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Cannabis is an amazing plant, and an incredible source of interesting molecules. Labs working with cannabis have discovered CBG-A, the mother of all cannabinoids, and how it matures into the primary cannabinoids THC and CBD, and also into many trace cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, and now, HHC.  HHC is the new molecular darling of cannabis chemistry. But just what is it, and why isn’t it named like everything else?

This is everything you need to know about HHC and how it compares to THC, the cannabinoid we already know and love.

The Hot New Molecule

In the wake of Delta 8 and THC-0, everyone is headed to the lab to see what new cannabinoids they can spin out of hemp plants. There are dozens of trace cannabinoids, lesser molecules that form in non-significant amounts naturally in the cannabis plant. What these trace cannabinoids really tell us is where the canna-molecule can go if we throw the right atoms at it.

HHC was discovered in the 1940s that throwing hydrogen at a THC Delta-9 molecule produced a different but similar molecule. Naturally, the current cannabis market is thrilled to dive into this new hemp-derived THC-alike with new and promising legal implications.   

You, as a savvy cannabis consumer, are likely wondering just what HHC is and how it stands up against the classic THC. We’re here to tell you everything the market knows about HHC today.

What is HHC?

HHC stands for hexahydrocannabinol, as opposed to tetrahydrocannabinol, which is THC. It is created by hydrogenating (throwing hydrogen at) Delta-THC molecules to reassign one of the double-bonds with two hydrogen atoms instead. This changes the molecular weight and makes the molecule more stable. The process also naturally generates both active and inactive molecules, a variation that scientists have yet to adapt.

HHC, comparatively, is just one molecular bond composition (and a little molecular weight) different from Delta-9 THC. It has been described as having similar effects of an intensity stronger than Delta-8, but not as strong as Delta-9 THC.

Is HHC Made of Hemp Products?

It can be. While original research focused on how to transform Delta-9 THC into HHC, it turns out that Delta-THC products in general can go through the hydrogen transformation process to become HHC. This means that, like most synthetic cannabinoids, HHC is produced primarily by processing extracted CBD from hemp-based plants with minimal natural THC. 

However, because HHC is not officially a molecular variant of the originally outlawed THC, this puts it in a different category when it comes to hemp-derived products. HHC can be produced in both legal and non-legal states, but is not itself a restricted molecule.

How HHC Affects the Body

The effects of HHC have been described as similar to THC, but at about 70-80% strength. This is measured on a scale where Delta-8 is about 50% strength. HHC may provide you with psychoactive effects such as intense daydreaming, creativity, and a feeling of floating or euphoria. It likely also provides similar benefits regarding appetite, discomfort, or mood regulations.

HHC does get you high, but there is also some controversy about its effectiveness. This is due to the active and inactive molecules we mentioned earlier. The hydrogenation process produces both active and inactive HHC particles, only some of which may contribute to the desired effect. Active HHC molecules likely interact with your cannabinoid, serotonin, and immune system receptors like typical THC. However, the inactive molecules will not and scientists have yet to refine how to favor the active over inactive in the production process.

Is HHC Safe?

Everything we know about HHC is based on anecdotal reports right now. However, HHC appears to be as safe as all other similar cannabinoids providing no major concern or health risk to any of the early users while showing consistency in other positive or neutral effects. All signs point to HHC being as safe as its sister molecules, THC Delta-9, THC Delta-8, CBD, CBG, and on.

HHC Is Legal and Has Promise to Stay That Way

The legality of Delta-9 THC is very specific, allowing for hemp-derived synthetic THCs like Delta-8 to thrive in officially non-legal states and federal circumstances. Through this, CBD and all hemp-derived products with a Delta-9 THC content below 0.3% are federally legal – including HHC.

HHC is currently legal in all states and federally. You can buy it in non-legal states alongside CBD, and you can cross state lines with it, and it is not legally “THC” when asked. This is a big legal boost for HHC, which may see a spike in popularity due to the linguistically legal distinction giving it an edge over variants like Delta-8.

Like any cannabinoid, it is possible that this molecule will be restricted in individual states – but actually less likely because it is – lexically – a different molecule entirely.

Will HHC Appear on a Drug Test?

Naturally, you want to know if this new THC variant that isn’t THC will show up as THC on a drug test. Good question.

We don’t know. To be totally honest, this hasn’t been tested enough or by enough accredited labs to share definitive information. HHC is a different molecule, and it might, like CBD, show up differently on a drug test if you are tested for work or government reasons. HHC may not metabolize into the 11-hydroxy-THC  that many drug panels test for. It may not leave the same trace molecules or be legally admissible as a THC positive.

But we don’t want to make any promises regarding this extremely new molecular entrant to the cannabis marketplace. Want to find out for yourself? Consider testing a few home drug tests after experimenting with HHC to see if you get a positive result. Get all your friends involved and make it a real study. If you get definitive results, let us know, and we’ll add them to the anecdotal non-lab mass of data being collected by the cannabis community.

HHC vs THC – Which Should You Choose?

If you are in a legal state, you have the option of selecting between HHC and all variants of THC. All signs point to HHC being as beneficial and popular as CBD, Delta-8, or THC-O. So which to choose should be a personal choice based on your desire for a familiar experience or your sense of adventure.
For those in a non-legal state, HHC has been reported to be the improvement on Delta-8 for those seeking a near-identical THC experience at a comparatively stronger intensity than initial legal-safe molecules. Dipping your toe in the HHC experience is just the next step in our journey into the possibilities of THC sister molecules and cannabinoid chemistry. Learn more with Planet 13.