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What is HHC?

As the legal use of cannabis products grows in the United States and the world over, consumers are increasingly becoming curious about their options. And although THC and CBD are the two compounds getting the most attention, HHC is slowly becoming a consumers’ favorite.

If you’ve interacted with HHC, you may already know it as one of the elements that cause the high effect in weed. But there is more to this compound than you can ever imagine. This post discusses everything you need to know about HHC, including what it is, its benefits, its effects, how it compares to THC, and more. Feel free to jump ahead!

HHC explained

First created in 1944 by Roger Adams, an American chemist, hexahydrocannabinol, or simply HHC is the compound you get by adding hydrogen molecules to Delta-9 THC. The process is known as hydrogenation, and it increases this product’s shelf life.

For better understanding, you can think of HHC as a THC without double bonds in its chemical structure. Today, the compound is extracted from raw hemp – a low-THC cannabis plant made legal by the U.S. Congress in 2018 (under the Farm Bill).

Is HHC synthetic or natural?

Based on where it is sourced and how it’s created, HHC can be both semi-synthetic and natural. It’s natural because it appears naturally in small quantities. You’ll find small concentrations of the compound along with delta-10 THC and delta-8 THC when THC oxidizes into CBN.

But since the concentration of HHC in cannabis is so small, no procedures can make it naturally. And this is where the hydrogenation of THC comes in. It involves chemically saturating THC with hydrogen atoms and exposing it to zinc or nickel catalyst, converting it to HHC. This process means that HHC is semi-synthetic.

What are the effects of HHC?

The effects of HHC are very similar to those of THC. Like THC, HHC has a high effect, but with the sedating and relaxing qualities of delta-8.

It triggers the feeling of stimulation and euphoria, changes the body temperature and heart rate, and alters the auditory and visual perception. This compound is less potent than delta-9 but more potent than delta-8.

It’s estimated that HHC is 70-80% the strength of THC. This means that high doses of this compound can cause intense and possibly uncomfortable effects of high.

Benefits of HHC?

HHC is generally regarded as the superior form of THC – and for a good reason. In addition to being resistant to UV light and heat, HHC has a longer shelf life, thanks to the hydrogenation process.

Below are other benefits of HHC:

  • May reduce inflammation
  • It can be used to manage chronic pain
  • It can be used to alleviate vomiting or nausea
  • May help in alleviating anxiety
  • It can promote deeper, more relaxing sleep

Now, we can all agree that HHC is beneficial to individuals, but is it legal? Let’s see below.

Is HHC legal?

HHC is not considered illegal in the United States. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, the HHC is considered legal if it contains no more than 0.3% THC and is derived naturally. However, although not yet listed, HHC obtained through hydrogenation could be deemed illegal under the Federal Analog Act.

Is HHC safe?

There have not been any safety studies conducted to identify the safety of HHC. This means that any information available regarding the safety of this cannabinoid compound is speculative.

However, there has not been any report of severe side effects, overdose, or death due to HHC use. But the compound has been found to have several mild side effects, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Dry mouth
  • Faster heart rate
  • Red eyes
  • Increased hunger levels
  • Dizziness and confusion

HHC vs. THC: What’s the difference?

Structure-wise, THC, and HHC are almost identical. But, unlike HHC, THC has one double bond in its top ring structure. Also, unlike THC, HHC has two more hydrogenated carbon.

The extra hydrogenated carbon in HHC makes it more stable and immune to heat and UV. This is different for the cannabinoid THC.

HHC vs. CBN: What’s the difference?

Although CBN and HHC are both the result of THC decomposition and degradation, they are the complete opposite of each other. HHC is THC whose double bonds have been replaced by hydrogen atoms, whereas CBN has two additional double bonds on its structure.

Does HHC show on a drug test?

And now we come across perhaps one of the thorniest questions of all: does HHC show on a drug test? Well, the answer to this question is still unclear. While some research has indicated that this compound is undetectable through drug tests, other researchers have stated otherwise.

Essentially, drug tests are used to detect THC-COOH – a metabolite of the THC compound formed in the human body after the consumption of THC. Research shows that HHC metabolizes into 8beta-hydroxy-HHC and 8alpha-hydroxy-HHC, which are similar to THC-COOH. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the HHC drug test will return positive.

Also, HHC products are believed to carry leftover or residual THC after hydrogenation. If this quantity of THC is enough to amount to 50 nanograms per milliliter of THC-COOH, the chances are that you’ll fail your drug test.

Thus, if you have something whose hope hangs on the drug test, it’s recommended that you stay away from HHC and its products. 

Where can I buy HHC?

Finding HHC products is difficult, mainly because it is still new in the cannabinoid market. However, many firms are interested in selling the products, mainly because it’s potentially undetectable in drug tests.

The bottom line

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is undoubtedly taking over the cannabinoid world. Its ability to withstand heat and UV light and last longer makes it one of consumers’ favorite. Even better, this compound is potentially undetectable in drug tests and has been speculated to ease pain, anxiety, insomnia, inflammation, etc.

This post provides you with everything you need to know about HHC, including what it is, its benefits, where it’s legal, safe, and how it compares to other cannabinoid products. Good luck as you purpose to use it!

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