HHC vs THC - What is the difference?
The massive success of the cannabis industry has opened up a new world of possibilities for hemp-derived products. While hemp products like CBD immediately skyrocketed in popularity, there are hundreds of other, lesser-known cannabinoids waiting for their moment to shine.
As these products hit the market, a new array of cannabinoids are surging into use: delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, delta-10 THC, THC-O, and more. But one promising new cannabinoid is slowly claiming the spotlight: Hexahydrocannabinol, better known as HHC.
HHC isn’t exactly new, but it’s gaining popularity in the cannabinoid scene. HHC is the most stable form of THC, which means it’s resistant to oxidation, heat, and UV light.
What exactly do we know about HHC and how does it compare to the more well-known THC? Let’s take a deep dive into this unique cannabinoid, its legality, and what you can expect when buying HHC products.
HHC vs. THC - What’s the Difference?
You’ve probably heard of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). You might not know that there are various forms of THC, the compound that produces the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
Now that some states are legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational use — along with the 2018 federal Farm Bill legalizing hemp with 0.3% of THC or less — there’s more and more focus on the alternative products that can be developed to compete in the diverse cannabis marketplace. Variations of the delta-9 THC cannabinoid, like delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, THCP, and THC-O, are already making their mark as alternative forms of THC.
Now that HHC has entered the marketplace, it’s raised a buzz.
So what exactly is HHC, and how does it compare to THC? Let’s dig a little deeper.
What is HHC?
HHC, short for hexahydrocannabinol, is a hydrogenated form of THC.
What exactly does that mean? One way to understand this is to compare it to the similar process of creating margarine. To turn vegetable oil into margarine, you have to hydrogenate it, which means adding hydrogen atoms to the chemical structure to stabilize it.
This process breaks THC’s double bond chemical structure. The resulting form of THC has only around 70% to 80% of THC’s potency. While it may not be as potent as THC, HHC is absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly and effectively, producing a powerful effect. While more research is needed to support this theory, many advocates for the cannabinoid claim that the chemical structure makes it less likely to appear on a drug test.
What’s more, this hydrogenation can make HHC much more stable. HHC has a longer shelf life than THC, as it’s not susceptible to oxidation and degradation. It doesn’t lose potency nearly as quickly when exposed to air, making it a favorite cannabinoid option for those seeking a long-term stash.
As of now, the availability of HHC is limited. However, you can still find plenty of HHC products on the market, like edibles, gummies, tinctures, and HHC vape cartridges. Given that any THC products can be hydrogenated, we may see even more products with HHC’s structure show up in the future, especially as the cannabinoid continues to grow in popularity.
What is THC?
Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid present in hemp and cannabis plants in trace amounts. Although it has roughly two-thirds of the potency, it’s known to work similarly to delta-9 THC.
Unlike pure CBD, the chemical properties of THC in cannabis can produce a psychoactive effect. It binds with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain that control pain, mood, and other feelings. When it attaches to these receptors, it floods the system with dopamine — the neurotransmitter that plays a role in feelings of happiness and pleasure. Once ingested, it can produce a deeply euphoric experience, or the “high” most people associate with cannabis use.
Unlike HHC, delta-8 and delta-9 THC are widely available. You can find many different forms of THC, from pure flowers to oils and tinctures.
HHC vs. THC - Comparing the Two
While HHC and delta-8 THC are similar, the two compounds do differ. Thanks to the hydrogenation process — and the broken double-bond chemical structure — HHC has some significant molecular differences.
Alongside the stable shelf life, you might have a different experience with HHC due to the changes in potency and the way it’s absorbed into the bloodstream. It may also show up differently on drug tests.
Is HHC Stronger Than THC?
When comparing HHC vs THC, you might be wondering: Which is stronger? While HHC has only 70% to 80% of THC’s potency, it absorbs much better into the bloodstream.
All in all, the effects of HHC are similar to THC. Experts don’t fully agree on its potency, but in general, it’s less potent than most THC. It might be less powerful than delta-9 THC but slightly more potent than delta-8 THC.
It may be milder than most forms of THC, but it still has a powerful and noticeable effect.
How is HHC Absorbed?
While it has 70% to 80% of the potency, one notable element sets HHC apart: Its bioavailability. HHC has high bioavailability, which means it’s easy for the body to break down and absorb into the bloodstream.
