As new products come to the market it can become difficult to decipher the difference between each new product. There are different cannabinoids to be found in the cannabis sativa plant as well as variations of individual cannabinoids. HHC is a great example of a relatively new cannabinoid on the market and it’s taking the cannabis market by storm.
We've long since forgotten that CBD is one of the exciting cannabinoids available. Popular articles on the CBD cookie business in the United States and abroad have faded into dust. Thanks in large part to the Farm Act, we are now in the age of new hemp. Every day new and innovative cannabinoid products hit the industry and it would seem we have no excuses to look beyond marijuana now. Many online stores now offer delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, and THC-O, delta 9, and HHC products.
So, what is HHC?
What Is HHC? HHC is the shorthand for hexahydrocannabinol, and it's a hydrogenated THC derivative. HHC is found in trace amounts in certain high-potency cannabis strains, but most of what's used in HHC products is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid produced in a lab by hydrogenating THC. HHC was first synthesized in a lab by the American chemist Roger Adams by hydrogenating THC molecules. It basically replaces carbon double bonds with hydrogen atoms and is the same process used to convert vegetable oils to margarines. While THC naturally deforms (breaks down) to CBN (cannabinol), it no longer possesses an addictive psychoactive effect, instead HHC is a completely different type of substance.
HHC vs Delta 8 THC
Both HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) and delta 8 THC products are new hemp derived cannabinoids from the cannabis sativa plant that interact with the endocannabinoid system attaching to the same receptors as delta 9 . These receptors are primarily found in the central nervous system, but HHC and delta 8 THC have different chemical structures.
While HHC and delta 8 are similar in structure a notable difference are the number of double bonds found in their chemical structures, in particular one of the cyclic pentane rings found in cannabinoid molecules. While this may be unworthy of comment to the average consumer, it becomes remarkable when discussing the properties of the HHC and delta products after ingestion and their residual effects on the human body, i.e. tiredness, a "high" or any other psychoactive effects such as auditory and visual perception, mild euphoria, pain relief, and sleep quality.
For the most part HHC, delta 8 and delta 9 are all the same molecules with one exception: delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC have a double bond in their structure while HHC is a fully hydrogenated THC derivative, meaning the only difference is there are no double bonds in HHC. It is considered to be a semi-synthetic compound as it's not naturally present in large quantities in cannabis sativa plants, therefore it has to be manufactured.
To create HHC it's necessary to saturate THC with hydrogen atoms using chemical solvents such as hydrochloric acid or glacial acetic acid in chemical reactions along with a catalyst activator to break the double bond and add additional hydrogen molecules. This chemical reaction of hydrogenation actually occurs daily in biological systems. For example, hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach breaks down proteins by this process. Although HHC lacks the double bond, the cyclic ring structure found in all the cannabinoids that bind to naturally occurring and distinct receptors in our endocannabinoid system remains intact-minus the double bond.
This process effectively changes HHC's molecular structure to be more consistent with THC's structure and allows for a more cohesive binding process to the receptors in our endocannabinoid system to give us effects similar to the delta-9 molecule. Is HHC the same as delta-8? While HHC and delta-8 THC are similar to the extent that they are both hemp-derived, psychoactive, minor cannabinoids, they are very much not the same. Both are completely different cannabinoids that possess their own, unique molecular structure and effects.
Is HHC stronger than Delta 8?
As hemp derived cannabinoids both the hydrogenated THC derivatives HHC and delta-8, in low to medium doses, may produce euphoric highs. Is there a big difference between the euphoric effects, psychoactive effects and relaxing effects between these two? Because all the marketed cannabinoids are measured in psychoactive affect against delta-9, on a scale where delta-9 is 100%, HHC is more psychoactive than delta-8. Delta-8 is less than 50% as effective as delta-9 THC while HHC is approximately 80% as powerful as THC. All three cannabinoid compounds have similar structures and identical effects in varying degrees. And, although the chemical structure is very similar, it can produce very different results based on the receptors in the endocannabinoid system they bind to and how tightly they bind.
There are 2 primary receptors found in the endocannabinoid system know as CB1 and CB2. Most are found in the brain although some are also found in other areas of the human body and the activation of these receptors and how the cannabinoids interact with the receptors dictates the therapeutic benefits and/or psychoactive effects of HHC vs delta-8.
The 2 cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, mostly lie in different areas of the human body. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain (or central nervous system) although these receptors are also found in other locations in the body in smaller numbers. HHC exhibits many of the same properties as Delta 9 THC and the effects tend to be longer lasting since HHC has a higher affinity for the CB1 receptor.
If you're looking for psychoactive effects and potential benefits related to the immune system and inflammation suppression that are somewhere in between that of delta-9 and delta-8, then consuming HHC is the perfect product.
Effects & Benefits: Comparing HHC, Delta-8 & Delta-9 THC
Intoxication with HHC demonstrates more similarity to delta-9. However, the user may feel more “stoned” than with delta-8. HHC has what has been described as an unflappable smooth, clear headed ”high” with a significant calming and sedating effect, although in high doses it can be found nearer to delta-9 because of its altering effects on auditory perceptions. Overall, HHC has similar effects to THC, causing higher doses to feel euphoric and energizing, whereas low doses can have the same cooling effects that delta-8 does.
Potential therapeutic benefits of HHC
Anecdotal evidence suggests HHC has therapeutic advantages over THC. A key reason for this can be the similarities and affinity of the same receptor in the organism. The cannabinoid research studies show these potential benefits:
HHC may help reduce inflammation
HHC does not differ from other cannabinoids in reducing inflammation or alleviating inflammation in humans. Although HHC has not been studied directly to treat pain yet, another recent study suggested hydrogenated cannabinoids are effective in binding to CB1 receptors of the brain and reduce inflammation in joints.
