The cannabis plant is a gift that keeps on giving cannabinoids, with its many cannabinoids that promote overall wellness.
HHC is the latest cannabinoid to hit the cannabis scene and takes cannabis consumers by storm.
When it comes to the HHC product, you can discover HHC gummies, HHC disposable vapes, HHC pre joint tools, and whatnot. However, most consumers remain curious about HHC’s effects on the body, legality, and safety, among other primary facts. Therefore, below is everything you need to know about HHC.
Basic Understanding of HHC
HHC or Hexahydrocannabinol is one of the 100+ hemp-derived cannabinoids that occur naturally in the hemp plant, albeit in trace concentrations. The cannabinoid is a THC hydrogen derivative, meaning that it has a molecular structure similar to delta 9 THC except for the double bonds on THC’s cyclohexyl ring. Unlike delta 9 THC, which features a double carbon bond on the cyclohexyl ring, HHC features hydrogen molecules on its cyclohexyl ring, making it a hydrogenated form of THC.
The hydrogen atoms in HHC alter delta 9 THC’s chemical structure, and the structural change subsequently alters delta HHC's effects on the body compared to delta-9 THC. HHC and delta 9 THC are psychoactive compounds, causing effects like euphoria, physical and mental stimulation, altered visual function and cognitive function, and potent nociceptive activity.
However, HHC has milder psychoactive effects than delta 9 THC due to its structural distinction. Delta-9 THC’s double carbon bonds positioned on the ninth molecule give it a strong affinity to CB1 receptors, which are highly concentrated in the brain.
CB1 receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), an elaborate body signaling system via which hemp-derived products like cannabinoids and terpenes deliver their effects. However, delta-9 THC has a low affinity to the ECS’s CB2 receptors found in higher concentrations along with the central and peripheral nervous systems. HHC also binds to nociceptive TRP pain receptors that modulate pain signals.
On the other hand, HHC has a moderately low affinity to CB1 receptors but a relatively higher CB2 receptor affinity. Consequently, HHC has milder psychoactive properties than delta-9 THC but more potent psychoactive effects than other hemp-derived THC products like delta 8 THC.
However, note that the comparison between HHC and delta 8 THC is anecdotal. Moreover, anecdotal evidence suggests that, like delta 8 THC, HHC has more of a relaxing effect than delta-9 THC’s stimulating effect.
The first historical mention of HHC was in 1942 when a chemist, Adam Roger, isolated cannabis phytochemicals in a bid to explain its effects on the body. Roger also developed “Adams catalyst” or platinum oxide, a catalyst used in the hydrogenation process; hydrogenation is the industrial chemical process used in making HHC extract.
As stated above, HHC is a trace cannabinoid, meaning that it occurs naturally in the hemp plant but in quantities that make commercial extraction wasteful. Therefore, industrial chemists in the cannabis industry use the hydrogenation process to convert hemp-derived CBD into HHC molecules.
Another significant factor when considering HHC VS THC or HHC VS THC-O (a synthetic THC form) is that HHC’s altered chemical structure makes it less susceptible to oxidation and degradation from UV exposure to UV light. Hydrogenation is also the chemical process used in making vegetable oil, explaining the oil's long shelf life. Therefore, HHC is more stable and has a significantly longer shelf life than delta-9 THC and other THC alternatives.
However, HHC features enantiomers or two mirror molecules, one active and the other inactive. The inactive HHC molecules may lower HHC’s potency, but chemists are working on HHC inactive molecule resolution methods to make HHC optimally active.
What Kind of HHC Products are Available on the Market?
The chemical process used in making HHC commercial production viable is costly because it utilizes expensive catalysts like titanium and palladium. Consequently, HHC is a rare cannabinoid because few cannabis brands can foot its production costs. However, the select brands offer a variety of high-quality HHC products, as listed below.
HHC Vape Cartridges/HHC Vapes:
What is an HHC vape? HHC vapes include HHC carts, and disposable HHC vapes are popular for their speedy HHC delivery into the primary circulatory system, meaning the HHC kicks in under ten minutes. However, vapes from different brands vary in potency.
Regardless, an HHC vape is easy to dose because you can count the number of hits it takes a given vape product to make you “high.” Moreover, the vapes are available in diverse flavors, and some even feature natural terpenes from popular cannabis strains like the Pineapple Express.
HHC gummies are the most popular HHC edibles in the market. Cannabis brands selling HHC products stock sweet HHC gummies and sour candy to suit diverse consumer palates. The HHC edibles are also available in different HHC concentrations.
HHC oil is HHC distillate derived via hydrogenation, combined with carrier oils like hemp seed oil from hemp plants and MCT oil. The carrier oils enhance HHC's transportation into your body system, enhancing bioavailability.
Depending on your intended use, you can consume the oil orally or topically. However, the oil is not ideal for an HHC vape cartridge because it is denser than the vape juices used in vape carts.
HHC pre-rolls contain pre-ground HHC flowers and make smoking the cannabinoid more convenient. They are available in different cannabis plant strains.
The HHC cannabinoid occurs naturally but in trace amounts, meaning HHC-dominant flowers do not exist in natural form. However, different cannabis strains infused with HHC isolate are available for consumption. Therefore, HHC flowers combine the cannabinoid's properties with natural terpenes from specific cannabis strains for enhanced HHC benefits.
HHC capsules are typically soft gels containing HHC isolate in different concentrations.
Do HHC products have medical benefits?
The available research on this hydrogenated form of THC suggests that it has potential therapeutic benefits that complement its psychoactive property. Although the preliminary research does not explore the HHC cannabinoid's full potential, anecdotal evidence highlights the following potential benefits.
