If you’re familiar with cannabis at all, you likely know about cannabinoids, with THC and CBD being the top two varieties. However, cannabis has many different cannabinoids (at least 100), and we’re just starting to discover them and what they offer. One of the latest discoveries getting attention is HHC. But because scientists haven’t studied it extensively yet, it’s hard to say what impact it will have on the cannabis industry.
Nonetheless, HHC is worth discussing because it could potentially reshape what we know about cannabis and which cannabinoids are the most effective.
What is HHC?
HHC stands for hexahydrocannabinol, and it’s actually a synthesized cannabinoid first produced in 1944. HHC is created by adding hydrogen molecules to Delta-9 THC. Hydrogenation is a relatively common practice, most notably used to convert vegetable oil into margarine.
Although HHC is traditionally made from THC from a regular cannabis plant, modern growers and manufacturers are producing it via hemp. Since hemp was legalized in 2018, the cannabis industry has been using it for CBD and other cannabinoids. Although hemp legally cannot have more than 0.3 percent THC, trace amounts are still used for HHC.
Why is HHC So Misunderstood?
Because HHC was first created in 1944, you’d think we know a lot about it by now. However, since cannabis has been illegal for decades, scientists weren’t able to research THC, HHC, or any other cannabinoid.
Further complicating matters is that the cannabinoid market is unregulated. Unfortunately, there are many companies or individuals who like to make false claims about these ingredients, HHC included. Also, some manufacturers may claim that a product contains HHC, but it actually doesn’t. Overall, since the substance is still relatively new to the market, there’s a lot of conflicting information about it.
What are the Effects of HHC?
Since HHC is a derivative of THC, it can still give you a psychoactive effect. Many users report a potency very similar to that of THC, with an emphasis on relaxation, as opposed to stimulation.
HHC is often produced in two varieties – 9R and 9S. 9R HHC binds to the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, so it affects the body more significantly than 9S HHC.
As with all-natural products, the effects will vary from one person to another. Also, extracting THC from hemp and hydrogenating it is pretty complex. Both types of HHC are produced, so manufacturers have to be careful about ensuring there’s enough 9R HHC for customers to feel anything.
It’s unclear whether HHC would be more or less potent in someone who uses THC regularly. One thing most research has agreed on is that HHC is molecularly stable. This means it has a longer shelf life before losing its potency.
Why Use HHC?
Many manufacturers are hopping on the HHC bandwagon and preaching its capabilities far and wide. However, until more conclusive research is done, it’s hard to say what’s real and what’s just anecdotal. For example, someone may believe HHC will help them with pain or anxiety relief and get a placebo effect from taking it.
Overall, beyond the psychoactive side effects, HHC can also help with the following:
- Pain Relief
- Inflammation Reduction
- Relaxed Body and Mind
- Improved Sleep
- Alleviate Nausea
Another primary benefit being discussed by users of HHC is that many report it doesn’t appear on a standard 12-panel drug test. This is still up for debate, because when your body metabolizes at least some of the HHC, it becomes 11-hydroxy-THC, which tests are made to detect. There is no conclusive evidence, so we don’t recommend taking HHC before a test and assuming it will fade in time.
Is HHC Legal?
The legality of HHC depends on who you ask. Many cannabinoid manufacturers and retailers say it is okay because it’s made from hemp, not cannabis. However, others claim that because HHC is a derivative of THC, it’s illegal.
Others have said because HHC occurs in nature in trace concentrations, it is a natural product and therefore legal. Arguments have been made that because it is only trace amounts occuring in nature, and the HHC currently on the market is made in a lab, it is by definition manufactured, which makes it illegal.
According to the law, drugs that are analogous to a Schedule I substance are also outlawed. For now, it seems like no one is getting prosecuted or arrested for using HHC, but we’ll see how long that lasts.
The Bottom Line
If you’re ready to take HHC because you want to get high, be aware of the potential risks and side effects. As far as any other benefits, the only way you’ll know how it affects your body is to take some. Everyone is different, and tons of factors (i.e., weight, age, metabolism, etc.) affect how drugs impact your body.