What is hexahydrocannabinol (HHC)?

What is hexahydrocannabinol (HHC)?

What is tetrahydrocannabinol (HHC)? This question now brings one of the emerging cannabinoids into the sphere of interest. Their theme is quite essential in today’s cannabis and hemp industry. New compounds, such as HHC, are investigated for their unique features and potential benefits while the landscape of cannabinoid research keeps expanding.

It is essential for both industry professionals and consumers to become aware of these less well-known cannabinoids, as they may have a massive role in the future of cannabis-based therapies and products. HHC has been fostering increased interest from scientists and aficionados alike in its effects and uses.

Like most other cannabinoids, there will be two primary paths to understanding HHC completely: one through scientific scrutiny and the other through anecdotal reporting. This task is critical for the accurate provision of information and the safe and effective use of cannabis-derived compounds across a variety of health and wellness contexts.

Key takeaways

  • HHC is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid produced from CBD through hydrogenation.
  • It influences the body’s endocannabinoid system by attaching to cannabinoid receptors.
  • The safety and efficacy of HHC are not well-established, necessitating further research.
  • HHC products such as gummies and vape pens are available online and in vape shops.
  • Legal implications of HHC vary and are often ambiguous, requiring regulatory scrutiny.

Understanding hexahydrocannabinol (HHC)

Let’s explore hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) and what it is. We’ll look into its beginnings, what it’s made of, and how it stacks up against other cannabinoids. Even though HHC is getting more and more attention, knowing its basic facts is key.

The origins of HHC

In 1940, researchers described HHC for the first time. This makes it one of the oldest synthetic cannabinoids we know. HHC is made by adding hydrogen to cannabidiol (CBD) in a lab. This makes it different from cannabinoids found in plants, like Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC.

Chemical structure

HHC is really just a changed form of Delta-9 THC when you look at its structure. This change affects how it works with our body’s natural cannabinoid system. HHC has two versions, and one of them acts a lot like Delta-9 THC in our bodies.

Comparison with other cannabinoids

HHC versus THC: Both HHC and THC interact with the same receptors in our body. HHC is man-made and has mild effects. It’s not clear how strong HHC is compared to more well-known THC types like Delta-8 THC, mainly because not enough research has been done yet.

HHC versus Delta-8: People aren’t sure if HHC or Delta-8 THC is less intense. We need more research to know for sure. Both HHC and Delta-8’s safety profiles and effects are still being looked into. This means people should use them carefully. It’s important to understand the differences between HHC and other popular cannabinoids.

How HHC interacts with the endocannabinoid system

Studies have found that HHC links with the endocannabinoid system via CB1 and CB2 receptors. This link is like other cannabinoids, hinting that HHC could change how we feel, see things and other functions. Its effect on these receptors is key to how it changes our minds and bodies.

By 2022, the EMCDDA noted and discussed HHC’s connection with these systems at a meeting. This shows people are keen to learn more and are worried about HHC and similar substances. These substances can affect the receptors differently, depending on their structure.

Around 1986, we learned how to make hexahydrocannabinol and related substances with specific shapes to work best. Then in 1994, a study on a specific compound gave us more insight into how these substances work on our body’s receptors.

By 2013, a study on receptors had explored issues like addiction and tolerance to drugs that affect these receptors. This helped us learn more about the potential risks of these substances.

The table below shows the important moments and discoveries in HHC research:

1986Stereocontrolled synthesisOne-step synthesis of hexahydrocannabinol compounds
1994Pharmacological propertiesHigh-affinity cannabinoid agonist study
2011Anti-cancer agentsHexahydrocannabinol analogs inhibiting cell proliferation
2022EMCDDA meetingHexahydrocannabinol and related cannabinoids
2023Epimers characterisationSynthesis and characterisation of HHC diastereomers

All these studies have helped us learn more about HHC and its relations with our body’s systems. But, we still need more studies to understand HHC’s safety and effects on us fully.

HHC effects

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is a hot topic due to its similarities to THC. Despite this, there’s a lack of research on its effects and safety. It’s crucial to know what using HHC might mean, including its psychoactive properties. Also, considering its possible benefits and side effects is important for both consumers and researchers.

Psychoactive properties

HHC is said to act like THC but with some differences. It may make people feel happier and change how they see things. This is similar to the effects of THC. Still, we’re not sure exactly how strong HHC’s effects are. This uncertainty is because there haven’t been many studies on it yet.

