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CBD and THC are the most popular cannabinoids in the cannabis industry, but there’s more to weed than the famous two.


Aside from those, cannabis plants produce over 150 cannabinoids, some present in such trace amounts that you don’t even know they’re there. 


One such cannabinoid is hexahydrocannabinol, or HHC for short, and it has recently garnered much attention. But what is HHC? Does it provide any benefits?


Let’s find out.

What is Hexahydrocannabinol?


HHC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in cannabis plants. HHC occurs in tiny amounts, so the one found in consumer products is semi-synthetic; part of it is a product of a lab procedure.


This production process involves isolating HHC molecules from the cannabis plant and combining them with a catalyst to form a new compound.


Hexahydrocannabinol was first created in 1944 by Roger Adams, an American organic chemist at the University of Illinois when he added hydrogen molecules to delta-9 THC in a process known as hydrogenation. This chemical process converts THC to HHC.


HHC is popular because of its ambiguous legal status. In addition, it has effects that feel like THC’s, but it’s not THC and should legally not be treated as such.

How is HHC Made?


Scientists get most of today’s HHC from cannabis. They extract CBD from cannabis, then distill and isolate it down to powder form, after which they conduct chemical processes that produce HHC.


what is HHC

The hydrogenation process discovered by Adams can also extract hexahydrocannabinol from Delta-8 THC, olivetol, and citronellal.

How Does HHC Work?


Like all other cannabinoids and cannabis-derived compounds, HHC works harmoniously with the endocannabinoid system. 


It binds to the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system, but this bind is weaker than that between THC and CB1.


As a result of this weak bond, HHC produces intoxicating and psychoactive effects that are not as strong as THC’s effects.

What Are The Effects of HHC?


HHC has THC-like effects but is less potent. 


Experts are yet to agree on the exact potency of HHC; however, they estimate it to be less powerful than delta-9 but more potent than delta-8. Like other cannabis-derived products, scientists are still studying the effects and properties of HHC. 


That said, they’ve discovered one notable characteristic of the compound: its high bioavailability. This refers to how easily your body can break down and absorb a substance.


By contrast, THC and CBD are not completely bioavailable, meaning the body does not fully absorb them. 


Essentially, the proportion of these cannabinoids that enter your bloodstream isn’t as high as it could be.


As a result, we don’t experience the full benefits of the compound. 


On the other hand, hexahydrocannabinol can metabolize in our bodies more efficiently, creating fuller, more potent results overall. 


One benefit of high bioavailability is that a small amount of HHC can produce a potent effect, which varies from person to person depending on tolerance level and body system.

HHC Benefits


On the benefits of HHC, Liam Burns of Bearly Legal said: “Personally, with HHC, I feel energetic. I go to the gym. I’m sharp; my brain’s working properly. I typically have back and shoulder pain, but I have no pain when I’m on it.”


Also, a scientific study has suggested that the benefits of hexahydrocannabinol include cancer-fighting properties. According to a 2011 study, there is a connection between HHC and shrinking tumors in cancer patients. Of course, more evidence is needed here to draw concrete conclusions. 


In general, consumers report feeling pain relief, anxiety relief, relaxation, and happiness after consuming this unique cannabinoid. 


HHC can also help manage insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite, and pain.

Scientists have not conducted enough studies to confirm these reported HHC benefits, which are mostly anecdotal reports from users, so consult a qualified marijuana doctor for expert advice.

Does HHC Have Side Effects?


HHC is intoxicating and can have similar side effects to THC, and these include:


  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Memory loss
  • Poor coordination
  • Red eyes

These side effects often happen when you consume too much, so starting with a small dose is best. 


Don’t panic if you feel any of these effects; one thing you must remember is that unlike opioids, a cannabis overdose rarely causes serious injury.


Lie down, call someone you trust, and wait it out; the feeling will pass. 


Click here for tips on what to do if you consume too much HHC.

Does HHC Show Up on A Drug Test?


Consumers’ word-of-mouth says HHC does not show up on a drug test, but there’s no proof. If you have a drug test coming up, play it safe, and don’t consume hexahydrocannabinol.


If you have consumed HHC recently and you’re worried you’ll fail a drug test, you can clear the marijuana from your system.

Where Can I Buy HHC?


If you’d like to try out HHC, check your local licensed dispensary. 


Make sure you buy only from licensed dispensaries because products on black markets are not safe — they’re likely to contain harmful metals or chemicals or may have been produced in unsanitary environments.


what is HHC

Strains High in HHC


One sure way to enjoy a cannabinoid is to consume strains with high concentrations of whatever cannabinoid you want.


However, the case is different for HHC because it occurs naturally in only very small quantities, so it can be difficult to find strains with high concentrations.


An alternative would be to consume strains high in THC because as THC degrades, it produces HHC. 


