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What is HHC?

After the wild success of delta 8 THC as a legal alternative to the more controlled availability of delta 9 THC, the cannabis industry sought other lesser known cannabinoids to compete in the diverse cannabis market. One of the newest and most promising is hexahydrocannabinol, usually abbreviated to HHC.

HHC is a relative of THC that has long been known to science, but until recently was often debated by cannabis users. It is a minor cannabinoid; it occurs naturally in cannabis, but in quantities too small to make extraction cost-effective. As commercial production is just starting, it is still not well known.

Most cannabinoids can be converted into other cannabinoids by changing the chemistry of the molecules. Like delta 8 THC and delta 10 THC, commercial HHC is made from CBD obtained from hemp in the laboratory through chemical processes. Compared to delta 8 and delta 10, one big legal advantage: it is not called THC.

How is HHC produced?

He discovered HHC in the 1940s. years of the last century, chemist Roger Adams. He created HHC by adding hydrogen to the THC molecule and changing its physical properties. The process, called hydrogenation, is first described in a 1947 patent document.

Hydrogenation modifies the structure of delta 9 THC by replacing the double bond with two hydrogen atoms. This will change its molecular weight and also make it more stable. According to Mark Scialdone, chemist and head of science at BR Brands, hydrogenation improves “stability and resistance to thermo-oxidative degradation” – meaning HHC has a longer shelf life and is less susceptible to damage from UV light and heat.

Will we be ‘high’? Does it have side effects?

This is a bit tricky. Although HHC is not technically THC, it has similar effects – if you use enough of it. When produced in the laboratory, a batch of HHC is a mixture of active and inactive HHC molecules. Active HHC binds well to your body’s cannabinoid receptors; others don’t.

Manufacturers have not yet figured out a cost-effective way to separate the high-efficiency HHC from its low-efficiency twin. So commercial HHC – which is a mix of the two forms – can be a bit of a dud for the buyer. But it has noticeable effects. User reports generally describe it as somewhere between delta 8 and delta 9 THC.

Almost everything we know about the effects and side effects of HHC is anecdotal. This means that users are reporting the same set of side effects known to users of delta 9 THC. Anxiety and paranoia, dry mouth, dry and red eyes, hunger and insomnia.


Will it show up in a drug test?

It appears that it may not break down in the body in the same way as THC. Unlike the delta 8, delta 9, and delta 10 forms of THC, there is some evidence that it does not metabolize to 11-hydroxy-THC, the breakdown substance that many drug panels test for.

But this has not been studied and is not certain. No one knows for sure yet that it won’t leave traces of use in your blood, urine or hair. If your employer tests for drug use, we advise you not to risk your job by using HHC.

Does it have health benefits?

HHC has not been widely studied, unlike more abundant cannabinoids such as delta 9 THC or CBD, but there is some promising research. A 2011 study showed that some synthetic analogues of hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) “strongly inhibited angiogenesis and tumor growth induced by breast cancer cells”. Japanese researchers published a paper in 2007 describing the impressive ability of HHC to block pain in mice. But it’s probably too early to tell whether it has much promise as a therapeutic drug.

Is it legal and will it stay legal?

Congress made the hemp plant and all its derivatives federally legal in the 2018 Farm Bill — as long as the plant, or anything made from it, contains less than 0.3 percent delta 9 THC.

Although it occurs naturally in the hemp plant, the commercial type is produced by hydrogenating hemp-derived cannabinoids under pressure with a catalyst such as palladium. Scientists at the National Cannabis Industry Association call the result a ‘semi-synthetic’ cannabis compound.

In May 2022, 9. the US Circuit Court confirmed that delta 8 THC is legal under the Farm Bill definition of hemp and that all other compounds and derivatives of hemp are also legal as long as they do not contain more than what is allowed. a maximum of 0.3 percent delta 9 THC. This apparently makes HHC a legal cannabis product and offers protection to manufacturers and sellers of HHC (and delta 8 and delta 10 THC, THC-O and THCP), although some lawyers note that other federal courts could reach different conclusions.

However, HHCs could still be banned by individual states. This is likely if it becomes popular enough to threaten sales in the legal cannabis market, as we have seen with delta 8 THC.

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