Reported benefits

Some people claim that HHC makes them feel better or helps reduce pain. But, these are only stories from individuals. There hasn’t been enough research to say for sure these benefits are real. So, it’s wise to be careful and not completely trust these stories without strong proof.

Possible side effects

Like with THC, HHC might cause changes in how things look or make people’s moods swing. It could also affect how well you move and think. In rare cases with THC, people reported seeing or hearing things that weren’t there (hallucinations). But we don’t know if HHC can lead to these severe symptoms. To be certain, we need more studies on HHC’s risks.

What is hexahydrocannabinol HHC?

The journey to know Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) begins with how it’s made. Known as HHC, it starts as cannabidiol (CBD) changing into HHC. This change uses a special process where CBD gains hydrogen atoms. This new form, like HHC, is different from natural items such as Delta-9 THC.

HHC chemical composition

Safety and regulation

Deciding on rules for HHC is complicated. Its psychoactive nature means its legal status changes from place to place. Important groups, such as the FDA, have not approved HHC for health treatments. There’s little known about its safety, effects, and if it has harmful byproducts from making it. This lack of information shows the need for clear rules on how HHC is made. Plus, without tight rules, products might not always be safe or reliable for people to use.

Cannabinoid synthesisHydrogenation of CBD
Production methodLaboratory-based transformation
Metabolites11-Hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol, 8-Hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol
RegulationVaried, largely unregulated

Current regulatory status

The status of Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) regulations changes often. This change is due to laws about mind-altering drugs, both at home and around the world. In the UK, HHC is controlled by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. This act puts HHC in the same group as THC, in the world of drugs that mess with the mind. This makes it hard to figure out if using HHC is legal.

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

The UK’s Psychoactive Substances Act of 2016 tries to stop the spread of new drugs. Making and selling substances that might change how people think is now against the law. HHC and THC are seen in a similar light under this law. This makes the situation unclear, as some parts of the law can be understood differently. Companies and others selling these products must follow how these rules are being updated to stay legal.

Comparison to other jurisdictions

Worldwide, HHC’s legal status depends on whether it’s seen as completely synthetic or partially natural. For example, in the US, different states have different laws about HHC. Some states ban it, others follow general legal advice, which might still be unclear about HHC. Understanding HHC rules around the globe is vital for anyone working in this field to avoid legal trouble.

Because HHC is new and not much is known about its effects, some places act with extreme caution. They might treat it as a heavily controlled drug. Over time, countries might make their laws more focused on these new drugs. This means it’s very important to keep up with how countries are making and changing laws on HHC. Staying up-to-date with cannabinoid laws is crucial for anyone dealing with these substances, wherever they are in the world.

The different forms of HHC products

Hexahydrocannabinol, or HHC, comes in many forms. This lets people pick how they want to use it. The variety of forms shows how the cannabinoid market is growing. But, the set rules about its quality and safety are not always clear. This can worry people about what they’re buying.

HHC vape and HHC gummies

HHC gummies

HHC gummies are liked for being easy and tasty. They’re chewed and then flow into your system slowly. Yet, not every gummy has the same amount of HHC. So, it’s smart to buy from places you trust. Also, check if they’ve been tested in a lab for safety and how much HHC is in them.

HHC vape pens

Vaping HHC with pens is another popular way to use it. It’s quick and not obvious, good for on-the-go. Inhaling HHC through vaping lets you feel its effects faster than eating it. But vaping has its dangers too. Some studies look at how it might hurt your lungs. It’s important for users to know and keep up with the latest about vaping safety.

Other HHC products

HHC also comes in oils, pills, and lotions. They each do different things. Like, oils and pills work faster if you put them under your tongue. Lotions are good for targeting pain or swelling in one spot. The variety of HHC options means there’s something for everyone. Still, make sure to check where your HHC is from and if it’s regulated for safety.

HHC’s different products mean there’s a choice for everyone. HHC gummies and HHC vape pens are easy to use, which is a plus. But because the rules on safety aren’t clear, people need to be smart when they buy. Paying attention to what you’re getting is key to staying safe and healthy.

