When it comes to cannabis, two of the most popular compounds people likely recognize are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol), associated with the psychoactive effects and therapeutic benefits, respectively.
As well, the cannabis plant is classified as Hemp and Marijuana. Hemp plants are high in CBD and extremely low in THC. On the other hand, marijuana products may be high in THC and low in CBD.
In this article, we will only be focusing on the hemp-based cannabis, HHC – a lesser-known but essential hemp-derived compound.
What is HHC?
HHC stands for Hexahydrocannabinol. Since it is not as well known as CBD or THC, not many studies have been done on what this compound offers. Even the studies available contradict each other in most areas, making it difficult for new users to learn more about HHC.
Despite being derived from the Hemp plant, HHC is closer to THC than CBD. The compound offers users mild effects and is scarcely available on the market. However, from the information about HHC, experts believe that it holds a lot of potential, which can only be unveiled through research.
HHC may not be a newfound compound after all. Roger Adams – an American chemist – found it back in 1944 through the process of hydrogenation. In this process, THC is used to derive HHC. However, modern scientists are able to create HHC through cannabidiol in the hemp plant (which is low in THC compound and high in CBD).
This compound is gaining traction in the cannabis industry due to the THC-like buzz it offers to users. However, the potency of HHC is still in question since it is made up of the combination of two different sets of molecules (active and inactive). The active molecules must be more than the inactive molecules for a potent product.
Achieving the perfect ratio can be a challenge. According to manufacturers, the active and inactive molecules need to be separated from each other to acquire a cost-effective product, but the process to do so will be quite expensive. In other words, it is not viable to separate the two. Furthermore, in order to achieve higher potency levels, the active molecules in HHC should be higher than the inactive ones. Manufacturers try their best to keep the ratio balanced, but without much success.
The effects of a potent HHC product vary from one user to another. While some users agree that HHC works wonders for them with energetic and therapeutic effects, others prefer using the conventional THC or CBD instead.
In addition, there is also a lot of conflict about whether HHC is detectable in a drug test or not. Experts believe that since HHC doesn’t convert to 11-hydroxy-THC, users might be able to come out clear; however, since there is no concrete proof of this, it’s best not to risk it, especially it involves your careers (for example: in the case of athletes who are regularly tested for potential drug use).
The Limitations of HHC
One of the biggest concerns about HHC is that states across the US have a ban on delta-8 THC – If it is derived from THC. However, modern manufacturing methods enable scientists to produce HHC through the hemp plant, which should technically make HHC legal (since hemp is federally legal).
However, HHC is a milder version of THC and thus offers some psychoactive effects to the users. This is where the issue arises – THC is banned federally. In short, HHC is derived from a legal plant but has a THC-like effect on the body, making its legality hazy.
Not many dispensaries in the US produce HHC. Manufacturers that do undergo a proprietary process that turns CBD into HHC. Once HHC is derived, it needs to be refined and distilled for consumption.
It is Safe to Produce?
HHC is safe to produce, unlike a popular misconception about its creation. Researchers in the US have already tested the production of HHC in well-equipped laboratories. According to HHC manufacturing experts, it is safe if produced in a smaller quantity, but the risk is directly proportional to production quantities. As you go on to scale your HHC production, the risk rises accordingly.
In fact, manufacturers today only produce HHC in spaces that are equipped to withstand a potential explosion. In addition, the labs are also designed to offer high levels of safety for the scientists working within.
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