THC and CBD aren’t completely bioavailable, which means the body is less effective at absorbing them. This means that when using delta-9 THC or delta-8 THC, not all the cannabinoid enters your bloodstream at once — dulling the effect of the compound.
In contrast, hexahydrocannabinol metabolizes much more efficiently, creating potent results. This means you won’t need to take as much HHC to feel the powerful effects.
That said, the effects of HHC vary from person to person. Depending on your biochemistry and tolerance level, you’ll see different results.
How Does HHC Make You Feel?
While chemically different, HHC has similar effects to THC. Delta-8 and delta-9 THC can produce a subtle or powerful psychoactive high, depending on how much you take. The effects are typically two-fold — relaxing your body while uplifting your mind and boosting mental clarity. Other side effects can include feelings of euphoria, altered visual perception, changes in body rate, and altered headspace.
For the most part, users report that HHC effects are similar to THC’s. However, the effects are weighted more toward sedation than stimulation. This means you can expect an increase in feelings of relaxation and mental calmness.
Some users say that the feeling is completely different than the typical “high.” Depending on the concentration, using HHC can come with side effects of uplifted energy, happiness, and euphoria that reach new heights.
Does HHC Get You High?
The short answer? Yes, HHC can get you high, but not necessarily in the same way that other types of cannabis would. The effects of HHC are similar to THC’s, so you can expect something close to the typical “high” experience, including euphoria and a change in perception.
However, because of its milder properties, you’re less likely to fall into feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and other adverse side effects. Due to its milder effect, you’re also less likely to completely overtake your ability to feel like you’re in control.
Like THC, the “high” feeling will affect each person differently. Depending on the concentration, how much you take, and how your body processes HHC, the experience can last anywhere from two to four hours.
What’s the Dose of HHC?
Dosing is subjective for any psychoactive substance, from HHC to delta-1. It all depends on your age, weight, tolerance levels, and the potency of what you use.
Like most people new to HHC, it might take you some time to figure out your tolerance level. It’s best to start low and slowly work your way up until you find the dose that hits the sweet spot both mentally and physically. Once you know how your body will respond, you can be more confident in trying higher doses.
While there’s no official dosing guide for HHC, you can generally follow the dosing guidelines for delta-8 THC as a starting point. For most forms of THC, these are the doses you can expect:
- Low dose. Between 10 mg and 20 mg
- Medium dose. Between 20 mg and 50 mg
- Heavy dose. Between 50 mg and 100 mg
If you’re entirely new to all cannabinoids — from CBD to THC — it's best to start with as low a dose as possible to test your limits. You can even microdose HHC between 1 and 5 mg before working your way up to a low dose.
Will HHC Show Up on a Drug Test?
Along with benefits like long shelf life, another key selling point for HHC is that it may not show up on the standard 12-panel drug test.
Depending on how frequently you use and how long it's been since the last use, anyone using THC alternatives, like delta-8 or delta-10 THC, can trigger a positive on urine or blood tests.
For now, there isn't sufficient evidence to support this claim. More research is needed to confirm whether or not HHC can show up, but early research suggests that the cannabinoid doesn’t metabolize into 11-hydroxy-THC, which typically triggers a positive result.
Your best option is to proceed with caution regarding drug tests.
The Legality of HHC
Just like other cannabinoids, the legality of HHC can be a bit murky.
The 2018 Farm Bill protects the right to use hemp-derived products like CBD, as long as they contain 0.3% THC or less. That said, HHC is much more similar to THC in its effects, and it does produce a noticeable high, unlike CBD.
In terms of legality, THC is still a minefield. While still illegal in some places — and with heavy restrictions in others — the fight for legal cannabis use has been expanding, with a powerful push toward legalization in many states.
Cannabis is currently legal for recreational use in the following states:
- Washington, D.C.
- New Jersey
- New York
- New Mexico
Based on the Farm Bill and the fact that HHC is hemp-derived, HHC vapes, gummies, or edibles are legal at the federal and state level. While this could change in the coming years, it’s legal at the time of writing.
The debate on HHC’s legality hinges primarily on whether or not it’s considered a natural or synthetic cannabinoid. As it occurs naturally but still requires lab work to produce enough for commercial use, HHC falls somewhere in the middle.
