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What Is HHC? HHC vs THC – The Ultimate Guide

In order to compete in the diverse cannabis marketplace, the cannabis industry has looked for lesser known cannabinoids to compete with delta 8 THC, which has gained rapid success as a legal alternative to delta 9 THC, which is more controlled and available. Hexahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as HHC, is among the newest and most promising.

What is HHC?

hhc vs thc

A newly emerged cannabinoid called hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) was originally developed by Roger Adams in 1944. Through the process of hydrogenation, THC is converted to hexahydrocannabinol (HHC). The process of hydrogenation isn’t limited to the production of cannabinoids. Margarine is made from vegetable oil through a similar process.

As compared to Adams who produced HHC from cannabis-derived THC, hemp is now the main source of cannabinoid production in the United States due to the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp-derived cannabinoids. 

How is HHC Made? 

As described in a 1947 patent, hydrogenation alters the physical properties of THC by adding hydrogen to it.

During hydrogenation, two hydrogen atoms are substituted for a double bond in delta 9 THC, altering its molecular weight and making it more stable as a result. The HHC has a longer shelf life and is less prone to damage caused by UV light and heat. This is according to Mark Scialdone, a chemist and Chief Science Officer at BR Brands.

Delta-8 and delta-9 THC differ structurally in their bonding position within the carbon atom chain. Consequently, in delta 8 THC, the double bond occurs on carbon 8 in the carbon chain. In delta 9 THC, the double bond occurs on carbon 9 in the carbon chain. When hydrogen atoms are added during hydrogenation, the double bond becomes two hydrogen atoms.

Hexahydrocannabinol, as compared to tetrahydrocannabinol, has a higher stability and resistance to thermo-oxidative breakdown due to the increased stability.

How Does HHC Interact With The Body?

endocannabinoid system

As far as HHC’s potency is concerned, there is no consensus. There is, in part, a complication because, when the cannabinoid is manufactured, it contains two different kinds of HHC molecules: 9R HHC actively binds to the body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoids, whereas 9S HHC has a slightly different molecular structure and does not bind nearly as well.

“A dosage of a sufficiently high level of this chemical can produce THC-like effects”, claims Richard Sams, director of research at KCA Laboratories.

Basically, HHC appears to have similar effects on the mind and body to THC, but its potency milligram-for-milligram is less than delta-8 THC, which is about half as powerful as delta-9 THC.

Will I Get “High” From Smoking HHC?

It is pertinent to note that HHC is not a THC. However, it has similar effects to THC, including feelings of euphoria, feelings of happiness, increased energy, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, altered perceptions of sight and sound. Some users describe the effects of HHC as relaxing rather than stimulating, similar to delta 8.

Overall, the euphoric effect of HHC is similar to that of THC. Everyone will experience it differently. The high lasts approximately two to three hours depending on a variety of factors. There are several factors to consider, including how much HHC is taken, how it is processed by the body, and how often it is used in conjunction with other medications.

Smoking HHC can lead to the following beneficial effects:

  • Stress relief
  • Possible pain relief
  • Enhances appetite
  • Improved sleep quality

In addition to its positive side effects, HHC can also produce some negative ones, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Irritated eyes
  • Having trouble remembering short-term events
  • An irregular heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Hallucinations

Here’s The Latest Research on HHC – The Facts

A 1977 study on rats found that HHC had similarities to narcotic painkillers, but also showed some notable differences. 

Researchers found that HU211 and HU243 extended sleep time by 80% to 700% in mice when tested in 2007. The compound had less powerful therapeutic effects than delta-9-THC when tested on mice. 

The LYR-7 and LYR-8 HHC analogs are also examined in a 2011 study. HHC’s may be able to inhibit or stop the growth of tumor cells and angiogenesis, a major stage in tumor formation. Generally, aside from the benefits highlighted in the limited studies carried out, there is no evidence to support other benefits manufacturers claim HHC has. A 2010 study found that these compounds manifested for longer periods of time in rats

Additionally, HHC is believed to enhance euphoria, promote relaxation, reduce nausea and vomiting, and improve sleep.

HHC vs Delta 8 THC – A Quick Comparison

hhc vs delta 8 thc

The hydrogen molecule in HHC differs from the hydrogen molecule in THC, from a chemical perspective. There is no question that HHC has less psychoactive effects than delta-9 THC, which is common knowledge among consumers and scientists alike.

Double bond absent in its carbon chainDouble bond present on eighth carbon
More intoxicatingLess intoxicating

Check out our cannabinoid comparison guide comparing HHC vs Delta 8 if you want to dive deeper into the comparison.

And The Survey Says: Some Users Prefer HHC Vs Delta 9 THC

For those who seek long-lasting relief from their symptoms, HHC is a better choice compared with THC. HHC’s effects can last up to 12 hours, whereas THC’s only last for a few hours.

There is, however, the possibility that each individual will experience HHC’s effects for a different amount of time.

As a result of consuming HHC, you receive a high similar to THC, but with a relaxed feel. The effects of HHC can vary depending on how much is consumed. This makes it an ideal blend for those looking to feel euphoric. For example, a small dose may only result in mild relaxation, whereas a large dose can result in sleepiness.

Is HHC Legal?

A provision in the 2018 Farm Bill allows hemp plants and their derivatives to be legally grown and harvested. This is so long as delta 9 THC levels are below 0.3 percent.

Commercial hemp-derived cannabinoids are hydrogenated under pressure with a palladium catalyst in order to produce HHC, even though it can be found naturally in cannabis plants. According to scientists at the National Cannabis Industry Association, the result is a cannabis compound that is semi-synthetic.

Under the Farm Bill hemp definition, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that delta 8 THC is permissible. In addition, other compounds and derivatives of hemp are also legal if they do not exceed 0.3 percent delta 9 THC. As a result, HHC (and delta 8 and delta 10 THC, THC-O and THCP) seem to be legal hemp products, although some attorneys note that other courts may decide differently.

Individual states might still ban HHC if it gets popular enough to threaten sales in the legal cannabis market, like delta 8 THC did. It is wise to do your own research before confirming the legal status of HHC in your pertaining state. 

Where Can I Buy This Cannabinoid?

You can buy it at gas stations, convenience stores, weed and vape shops, and online in gummies, candies, vaping pens, oils, tinctures, edibles, joints, and beverages. It is easy to mistake these products for CBD products and they are sometimes blended with other cannabinoids like Delta 8 or Delta 10. They also have no quality control. If you are looking for a reliable product, we recommend checking out our HHC Carts.

Will I Test Positive For THC?

HHC does not metabolize into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is the breakdown substance many drug panels test for, like the delta 8, delta 9, and delta 10 forms of THC.

The same cannot be said for HHC. Thus, if your employer tests for drugs, we suggest that you don’t use HHC if you are worried about losing your job.


HHC, or any under-researched cannabinoid, offers us something novel from time to time, but please exercise caution when using it. It will be interesting to see if HHC proves to be the long-lasting cannabinoid we’ve all been searching for. Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Hydrogenated THC is referred to as HHC.
  2. HHC produces similar effects and potency as THC.
  3. THC does not have the same shelf-life as HHC.
  4. Heat and UV exposure do not damage HHC as much as THC does.
  5. There is limited research on the safety of HHC, but there is no evidence that it is more dangerous than THC.
  6. Several studies have shown that HHC does not show up on standard THC drug tests, but this has not been verified.

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