Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is a hemp-derived cannabinoid that is not as understood as Delta 9 THC but is making its way into the shelves of legal cannabis dispensaries. Nonetheless, there is not much information about the substance on the Internet, and the few published provide incomplete or contradictory information.
This article will discuss more information about the compound, how it is made, its effects on the body, its legality, and whether it occurs naturally in hemp plants. First of all, HHC is not the same as THC, but it provides a less potent THC effect. It is usually sold as vape carts, but other forms of consumption are already available, including gummies and capsules.
HHC offers a lot of potential in the medical and recreational cannabis market, and so do other hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as Delta 8 THC and Delta 10 THC. However, some state agencies continue to prohibit the use of any cannabinoid containing THC (delta eight and delta ten included). HHC is a better legal alternative because it is not a THC compound. Anecdotal evidence also points out that it may evade drug tests.
HHC is quite popular in areas where delta 8 THC is banned, but many buy it where delta 8 THC is legal. Since hemp-derived HHC does not contain any THC, it remains legal in many states. However, there are still so many questions that remain.
What is Hexahydrocannabinol?
The cannabis plant yields over 100 cannabinoids, each having various effects on the body. However, not all of these compounds are legal in the cannabis industry. Cannabinoids, such as hemp-derived CBD, are usually legal, but THC and other psychoactive compounds are not. Hence, many people turn to another psychoactive substance called HHC.
In the 1940s, Roger Adams identified and isolated CBD, creating tetrahydrocannabinol (HHC). He converted delta-nine tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to HHC by adding hydrogen molecules to the compound. This process is called hydrogenation, which is used to turn vegetable oil into margarine.
Although HHC was created around 80 years ago, we still know little about it because there is extremely little research into its effects. Nevertheless, we are aware that hydrogenation increases the shelf life of the end product immensely. We also know that at least ten different compound versions, including 7 OH-HHC and HU211.
HHC does not have any double bonds, but two extra hydrogen atoms do have. During the hydrogenation process, the double bonds in THC are broken down and replaced with hydrogen atoms. This transformation changes the compound’s chemical structure and interacts with the cannabinoid receptors.
HHC does not quickly lose its potency when exposed to direct sunlight and heat compared to THC. Because it is more resistant to degradation, it will maintain its high potency for a more extended period.
How HHC is Made
Adams created HHC from THC. However, most HHC brands make products from hemp instead of conventional cannabis-derived THC for legal reasons. Although hemp and marijuana refer to the same Cannabis Sativa plant, they differ in THC concentration. Hemp contains 0.3% or less THC, while marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC.
Manufacturing HHC starts by extracting cannabidiol (CBD) from raw hemp material. The CBD extract is further distilled to isolate the CBD and separate it from the hemp-derived THC. CBD isolate is a powdery substance often sold or processed into other products. Many manufacturers use a proprietary process to convert CBD into HHC, but it usually involves converting CBD into delta 8 THC and transforming the delta 8 THC to HHC.
The hydrogenating process involves exposing delta 8 THC to hydrogen, a metal catalyst, and high pressure, which converts delta 8 THC to HHC. If THC is legal, HHC can be manufactured directly from it. The hydrogenation process converts THC directly into HHC without any other method involved.
A study in 2007 also provides another possibility that CBD can be transformed into HHC using gastric juice. There is not enough information about this method, though. Lastly, HHC may be converted from terpene citronellol. Although there are many methods available, the outcome is the same.
Is HHC Legal?
Based on the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and its derivatives are federally legal. It remains legal if HHC is made from CBD and not from marijuana THC. Hemp-derived CBD acts as the primary source material for most HHC products today.
Hemp produces large quantities of CBD and only trace amounts of THC. Since 2018, industrial hemp has been legal to cultivate in the United States as long as it does not exceed the 0.3% THC limit stipulated under the law. HHC brands ensure that they use hemp-derived CBD to keep everything legal.
The legality of HHC is still open for debate, though. HHC may not be the same as THC, but it may be considered illegal if proven to be synthetic. While naturally-occurring cannabinoids are legal, synthetic cannabinoids are illegal. HHC does occur naturally in the hemp plant but only in trace amounts. Since manufacturers convert CBD into HHC in a lab, it is considered semi-synthetic. Nonetheless, the issue has to be settled by lawmakers in each state.
If you are not aware of your local laws on HHC, buy and use it at your own risk. As of now, HHC is technically legal based on the 2018 Farm Bill. Nonetheless, be updated with your local laws before taking new hemp-derived cannabinoids.
HHC Vs. Delta 9 THC on Potency
It is difficult to determine its exact potency because of the lack of research into HHC. The ratio of active and inactive HHC molecules differs from batch to batch. Even manufacturers acknowledge this inconsistency in their products. Although the manufacturers do their best to enhance the number of active HHC molecules in their products, they do not entirely control the outcome.
