What is HHC?
Move over delta-10, delta-9, delta-8, and even delta-O THC: there’s a brand new cannabinoid on the scene.
We’re talking about HHC, of course! Of all the cannabinoids available on the market today, not many are more mysterious than this one. And that means users have questions…questions about what HHC is, what it does, and if it’s even safe or not.
In this article we’ll be covering all these questions and more, so stay tuned!
- HHC 101
- How is HHC made?
- Is it safe to make HHC?
- How powerful is HHC?
- Does HHC show up on a drug test?
- Is HHC legal?
- Where to find premium HHC products
HHC is a ‘trace cannabinoid’ whose popularity has skyrocketed only within the last year. Compared to better-established alternatives like delta-9 THC or CBD, HHC just feels full of potential. Hemp/cannabis retailers attest that HHC is one of their fastest-growing products.
Its popularity also comes at a pretty convenient time. A growing number of state agencies have taken to banning delta-8 THC, leaving HHC to fill the hemp-derived voice. People in these states are flocking to either delta-10 or HHC as alternatives.
What is HHC like? Users describe it as a more energetic form of ‘regular’ delta-9 THC. It usually provides feelings of hope, upliftment, and mental clarity. It may also be easier to dose than other forms of THC…but more on that later.
How is HHC made?
HHC was discovered — and created — by American chemist Roger Adams in 1944.  Adams synthesized HHC by hydrogenating THC to a new hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) form.
In modern times most HHC is made from industrial hemp. Because hemp is low in THC, manufacturers typically synthesize it from CBD instead. This hemp-derived HHC is generally recognized as legal per the same 2018 Farm Bill that legalized CBD.
Here’s a closer look at the process:
- First, CBD is extracted from hemp flower using CO2 or another safe solvent
- This extracted CBD is then distilled down into a powdery CBD isolate form
- Next, CBD is placed into a chemical reactor, and out comes HHC!
- Finally, HHC is refined and distilled, which lightens its color and makes it easier to use
Why the lack of info regarding HHC production? Because HHC is still cutting-edge enough that many companies use proprietary methods to make it.
Is it safe to make HHC?
Most people consider HHC safe to make, use, and consume.
That being said, there are right ways and wrong ways to make HHC. HHC needs to be produced in a fully-equipped lab to be fully safe. Making HHC without the proper equipment can result in explosions, so many leading manufacturers produce their HHC in an explosion-proof, electrically-grounded lab.
The first isomer, 9R HHC, is thought to be roughly as potent as delta-8 THC. When taken at high doses it can even rival delta-9.  HHC is similar to other forms of THC, but generally less potent on a mg:mg basis.
Many HHC users report a mild, cerebral, and overall pleasant high. Pain relief and muscle relaxation are also common ‘side benefits’ of HHC. Many users take it, head to the gym, and get to work! Want to work out pain-free? Consider trying HHC for yourself. (As always, start with a low dose until you know how it’ll affect you.)
How powerful is HHC?
Another thing to keep in mind: most HHC products don’t contain entirely 9R or 9S HHC. Most of them are actually a mixture of both!
Chromatography experts believe that any premium HHC concentrate should be comprised primarily of the active 9R isomer. At the very least HHC should be comprised of at least 50% 9R; in a best-case scenario, it could contain as much as 67% 9R.
Today’s technology doesn’t yet allow for a fully active, 100% 9R product. “Trying to get [these] two [HHC isomers] isolated and separated from each other would be so cost-ineffective that it wouldn’t really make a viable product,” one expert explains.
Does HHC show up on a drug test?
One of the most unique things about HHC is that it doesn’t seem to show up on drug tests. Many users say that HHC allows them to evade positive drug tests in a way that THC, delta-8 THC, and even CBD just can’t match!
So far, however, this concept is largely anecdotal. It’s thought that HHC doesn’t convert into 11-hydroxy-THC, the primary metabolite that drug tests look for, but more research is needed before we can really confirm or deny.  For these reasons we can’t recommend throwing caution to the wind. If you’d like to take HHC and stay in the good graces of your employer, consider letting them know that you’re taking a legal hemp-derived cannabinoid before a drug test.
Is HHC legal?
Speaking of legality, let’s move on to one of the most complex HHC questions of all: is it legal?
That depends on who you ask. Many companies make a good point in arguing that HHC is legal because it’s derived from hemp’s CBD content — not its THC content. These companies claim that HHC is clearly legal on the federal level via the same 2018 Farm Bill that legalized CBD and delta-8 THC.
Small amounts of HHC are naturally found in the pollen and seeds of mature hemp plants, proponents say, allowing this cannabinoid to be classified as non-synthetic.  Even mainstream sources are now acknowledging that HHC is federally legal…though they also mention that it may not be shippable to all 50 states.
If you live in a state that’s not yet HHC-friendly, don’t worry. We simply won’t ship to you!
Where to find premium HHC products
Determining the quality of any given HHC-infused product is easy. Just look for the same metrics you’d expect to see in any other premium product. Consider asking yourself the following before you buy:
- Is it fairly priced?
- Is it made in the US?
- Does it have good reviews from real customers?
- Does it have good lab test results (also called COA’s)?
- Is it made using ‘safe’ extraction methods like ethanol or CO2 extraction?
There’s also one metric where premium HHC products differ from other hemp products. Unlike the rest, HHC products don’t need to be full spectrum or broad spectrum. That’s because they’re produced from CBD isolate, not whole plant extracts. Thankfully HHC isolate is effective enough!
Check out our HHC selection here. And be sure to check back often — the product lineup should continue to expand in the near future.
Summing things up
HHC is a newly-popular cannabinoid with some very interesting properties. While it hasn’t been studied as much as many other hemp compounds, initial reports suggest it has uplifting, energizing, cognitive-centric effects.
If you live in an area where other THC isomers are illegal — or even if you just want to try something new — then don’t neglect the role that HHC could play in your health and wellness routine!