Like HHC, hemp-derived cannabinoids like delta-10 THC and THC-O are also in murky legal territory. However, until this legal situation is addressed in the courts, these hemp derivatives are still legal to use.
HHC Products - Vapes, Edibles, and More
Now that HHC products are entering the mainstream, they’re becoming some of the fastest-growing products in the industry. The product selection may still be limited, but there are reputable retailers selling anything from edibles to dab wax.
Although the effects tend to be the same, you may prefer one type of HHC over another. Here are all the ways you can consume HHC products.
Oils and Tinctures
HHC oils and tinctures come in a bottle with a dropper, so you can take them directly or add them to food and drinks. They typically have a glycerin, oil, or alcohol base and can come in a range of different strengths — or even flavors.
Whether THC, CBD, or HHC, edibles can come in many different forms. From gummies to chocolates to baked goods, you can find cannabis or hemp-derived products in almost any food you can imagine.
As HHC is still new to the market, you’re likely to find them in the form of gummies offered in many flavors and strengths.
For quick delivery, look no further than HHC vapes. Vapes can deliver a concentrated dose of HHC through inhalation — without the risks that come with traditional smoking.
Guide to Buying HHC Online Safely
Looking at all the benefits of HHC — mild but relaxing high, mood boosting effects, and fewer side effects — there are so many reasons why you might want to buy HHC.
There's one problem. Not all HHC brands use the right methods to perform the hydrogenation process. More often than not, HHC products have residual solvents and other toxins embedded. Since HHC is so new to the cannabinoid scene, it isn’t as closely regulated as more popular forms of these products, like delta-8 THC. It’s It’sier than ever for brands to pass off fake or low concentration HHC products as the real thing.
The importance of proper research can’t be stressed enough. If you want to feel the uplifting effects and benefits of HHC, then you need to do your due diligence before you dive in.
Here are some critical steps before you settle on a company to supply your HHC.
Research the Company on Social Media
First things first, you should be taking to social media. Since HHC is so new, sometimes the best way to verify is through word-of-mouth testimonials.
Look for customer comments and reviews on popular social media sites to see if anybody has bought HHC from this particular brand. They might be able to tell you more about the prices, product quality, customer support, and overall reputation of the brand.
You might find testimonials on:
While you might find great reviews and testimonials on a brand’s website, take these with a grain of salt. Some reviews might be filtered — or even fake.
Check for a Product Lab Certificate
One of the benefits of purchasing HHC online is the fact that you can track the company’s trail. If an HHC brand is reputable, they should have clear documentation of where they source their products and what they’re made of, so you know that you’re getting the real deal.
What should you look for in a lab report? First, you need to find the Certificate of Analysis, or COA. This is a verified report that will show you the presence and potency of cannabinoids, including HHC. A trustworthy HHC brand should be proud to show off their reputable products, making their COA reports readily available on their website. If you can’t locate their lab work within a few minutes spent on the site, it probably shouldn't be considered a safe brand to work with.
As HHC is still a newcomer in the cannabis scene, having a reputable COA is a necessity. Some brands may still sell products with different chemical structures while still labeling them as HHC. Knockoff versions of the product may not have the desired effect — let alone have the same safety ratings.
Are Prices Too Good to Be True?
Let's admit it — we’re all looking for great deals on the products we love. Why should cannabis or HHC products be any different?
But while many players in the cannabis industry are trying to get bottom-dollar prices for their consumers, their quality often suffers. When production is low-budget, you have no guarantee of quality. If products aren't appropriately processed you could end up with low-quality HHC with only a fraction of the potency. Or, in the worst-case scenario, you could end up with dangerously tainted HHC.
While you can still be discerning about price, don’t be fooled by a deal that seems too good to be true. Chances are, it is.
HHC vs THC - What You Need to Know
HHC might be similar to THC, but that doesn't mean you'll get the same experience. With its unique absorption power, incredible potency, and mood-lifting effects, get ready to experience a completely new high with HHC products.
At the end of the day, you deserve to experience everything HHC has to offer. So why compromise on quality? As legal hemp-derived products find a new place in the industry, we've been rolling out new products to add to our collection of premium HHC. From vape bundles to disposables, give us a try today to see what a top-notch HHC experience could look like for you.