When looking at the molecular structure of HHC, it seems that it is more potent than delta eight but less potent than delta 9. We know that delta 8 is approximately half the potency of delta 9, and HHC is somewhere in between. Some experts estimate that HHC is around 80% as intoxicating as delta 9.
There is a lack of scientific data on the effects of HHC, but we can base it more on anecdotal experiences. Users who have tried HHC report similar effects to THC, such as euphoria, cognition changes, and visual and auditory perception alterations. However, it produces more of a relaxing effect identical to delta 8. Nonetheless, other users report feeling more energetic and highly focused. The outcome may differ based on various factors.
There are preliminary studies on the effects of HHC on health. For instance, in 1977, a study conducted on rats found out that HHC can act as a painkiller. In 2007, another study on mice found that HHC can prolong sleeping time by 80% to 700%. Another study found that HHC can inhibit tumour growth. There are still no studies on humans.
Aside from being a. potential painkiller, HHC may provide the following benefits:
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved sleep
- Less nausea and vomiting
- Cerebral and body high
Be wary when taking HHC as an alternative for delta 9 THC. If HHC is 80% as potent as delta 9, you have to be careful with your dose if you have a low THC tolerance. Start with a low dose of 3 to 5 mg initially and see how your mind and body react. You can increase the dose gradually if you do not achieve the desired results.
Is HHC Safe?
So far, no significant side effects have been reported from users of HHC. However, that does not mean that it is entirely safe. There are no long-term studies on the effects of HHC on the mind and body as of yet, so you have to proceed with caution when consuming it. The best practice is to start with a low dose and gauge your tolerance level. When you feel adverse effects, you have exceeded your tolerance level. Be sure to stay within your body’s limits.
Since HHC is similar to THC in terms of its intoxication effects, it follows that it may have the following side effects when taken in excess:
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Increased appetite
- Augmented anxiety and paranoia
- Elevated heart rate
HHC products are unregulated, so you have to buy only from trusted companies. Never buy from shady illicit market dealers who claim to sell premium HHC products. Also, many HHC products come in vape form or as HHC flowers. If you vape HHC cartridges or smoke HHC flowers, be cautious about your lung health.
Buy your cannabis products from reputable companies that follow strict HHC manufacturing standards. Do not risk your safety on untested sellers. Every trustworthy company should produce third-party lab results for their products. When in doubt, always look or ask for the lab reports.
Will HHC Show up on a Drug Test?
There is a possibility that HHC can elude drug tests. Many manufacturers state that HHC products will not show up positive on tests, which is a good reason for this. First of all, drug tests look for traces of a metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC in your system. Second, HHC does not metabolize into this compound. Therefore, it follows that HHC will not test positive on a test.
If HHC cannot be detected under a drug screening process, it provides an appealing opportunity to enjoy the psychoactive effects of cannabis without worrying about drug testing results. Nevertheless, you have to be careful when taking any HHC with other cannabis products. Some THC forms are usually added to edibles and may affect the outcome of a test.
How to Consume HHC
There are many ways to enjoy HHC, but vapes are the most common. However, edibles are also becoming popular in the market.
HHC vape cartridges contain HHC distillate and natural terpenes. Vaping is one of the fastest ways to deliver the cannabinoid into the system. With a few puffs of vapour, you can experience the high in just a few minutes.
Some companies coat or infuse their cannabis flower with HHC. As long as the HHC is hem-derived, you should have no problem smoking this product. The onset of effects is similar to vaping.
Edibles make the cannabis experience more delectable, and HHC gummies are the most popular. If you can buy HHC oil, you can make your edibles by infusing the oil into different foods or beverages. Be patient with edibles because it may take at least an hour or two for you to feel any significant effects from the product.
Where to Buy HHC Products
There are only a few reputable companies that sell HHC today. At Levit8, we sell high-quality HHC (HEXAHYDROCANNABINOL)products. We have a limited range of products at present, but we assure you that you will love them.
Reward yourself with a delicious treat bursting in flavour with our most potent edible as of yet. Our HHC Gummies come in various flavours, including Bananas and Cream, Mango Tango, Pineapple Express, and many other options. These treats are going to put a smile on your face.
HHC sounds brand new to many people, but it serves as a potent alternative to delta eight and 9 THC. The research on this cannabinoid may only be in its infancy, but preliminary studies are promising. Since HHC has around 80% of the potency of delta 9, expect to experience psychoactive effects stronger than delta. 8.
Firsthand users report feeling euphoric, happy, calm, and relaxed after using it. It may even have pain-killing effects. However, it may be too intense for some individuals with lower THC tolerance. If you consume more than you should, you may experience adverse side effects similar to delta 9 THC but nothing too serious.
HHC products remain legal as long as they are derived from hemp. Nevertheless, you have to be up-to-date with your state laws because the legality may suddenly change in your location. It may be illegal if made directly from marijuana-derived THC (depending on your state).
Overall, HHC is an excellent psychoactive substance that you can take as an alternative to THC. Savour it and enjoy it. Remember to buy it from a reputable company such as Levit8 to ensure potency and safety.