Might Help Treat anxiety and depression:
One research study shows that cannabinoid products, including delta-9 THC, have immense potential in managing depressive and anxiety disorders. Therefore, the similarities in how HHC and delta-9 THC interact with the body, affecting various physical and mental body processes, means that HHC may also help manage depression and anxiety symptoms.
Might Offer Euphoric Effects:
As stated above, HHC has similar, albeit milder effects to delta-9 THC, including euphoria. Anecdotal evidence suggests that HHC induces moderate euphoria.
Euphoria is a misconstrued word in society because many individuals associate it with undesirable delta-9 THC molecule side effects like paranoia and delirium. However, HHC-induced euphoria is a state of elation that boosts your mood, confidence, socialization capacity, and overall happiness.
Might alleviate nausea and vomiting:
According to one research study, cannabinoid products, including HHC, offer immediate nausea relief. Nausea has many causes yet is surprisingly difficult to treat for a common symptom.
The research administrators administered various cannabinoids to test subjects and monitored participants' nausea symptoms for up to an hour after cannabinoid consumption. They observed that cannabinoids improved nausea symptoms by four points on a scale of 1-10. HHC cartridges are ideal for nausea management due to their rapid action.
Might Reduce Inflammation:
HHC's potent antinociceptive activity makes it the ideal antidote for inflammation. Moreover, one research study concluded that HHC reduces inflammation and improves the antioxidant activity in body tissue.
Might Stimulate Appetite:
As stated above, HHC's mechanism of action in the body entails interacting with the ECS, and the ECS regulates multiple body functions, including hunger hormone production. Moreover, one research study review on cannabinoids and appetite shows that cannabinoids like HHC intensified hedonic or pleasant food properties like aroma and flavor. Therefore, HHC potentially makes food more desirable for individuals with a low appetite.
HHC Dosage: How Much to Use for the First Session?
"Is HHC safe?" is one question that consumers frequently ask. The preliminary research available on HHC does not give its long-term effects. Fortunately, there are currently no reported cases of HHC adverse effects.
Nonetheless, HHC is intoxicating and can have undesirable side effects when taken in large doses. Therefore, the key is identifying the HHC dosage that works for you.
However, hemp-derived cannabinoids like HHC deliver individual-specific effects making it impossible for manufacturers to recommend a standardized dose for hemp products like HHC. Physiological factors like gender, age, body composition, and pharmacogenetics affect how your body metabolizes the HHC.
Therefore, the golden rule when taking any HHC product for the first time is to start low on the dosage and go slow. Moreover, HHC product manufacturers often recommend doses for their products and advise you on how safely to adjust the dose upward.
What to look for in HHC products?
The chemical processes utilized in industrial HHC production are expensive, raising production costs. Unfortunately, the high costs and regulatory loopholes in the cannabis industry allow unscrupulous companies to sell low-quality HHC products. Therefore, follow the HHC shopping guide below to ensure you shop for safe and effective HHC products.
Dosage & Strength:
A company selling HHC products should include accurate product labels on product packaging, including recommended dosage and HHC potency. Such information should help you buy a product that matches your HHC tolerance for effectiveness.
Moreover, it should help you adjust your dosage with ease for a sublime experience. Therefore, avoid HHC products with unclear dosage and potency information.
High-quality HHC product ingredients translate to high-quality products. Therefore, shop exclusively for HHC products made using HHC isolate extracted from the highest quality hemp grown in the US. Other quality ingredient markers for HHC products include all-natural organic ingredients like natural terpenes and flavors.
HHC is a rare cannabinoid, and if the listed price seems too good to be true, it probably is. However, expensive isn't always best; follow your intuition when shopping for HHC price deals.
Customer reviews are invaluable due diligence tools when identifying trustworthy HHC brands. If a company sells itself as reliable on its website but fail to live up to the image, you will establish its true essence by reading fellow consumer reviews. You can read on-page reviews or reviews on a brand's social media pages and cannabis engagement platforms.
Trustworthy HHC brands submit all their products for independent lab testing to ensure that you consume safe, contaminant-free HHC products. The certified labs that conduct the independent tests analyze HHC products for pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and toxins like mold and mildew.
Moreover, they also verify HHC potency, ensuring accurate product labeling. Therefore only buy HHC products with a certificate of analysis (COA) issued after third-party lab testing.
Is HHC Legal?
HHC's legality is yet another pertinent question to which consumers seek an answer. So is HHC legal? The answer is it's complicated.
The cannabinoid is federally legal as stipulated in the 2018 Farm Bill, for starters. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, it is legal to cultivate, process, and sell hemp-derived products with a THC content not exceeding 0.3%, including naturally occurring THC analogs.
On the other hand, the Federal Analog Act stipulates that "to the extent intended for human consumption, federal authorities shall treat controlled substance analogs as controlled substances." However, HHC bypasses the act because it is not a form of THC.
However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) argues that the above legislations do not apply to synthetic compounds, and HHC is deemed synthetic because its industrial production relies on chemical processes.
Consequently, several US state governments either ban or restrict HHC consumption within their jurisdictions. Therefore, HHC's legality depends on prevailing regulatory laws on the cannabinoid within your area code.
You should consider avoiding taking HHC products if you are likely to take an HHC drug test in jurisdictions where it is illegal. However, whether HHC will fail a drug test is unclear because it does not feature on standard drug tests, yet it shares some THC metabolites.
The HHC high is likely here to stay, given that more consumers are purchasing and enjoying the HHC cannabinoid product range. Moreover, cannabis brands are also working to improve HHC product variety, quality, and potency. However, step away from the buzz and gain consumer information to make an informed decision when buying HHC.