Health risks and precautions

HHC is often praised for its possible benefits, but we must remember the risks. It’s crucial to know how to stay safe. HHC, available as a cannabis and THC substitute, has some worrying health risks. In December 2022, experts highlighted the need for careful evaluation and safety checks.

HHC first showed up in Europe in May 2022 and quickly became popular. By March 2023, 20 countries in the EU, including Norway, had found HHC. This discovery has made us aware of the potential dangers of HHC. Between October 2022 and March 2023, there were about 50 seizures reported. This included around 70 kilos and nearly 100 litres of HHC.

The easy-to-use forms of HHC, like vape pens and edibles, mean we need to look out for people using them. The US 2018 Farm Bill allowed the growth of low-THC hemp, helping HHC spread. But the problem is, we don’t know much about the long-term safety of HHC.

Big finds in places like Italy, Poland, and Germany show that HHC could be in high demand. Known for products are closely watched by experts. Because HHC is new and there’s not a lot of solid research yet, we should be careful. With HHC becoming more available, strict safety checks are a must. They’re key to keeping people safe from potentially harmful cannabinoids.

CountrySeizures reportedSeized material (kg)Seized material (litres)
ItalyThree large seizures5050
PolandOne significant seizure1030
GermanyOne large seizure1020

HHC vs. other cannabinoids

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) stands out among other cannabinoids. It is important to compare HHC to well-known ones like THC, CBD, and Delta-8 THC. This helps us understand its unique features, legal aspects, and how users perceive it.


HHC and THC are alike, but they have differences. HHC binds to CB1 and CB2 links almost as well as THC does. Yet, it does not interact with CB2 as strongly as Delta-9 THC does. This makes HHC’s effects usually milder.


HHC is not like CBD; it can make you feel high. CBD is mainly known for not causing a high. HHC comes from changing CBD, adding to its interesting place in the cannabinoid group. While CBD is proven to offer health benefits, HHC’s effects are not well-researched. Plus, CBD is accepted more than HHC.

HHC vs. Delta-8

Delta-8 THC is rising in popularity. It’s similar to HHC in how strong its effects are. But, it works differently with the body. 9R-HHC has a unique impact compared to Delta-8 THC. This difference affects the ‘high’ they produce. While Delta-8 THC tends to give a milder high, HHC has its specific, also moderate, effects. However, the laws and views on these two cannabinoids vary widely.

Personal insight

As a professional in the CBD industry, I have found the emerging interest in Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) to be quite intriguing. HHC, a semi-synthetic cannabinoid produced through the hydrogenation of CBD, presents unique potential within the market. Its effects and interactions with the endocannabinoid system are similar to THC but are reported to be milder.

Understanding and navigating the regulatory landscape for HHC is crucial. While it offers promising benefits, the lack of comprehensive research and regulatory clarity necessitates cautious exploration. As we continue to study HHC, ensuring safety and efficacy remains paramount for both consumers and industry professionals.

Frequently asked questions

What is hexahydrocannabinol (HHC)?

HHC is made from CBD using a process called hydrogenation. It acts on the body’s endocannabinoid system. This affects different body activities and has similar effects to THC.

Is HHC legal?

The legality of HHC varies by jurisdiction and is currently ambiguous.

How does HHC interact with the body?

HHC interacts with the endocannabinoid system, specifically the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

What are the reported benefits of HHC?

People say HHC can make them feel happier and may help with pain. But, we need more studies to be sure these benefits are real.

What are the potential side effects of HHC?

Using HHC might make your senses feel different and can affect how you think. We’re not sure of its long-term safety. That’s why more research is needed.

What are the therapeutic benefits of HHC?

Potential benefits include pain relief, mood enhancement, and anti-inflammatory effects, though research is limited.

What are the different forms of HHC products?

You can find HHC in many forms, like gummies and vape pens. They are made to suit different preferences. But, it’s important to check their safety and quality.

Are there health risks associated with HHC?

There isn’t much research on the risks of using HHC long-term. Some people have reported bad effects. If you use HHC, be careful and learn about its risks.

How does HHC compare to CBD?

Unlike HHC, CBD doesn’t make you feel different and has known health benefits. HHC comes from CBD but affects you in a different way.

How does HHC compare to Delta-8 THC?

HHC and Delta-8 THC both affect your mind but are made differently. HHC comes from changing CBD with hydrogen. Delta-8 THC is found in hemp and cannabis plants naturally.

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