HHC may serve as a potential sleep aid
The psychotropic effect of HHC has been attributed to interactions with the cB1 receptor of the brain. Although there are few definitive studies on sleep and HHC and the mechanism of action for this compound is unknown, we know that delta-9 has a positive effect on sleep; therefore, HHC will have the same effect but to a lesser degree.
HHC may help manage chronic pain
Its use in rats has shown a significant painkilling effect. While human studies are needed, research suggests that HHC can provide useful therapeutic solutions and is a viable treatment for pain.
Potential therapeutic benefits of Delta-8 THC
It's only recently been discovered that delta-8 may have therapeutic effects. The majority of the results of combining delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC have been based upon the similarity of the cannabinoid. This article describes a number of research findings based on leading theory.
Delta 8 May relieve Anxiety
The mellow “high” in Delta-8 is not comparable to delta-9. Anecdotal evidence shows that delta-8 is more anxiety-free than delta-9 and produces an alert, clear-headed high without causing any problems to concentrate. Its effects on anxiety are the same irrespective of dose and this isn't the case with delta-9. Delta-9 THC causes increased anxiety with high doses so is not ideal for those who experience anxiety daily.
Delta-8 may help with pain & inflammation
A 2017 study found "evidence of significant reduction in chronic pain with the use of cannabis or cannabinoids"1. Additional results have revealed that CB1 receptor activity is critical to functions such as sleep, digestion and immune response.
Delta-8 May Reduce Nausea
Both delta-8 and delta-9 were tested to relieve nausea symptoms in cancer patients and showed promising findings. Research shows delta-8 is better at preventing nausea and vomiting because it has no notable adverse effect.
Delta-8 May Promote Appetite
Delta-8 has also been shown to increase appetite among mice and increased the feeding pattern to 22%. This is significant for humans and for those patients suffering the effects of cancer treatment such as chemotherapy this is a great way to potentially overcome nausea that lowers appetite.
Therapeutic benefits of Delta-9
Historically the major cannabinoid used by the cannabis industry has been delta-9. The therapeutic potential is imminent even in cases in which traditional treatment fails. This article presents some research on delta-9 therapeutic benefits.
Delta-9 May Increase Appetite
In delta-9, the increase in appetite is usually linked to the insufferable hunger the users experience after they have smoked marijuana. Delta-9 has also been shown to stimulate appetite in cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy as well as HIV patients.
Delta-9 May relieve Anxiety
Researchers have recently found that delta-9's effects on anxiety are dose-dependent. Lower doses of 7.5 mg negatively affected anxiety and high levels of 12.5 mg heightened perceived fear. Therefore it becomes difficult, with delta-9, to effectively dose to create the desired effect.
Criteria to Consider Before Buying HHC or Delta-8 Products
The following criteria should be considered when deciding whether to purchase HHC and delta-8 products.
The price of the two products
HHC is typically cheaper than delta products. When selecting an HHC/Delta product the need and budget must be considered. The HHC based products are high in CBD and have a soothing effect. However if you need a product with higher levels of THC and a psychoactive effect, then a Delta product might be an ideal option. Whatever the type of product you decide on be careful when shopping online. The ideal result is the highest quality product at the best price and selection and this can sometimes be difficult to find. Look for a product that provides lab results for their products that are easily accessible to the consumer along with a nice variety of products at a price that won't burn a hole in your pocket.
The Source of Extracts
Ensure that hemp cultivated for production comes from an organic farm, not a non-GMO farm. Or find one that is both! The hemp source determines the quality of the final product. One thing to consider: are potentially harsh chemicals being used when growing the plants? Chemicals can be absorbed through the soil and leaves of plants leaving harmful chemicals in the end product. Are they using pesticides, irradiation or human waste as fertilizer? Those same things that we look for in the food we buy from the grocery store are important for hemp-derived products.
Potency of the product
How do you know the actual THC and CBD content of the plant? Many things can alter the content of both such as weather, strain, etc. making it critical that growers test the plant at various times with a reliable lab both during growing and after harvest . You want to make certain you get an effective and safe product so always verify product potencies before purchasing them.
Will HHC test positive in a urinalysis?
While this hemp derived cannabinoid does have some health advantages and no known adverse effect on humans, because it is from hemp derived THC there is the potential for residual THC. What does “Hemp Derived THC” mean? “Hemp Derived THC” means that the THC is entirely produced from Hemp. Under the H.R.2 - Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 , which clarifies that “Hemp” is any cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% Delta 9-THC, Hemp is federally legal for all purposes under federal law. Marijuana or any cannabis plant containing more than 0.3% Delta 9 THC is not used in any “Hemp Derived THC” product. Although you may be able to purchase these products legally in your state they may have small amounts of THC, yet another reason to buy only from sources that reveal testing for their products. Dependent upon how much you ingest, what the lab is testing for and how pure the product, these compounds may show on a drug test. Therefore, you should avoid using hemp derived compounds if being tested.
HHC vs Delta-8 THC: Which is perfect for me?
Ultimately the choice is yours as to which product is right for you and will be dependent on a number of things. If you are looking for something more relaxing and less likely to cause increased appetite then HHC may be the answer. If you're searching for something to increase appetite with less risk of anxiety than delta-9 you can try delta-8. Ultimately, the only way to really know is by trying them and with so many great products out there such as gummies, chocolate and vape cartridges, the choice is yours!