There are many intriguing possibilities with HHC, but they also raise a lot of concerns.
HHC, on the other hand, has been relatively obscure. Delta 8 THC, delta-0 THC, and delta-10 THC are just a few of the many hemp-derived cannabinoids that have swept the nation—along with their associated undesirable side effects. Googling the chemical yields a slew of conflicting facts: about legality, bodily reactivity, and even whether cannabis contains it naturally.
Hemp-derived HHC isn’t THC, but it offers a THC-lite experience.
The jargon and intricacies of HHC are tough to comprehend, in part because it is relatively new and only a few shops sell it, mostly as vape carts. However, the cannabinoid has a lot of promise; don’t be shocked if you start hearing more about it soon.
HHC’s image is one of legality, with its products labeled as hemp extracts rather than cannabis oils. Because it isn’t really a THC compound, the most common hemp-derived cannabinoid, delta-8 THC, remains banned by state and federal agencies. It may also defy drug tests, although there’s no evidence to support that.
“HHC will be one of our fastest-growing products,” David McGinnis, co-founder of Hemp Lively, a major seller of the cannabinoid. Delta-8 has been prohibited by regulations in some states, but customers are purchasing it in those places where they can buy Delta-8 as well.
Read on to learn more about HHC: how it’s made, what it does, and where the gray area is.
So what is HHC?
The concept of HHC was first developed in 1944 by the American chemist Roger Adams, who combined Delta-9 THC with hydrogen molecules. THC is converted to hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) through hydrogenation.
The end result of hydrogenation is not only cannabis oil. Vegetable oil is converted to margarine in a similar manner.
These days, the cannabinoid is generally produced through a procedure that begins with hemp, the low-THC cannabis plant that was made legally legal by Congress in the 2018 farm bill. Adams originally developed HHC from THC derived from ordinary marijuana.
What is HHC and how does it work?
It’s a multi-step procedure. First, CBD is extracted from raw hemp and then distilled and concentrated in a powder form. From there, things get more technical.
Hemp-derived CBD acts as the base for the chemical reaction that creates HHC.
HHC manufacturing is a proprietary process that takes place inside a chemical reactor. In goes CBD, out comes HHC.
HHC is a gold dark oil that we refine from that stage before distilling it.
Is it safe to manufacture HHC?
In the last few months, scientific director at KCA Laboratories in Nicholasville, Kentucky, Richard Sams has analyzed HHC goods. He stated that HHC may be manufactured safely in a modern laboratory. However, if production is increased, so does the danger of explosions. “The hazard here is explosions,” he continued.
“We only do our HHC in an explosion-proof location,” says Colorado Chromatography’s Kyle Ray. “Everything is grounded,” he added. “There’s no danger of static discharge.”
What happens to the body and mind when you consume HHC?
There is a lack of agreement regarding HHC’s efficacy. The difficulty stems, in part, from the fact that when cannabinoids are produced, they result in a mix of two distinct types of HHC molecules: 9R HHC actively binds to body’s natural endocannabinoid receptors while 9S HHC, owing to its slightly different molecular structure, doesn’t do so as effectively.
While delta-8 THC’s effects are similar to those of THC, it takes a much greater dose to achieve the same result. “THC-like effects can be seen with a sufficient amount of drug,” said Richard Sams of KCA Laboratories.
HHC, on the other hand, has THC-like effects and qualities on the body and mind, although it is not as powerful in terms of milligrams per milligram as delta-8 THC. Delta-8 THC is thought to be roughly 50% less potent than delta-9 THC in general.
What is HHC’s strength?
Kyle Ray, of Colorado Chromatography has been quoted saying “while the ratios of the active and inactive HHC molecules can vary from batch to batch, they need to be at least 50% active to pass muster.”
I tried it: HHC offered a pleasant and mildly cerebral high, with some pain relief.
“Getting those two isolated and separated from each other is so costly that it wouldn’t make a good product,” he continued. “So, when we’re producing our HHC, our objective is always to maximize the amount of active [compound] and minimize the amount of inactive [compound]. It’s never a completely perfect strategy. It’s usually in the vicinity of 2:1 or 1:1.”
Is HHC detected in a drug test?
Some believe that some of HHC’s appeal stems from evidence suggesting that it can evade drug tests. But—and this is important—the evidence is only anecdotal. This is just what customers are saying.
“I’ve seen the same arguments made about HHC,” Stephens, vice-president of innovation at Creo, a biotech firm specializing in cannabinoids, said. “I’ve also seen it claimed that [HHC] does not transform into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is a common drug test metabolite. It may be utilized to elude drug testing programs if this turns out to be true,” he continued.
There is no hard evidence that HHC does not appear on a drug test for marijuana, so to speak. Don’t put your livelihood or career on the line based on personal experience.
Is HHC safe to ingest?
There is no defined amount for HHC, and there is little to no information on the short- or long-term consequences of ingestion. Like any other new hemp-derived cannabinoid, there is no established dose and little research on its immediate or long-term effects.
Hemp-derived cannabinoids (including HHC) are not subject to cannabis regulations in legal adult-use states, therefore HHC product producers and retailers are not required to test their products for potency and purity.
What’s the legal status of HHC?
Finally, we arrive at perhaps the most contentious issue of all: Is HHC legal?
Most hemp product retailers argue that since HHC is hemp-derived, and not actually THC, they should be in the clear. Most say, HHC vapes, gummies and edibles are perfectly legal on the federal level and will most likely remain legal on the state level as well.
Although it has been claimed that since HHC is found in hemp plant seeds and pollen, it is non-synthetic, numerous experts disagree. Others are less so. According to James Stephens, the cannabinoids researcher at Creo, HHC is subject to the Federal Analogue Act, which says that any substance that is analogous to a Schedule I drug—in this case, regular THC—would itself be a Schedule I drug.
Because THC is still illegal, HHC would also be unlawful. K2 and Spice are synthetic drugs that resemble THC and are likewise classified as Schedule 1 substances.
For the time being, HHC products are in a gray legal zone that separates hemp (which is lawful in all 50 states) from cannabis (which is not). Consumers will need to evaluate the risks and benefits of these chemicals for themselves, until HHC becomes part of a state-controlled system.