HHC 101: Everything you need to know about HHC

Of all the novel hemp-derived cannabinoids to appear on the market recently, HHC is probably one of the most popular. Perhaps one of the main reasons for it’s popularity is simply because it’s not another form of THC.

So, as it’s not THC, can HHC get you high? Is it safe, legal and does HHC show up on a drug test? Today I’m going to answer all of your questions about HHC and then tell you what to expect when it comes to HHC effects, having experimented with it myself on a number of occasions.

What is the HHC cannabinoid?

HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol, is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid that can cause similar intoxicating effects to Delta 9 THC, despite not actually being a form of THC. Unlike Delta 8, 9, or 10 THC, HHC has no double bond in its chemical structure, but two hydrogenated molecules instead.

Because of the different molecular structure, HHC has a slightly weaker binding affinity with our CB1 receptors than THC. It’s this binding to the cannabinoid receptors in our brain that makes us feel intoxicated when we consume THC, so a weaker binding affinity is typically associated with a weaker or less potent ability to intoxicate.

View our top #5 list of HHC carts

HHC Hexahydrocannabinol structure
HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) molecular structure

How is HHC made?

HHC is a rare cannabinoid that is made in nature when THC in cannabis or hemp flowers breaks down into CBN. To sell HHC as a hemp-derivative (federally legal), it is made in the lab by converting CBD into Delta 8 THC and then hydrogenating it by using high pressure, hydrogen atoms, and a catalyst containing inert metals.

In the production of HHC, there is usually around a 50/50 mix of diastereomers, meaning that, although all of the molecules produced have the same molecular formula, around half of them occupy a slightly different three-dimensional space (same-same-but-different).

Preliminary research suggests that they both have great therapeutic potential, but (allegedly) one of them is more psychoactive than the other. This may explain why different HHC products can affect you differently, with some feeling more energetic and others feeling more other-worldly.

What is HHC-O?

HHC-O is an acetate ester of HHC that is estimated to be 1.5X as potent as HHC, with similar effects and benefits to THC. Unlike HHC, however, HHC-O cannot be found naturally occurring in cannabis or hemp plants and must be created in a lab.

Read about my experience with THC-O

Can HHC show up on a drug test?

Drug tests are designed to recognize the chemical compounds 11-hydroxy-THC and THC-COOH, which can be found in your body after consuming THC. Animal tests have established that when HHC is metabolized, it breaks down into 8alpha-hydroxy-HHC and 8beta-hydroxy-HHC, which are both similar to THC-COOH.

Many retailers of HHC claim that the compound won’t show up on regular drug tests, and there is no HHC drug test currently. However, there is a growing amount of anecdotal evidence to say quite the opposite, and it appears that small amounts of HHC may also metabolize into 11-hydroxy-THC, just like regular THC.

HHC’s legal status is somewhat murky to say the least. It is claimed that hemp-derived HHC is federally legal due to the 2018 Farm Bill, but if the compound is deemed to be an analog to THC, due to it having similar effects, then that would make it illegal under the Federal Analog Act of 1986.

Take a look at the 2018 farm bill

View the Federal Analog Act of 1986

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Is HHC Safe?

There haven’t been any studies into the safety profile of HHC, but there’s also no reason to think it’s any more harmful than the compound that came before it, which in this case is THC. There have been no adverse effects, illness, or deaths recorded and HHC is also not addictive.

The process of converting THC to HHC, hydrogenation, is a commonly used process in products we consume on a daily basis. For example, margarine is made by hydrogenating vegetable oil.

However, the transformation process does require some serious science-ing and it’s imperative that the final product is tested for heavy metals (beyond the usual four) to ensure that there is no heavy metal residue left behind.

Cannabis testing labs need to be set up to test for different kinds of white metals to properly test the purity of HHC, including palladium, platinum, and raney nickel, to name just a few.

The HHC experience

After I educated myself with where HHC came from, how it was made, and if it was “legally” available in my state, I also tried it. After all, this is the funnest part of the research, right?

How does HHC feel?

Of all the novel cannabinoids to come out over the last couple of years, the HHC cannabinoid effects feel more like Delta 9 THC to me (bar THC-P and maybe Delta 10 THC), but without any anxiety or negative, dark thoughts. It goes without saying that I’m thrilled to have access to this compound!

I’ve chatted to a lot of friends about the different Deltas and we all agree that there seems to be something missing, when you compare them to Mother Nature’s OG (Delta 9). They can be relaxing, fun, and euphoric, but it’s almost as if they feel synthetic.

HHC, on the other hand, feels warmer, more pleasing and agreeable. It’s super relaxing in the body, induces tons of happy, positive thoughts, with medium levels of euphoria. 

I feel like it doesn’t last as long as a regular D9 high does, but maybe that’s because I never want it to end(!). However, I’ve heard that mixing HHC with CBD and other ‘noids does wonders for lengthening its effects.

HHC Gummies

Is HHC stronger than Delta 8?

For me, HHC feels a lot stronger than Delta 8. If I had to estimate the potency of HHC vs delta 8, out of ten, I’d say that Delta 8 is the weakest, with a 6 out of 10. Then, HCC would come in at number 8 and Delta 9 THC would retain its crown of “most intoxicating cannabinoid” with 10/10.

What HHC products are available?

So far, I’ve come across HHC gummies, oils, and HHC vape carts, but I have yet to see HHC weed or HHC hemp flower that you can smoke. You can also buy HHC in concentrated form, meaning you could also make your own cannabinoid blends and edibles with it.

I’d recommend getting the HHC products from Binoid CBD. They have clean, high quality HHC gummies, vapes and tinctures that you can trust. If you buy from them you can use my coupon code LIFE20 to get 20% off on your order

View our top 5 list of HHC carts

The final word

If you compare HHC vs THC, and delta 9 THC is our benchmark with a perfect 10, then I’d give HHC a fun and flirty eight out of 10. It’s slightly less potent, the effects wear off a little faster, and I also saw one user on Reddit mention that you don’t get munchies half as bad, which I also agree with.

I haven’t used HHC for pain but in my research I found that a lot of HHC users find it works really well for pain relief. Many HHC users also claim that it provides even better pain relief than the deltas, as well as more euphoria and less anxiety.

It’s likely that different people respond to cannabinoids in different ways, so if you’re intrigued by HHC, then I’d definitely recommend giving it a go, as it’s the only way you’ll know exactly what it can do for you.

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