High THC/HHC strains include the following:


  • Blue Dream
  • Bruce Banner
  • Godfather OG
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Sour Diesel

Is HHC A Sativa Or Indica?


The question of whether HHC is a Sativa or Indica might not apply in the traditional sense, as HHC is a cannabinoid, not a strain of cannabis. In the cannabis world, sativa and indica refer to the two primary types of cannabis plants, each with its own unique effects. 


HHC, being a chemical compound, doesn’t inherently possess sativa or indica properties. However, the effects of HHC products can be formulated to mimic those typically associated with either sativa (more uplifting and energizing) or indica (more relaxing and sedative) strains, depending on the presence of other cannabinoids and terpenes in the product.

Which Is Stronger CBD or HHC?


When comparing the potency of CBD to HHC, it’s essential to consider their distinct effects. 


CBD, known for its non-psychoactive properties, primarily offers therapeutic benefits without a high, making it a go-to for relief from anxiety, pain, and inflammation. 


On the other hand, HHC packs a punch similar to THC, providing psychoactive effects that can alter mood and perception. In terms of psychoactivity, HHC is undoubtedly stronger than CBD. However, if you’re measuring by the ability to alleviate certain symptoms without intoxication, CBD might hold the upper hand.

How Long Does It Take For HHC To Kick In?


The onset time for HHC effects can vary significantly based on the consumption method. When ingested as an oil or edible, it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for the effects to manifest, as the compound needs to pass through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream.


Inhalation, through vaping or smoking HHC products, provides a quicker onset, typically within minutes, as the cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lungs. Individual factors such as metabolism, body weight, and tolerance also play a crucial role in how quickly and intensely one feels the effects.

Is Hexahydrocannabinol Safe to Consume?


Generally, cannabis is safe, and the most unpleasant experience you’ll have are side effects that wear off with time.


Some cannabis-derived products are relatively new on the scene, meaning they haven’t been around long enough for their effects to be studied exhaustively. 


Hence, there is little to no research on the immediate or long-term impact of HHC ingestion. Also, there is no standard HHC dose.


Another gray area is regulation. In states where adult use is legal, cannabis-derived products like hexahydrocannabinol are not regulated. HHC producers and retailers are not required to test their products for potency and purity.


To be safe, conduct your research on cannabis-derived products before you buy them, and buy from only licensed dispensaries you trust.


This absence of convincing evidence doesn’t in any way mean that you should turn your back on cannabis-derived products; increased research will lead to standardization and, with time, regulation.

Is HHC Legal?


The law is not explicit on the legal status of HHC; legality is subject to interpretation. Despite being around for decades, hexahydrocannabinol has been a consumer product only for a few years. 


As a result of its novelty, there’s no actual set of rules in place to regulate its production and distribution.


Barely Legal argues that HHC is legal. The company’s website claims that they should be in the clear since HHC is hemp-derived and not THC. 


“HHC vapes, gummies, or edibles are perfectly legal on the federal level and will most likely remain legal on the state level as well,” the website reads.


Producers, distributors, and consumers tend to argue that hexahydrocannabinol is legal because manufacturers derive it from CBD, and CBD is legal. 


According to the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis products derived from CBD are legal as long as they contain 0.3% or less delta-9 THC.


Not everyone agrees that HHC is lawful, though. 


Those on the opposing side cite the Federal Analogue Act, which states that we must treat any substance similar to or chemically resembling Schedule I or II drugs as a Schedule I drug. 


Though HHC is not THC, it mimics THC, and since THC is illegal, they believe HHC should be illegal, too.

Understand Hexahydrocannabinol Better With Our Experts’ Help


HHC is not THC, even though its effects are similar to THC’s. More so, the legal status of hexahydrocannabinol is still up for debate. However, legal or not, it’s best to avoid HHC if you want a clean drug test result.


Here at Elevate Holistics, we strive to have all the information you need to keep up with the fast-paced cannabis industry. 


We understand that consumers may find the many terms and concepts overwhelming; that’s why we’ve made it our duty to be your guide on your cannabis journey.


Not only are we here to answer your questions, but we can also help you get your MMJ card and link you up with licensed dispensaries.

Weed is better with an MMJ card.

MMJ cards save you time, effort, and a lot of money. Get your card 100% online for less than $150 with Elevate Holistics.

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About the author

Ally Hilbert is the Content and SEO Manager here at Elevate Holistics, working to publish and run Elevate’s blogs and landing pages, as well as conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. After having brain surgery at the age of 17, Ally became fascinated with medical cannabis and its benefits, and, at 18, had her first CBD-related piece published. Today, she’s been writing about cannabis for the past six years, and simply can’t think of a better company to get to do it for. When she’s not writing or editing, Ally’s side-by-side with her pup Sadie in Seattle.
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