users.

Is HHC Safe?

Like any of the new hemp-derived cannabinoids, there is no standard dose and little to no research on the immediate or long-term effects of HHC ingestion. 

There have never been any safety studies for HHC to date — so any information currently available regarding the safety of this compound is speculative.

With that said, the popularity of HHC is on the rise, and there have already been a lot of people using it on a daily basis. There has not yet been any reports of severe side effects. Preliminary research suggests it shares a comparable safety profile to THC.

There are some side effects that have been reported. These effects are similar to the side effects experienced with high-dose THC:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dizziness & confusion
  • Increased hunger levels
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Paranoia
  • Reactions may vary.

Will HHC Show Up On a Drug Test?

One of the main selling points used to market this compound is that it doesn’t register on conventional 12-panel drug tests. This has a lot of people interested because the other THC alternatives, such as delta 8 and delta 10 THC, will both contribute to a failure on urine or blood tests for THC.

Whether HHC can truly avoid drug tests or not is still up for debate. There’s some indication this compound doesn’t metabolize into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is the primary metabolite of THC drug tests can detect.

This is only a theory and has not yet been tested to prove whether it’s true or not. So caution if you are being drug tested, this is not the time to experiment.

Where Can I Buy HHC?

Be careful where you buy HHC. There are a lot of scam companies that release new cannabinoid products early to take advantage of the lack of competition. They’re able to enter this realm so early because the product contains little to none of the actual cannabinoid at all. Most of the time, they’re complete scams with products that could contain any number of unknown and potentially harmful chemicals.

Currently, there are no good, reputable sources of HHC. There are a lot of companies interested in selling this cannabinoid — especially because of its alleged ability to avoid detection on standard THC tests (unconfirmed).

Unfortunately, the safety profile of this cannabinoid is still unconfirmed, and the standardization for testing is still being developed. This makes it much more difficult to produce this cannabinoid safely.

A company called Colorado Chromatography is currently responsible for all the HHC supply. The company recently applied for a patent on their process for making HHC, but they have refused to offer any information on this until they’re granted patent approval (fair enough).

At the moment, HHC is not readily available. However, we expect to see this cannabinoid enter the market at full speed within the next 12 to 24 months.