Delta 8 THC has been recently found to be a legal alternative to Delta 9 THC, and the cannabis industry has desired lesser-known cannabinoids to become available in the diverse cannabis space.
One of the latest cannabinoids and most promising is hexahydrocannabinol, abbreviated and also known as HHC.
What is HHC, or Hexahydrocannabinol?
HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol is a THC cannabinoid known for a long time to science, but not until recently discussed by cannabis users.
HHC is a minor cannabinoid. Minor cannabinoids are sometimes called “Stem cell cannabinoids” or “mother of cannabinoids” because it is an original cannabinoid produced early in a cannabis plant’s growth cycle. It is then synthesized through different metabolic processes as the plant matures.
HHC occurs naturally in cannabis but only in amounts too small to make extraction cost-effective. Commercial production of HHC is only being discovered and is still not widely known.
Most cannabinoids can be converted to other cannabinoids by altering the chemistry of cannabinoid molecules. Like delta 8 THC and delta 10 THC, commercial HHC is made from hemp-derived CBD. HHC’s legal advantage over delta 8 and delta 10 is that isn’t called THC.
How is HHC Produced?
HHC was discovered in the 1940s by a chemist, Roger Adams. who created HHC by adding hydrogen to the THC molecule and altering its physical properties. The process is called hydrogenation and is first described in a 1947 patent document.
Hydrogenation modifies the structure of delta 9 THC by replacing a double bond with two hydrogen atoms, changing its molecular weight and making it more stable. Hydrogenation improves stability and resistance to thermo-oxidative breakdown, meaning that HHC can have a longer shelf life and is less prone to damage caused by UV light and heat.
Does HHC get you High? What are the Side Effects?
HHC isn’t technically THC, but it does produce similar effects if you have enough of it. When produced in the lab, HHC is a mix of active and inactive HHC molecules. Active HHC binds well with your body’s cannabinoid receptors.
HHC does have noticeable effects. Some users describe the HHC high as being somewhere between delta 8 and delta 9 THC.
What we know about HHC’s effects today are anecdotal. Some users report the same set of side effects familiar to delta 9 THC users: anxiety and paranoia, dry mouth, dry and red eyes, hunger, and insomnia.
Is HHC Detectable in a Drug Test?
HHC may not break down in the body the same way as THC. Unlike delta-8 THC delta-9 THC, and delta-10 forms of THC, there is some evidence that HHC doesn’t metabolize into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is the breakdown substance most drug panels test for.
So far, no one knows exactly if HHC will leave evidence of use in your blood, urine, or hair. If an employer tests for drug use, it is suggested not to risk your job using HHC.
Medicinal Benefits of HHC
A 2011 study showed that some synthetic analogs of hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) “strongly inhibited breast cancer cell-induced angiogenesis and tumor growth.” Japanese researchers published a paper in 2007 describing HHC’s impressive pain-blocking capability in mice. But it is probably too early to say whether HHC has great promise as a therapeutic drug.
Is HHC Legal?
The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized the hemp plant and all its derivatives, unless the plant or anything made from it contains delta 9 THC at a concentration higher than 0.3 percent. HHC technically isn’t THC at all, and is considered a “semi-synthetic” cannabis compound.
HHC could get the attention of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as some experts think HHC falls under the Federal Analogue Act, which automatically classifies analogs of Schedule 1 drugs as Schedule 1 drugs.
Today HHC is probably too niche to catch the attention of lawmakers.
Where Can you Find HHC?
A simple Google search can bring up some online retailers offering a variety of HHC products. Many sellers offer vape carts filled with HHC oil or in the form of gummies. HHC flowers can sometimes be found coated or infused with HHC.
If HHC remains legally viable and cost-effective this promising cannabinoid can become more available and popular in the cannabis marketplace.