Cannabinoid Basic Understanding
Continually making their way to headlines worldwide, THC and CBD are the frontrunners in cannabinoid popularity. Most everyone who is familiar with the cannabis industry has heard of these two potent cannabinoids, each naturally occurring within hemp plants. For those seeking euphoric and psychoactive effects, THC is the go-to, tried and true compound. Others may desire little psychoactive effects, and prefer the anti-inflammatory and many other medicinal properties associated with CBD.
When it comes to the other cannabinoids, there are a variety of both synthetic and naturally occurring hemp-based chemical compounds that are being researched and discovered every day. In fact, there are now known to be nearly 100 of these compounds that have a wide range of effects on the human body.
Along with the nervous system, digestive system, muscular system, skeletal system, and many others, our bodies also contain what is known as the endocannabinoid system. This consists of a series of receptors that react to the plethora of available chemicals contained within the cannabis plant. For whatever reason, we are set up to interact with these precise cannabinoids, many of which have positive effects on humans, whether mental, emotional, or physical.
When it comes to cannabinoids, over the past several years many have been overshadowed by the commonly known THC and CBD. However, science is pointing to many potential new uses of the lesser-known compounds, and information is becoming increasingly available on the benefits that come with other cannabinoid use.
One of these somewhat newly discovered cannabinoids, hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is beginning to gain some headway in popularity. HHC is what is called a “hydrogenated” form of THC. This basically means that the THC compound has been saturated with hydrogen molecules, substantially extending its shelf life.
Though HHC is found naturally within the cannabis plant, it really only exists in trace amounts. By recreating this hydrogenating process, hexahydrocannabinol can also be produced in laboratories. In actuality, for this compound to become widely available, it must be manmade in order to produce large enough quantities for the masses.
Since the molecule’s shape and geometry is changed in this hydrogenation process, HHC’s binding affinity to endocannabinoid receptors and pain receptors within the body is increased substantially. Its saturated chemical structure also protects HHC from oxidation and breakdown, giving it a longer amount of time in which it stays potent and usable than other cannabinoids, namely THC. As THC is exposed to light and UV rays, it loses hydrogen atoms and ultimately becomes a far less potent cannabinoid known as CBN.
The excitement surrounding HHC is due to its long-term strength and shelf life. Improper storage has been known to break down other cannabinoids into compounds that are far less potent and in turn, less beneficial to the end user.
Comparison to Other Cannabinoids
When it comes to euphoria, altered perception, and other psychoactive effects, HHC has so far proven to be very similar to THC. To be even more specific, consumers have reported in anecdotal cases that HHC is closest to Delta 8 THC in that it is geared towards sedation rather than stimulation. This has been referred to as a “body buzz” within the community.
In terms of potency, HHC seems to carry more potent effects than Delta 8, though it is somewhat less potent than Delta 9 THC. Some users are more comfortable with slightly lesser psychoactive effects, in which case HHC is a great candidate.
Though studies are still fairly limited, so far research points to its mental effects being comparable to THC. However, HHC takes the cake when it comes to stability and long-term storage.
A great number of consumers are in search of pain relief when turning to cannabinoids. Animal studies with HHC have so far shown to be effective in this realm, as well. Inflammation is considered one cause of chronic pain, which is what CBD has been shown to treat. When compared to CBD, HHC also tends to reduce inflammation and in turn relieve chronic pain. Also, similarly to CBD, hexahydrocannabinol tends to promote deep, rejuvenating sleep and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Nausea and vomiting can be side effects of many diseases, including cancer. Patients with these types of issues can try relieving these symptoms with HHC. Suppressing feelings commonly associated with severe illness can be genuinely life changing for some users.
It is important to note that THC-O acetate and THCP are the most potent of the currently known cannabinoids. Though it is far more potent than THCC and THCV, and somewhat more potent than Delta 8 THC, HHC does not deliver nearly the strength of psychoactive effects that can be had with THC-O and THCP.
Though research is still underway, there have been many consumers ingesting HHC on a daily basis, and therefore there is some anecdotal evidence available. Side effects are thus far noted to be similar to those of THC overconsumption. Commonly known side effects are not severe, though they can cause a bit of discomfort.
Physically, unwanted side effects can occur in the form of dry mouth, dry eyes, and increased heart rate. Mentally, this could lead to paranoia, anxiety, insomnia, and confusion. Drastic increase in appetite can be a negative side effect to some, though others may find this as a benefit if their hunger for food is typically suppressed as a symptom of serious illness or disease.
Legalities and Drug Tests
Again, there is limited information and data available as testing HHC still has a long way to go. In fact, many current findings have been discovered through animal testing, which itself has a controversial background. However, due to its similarity to the structure of THC, it is a speculatively safe compound for consumption.
HHC does fall into the same grey area of the law as many of its other cannabinoid counterparts. If it is deemed naturally occurring, then it must be both derived from industrial hemp plants containing less than .3% THC, and the final product itself must also possess less than .3% of THC. If this can be accomplished, then HHC will in fact be considered federally legal.
One caveat to this is that if HHC is deemed synthetic, that will surely classify it as a federally illegal substance. Though states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana may still allow retailers to offer products containing HHC, it will still unfortunately be considered federally illegal and its purchase or consumption may come with repercussions.
Regarding drug tests, HHC has thus far shown not to register on common 12 panel tests. This is a sharp contrast to Delta 9 and Delta 10 THC, both of which are detectable on these typical drug test results.
It is extremely important to note that this is still just theory, has not yet been proven or standardized, and should not be taken lightly. When it comes to legality and drug tests, there is still risk involved with HHC.
Where to purchase?
There are a handful of companies willing to take the risk and begin selling HHC before the laws surrounding its sale or use are clearly established. They can be found with a simple internet search. However, it is highly recommended that consumers do extensive research not only on their individual jurisdiction’s cannabis laws, but on the credibility of the company from which they are considering making a purchase.
As of yet, there is only one American company, based in Colorado, that supplies all HHC to retailers. They are awaiting patent approval before providing the general public with details regarding HHC production.
Until then, cannabis enthusiasts can continue their own research, and keep up the excitement over this potentially beneficial new cannabinoid. Individuals who decide to ingest HHC are urged to document their experiences for the good of the cannabis community.