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A Guide to HHC: Everything You Want to Know

As more forms of cannabis and THC become available to people across the country, one of the newest and most intriguing products is HHC. This minor cannabinoid is not THC but is psychoactive and can provide a potentially less intense and longer-lasting high compared to standard marijuana. If you’re interested in trying HHC but aren’t sure exactly what it is or how it could affect you, take a moment to review some of the top pieces of information you should know about HHC. 

What Is HHC?

HHC, or Hexahydrocannabionol, is a minor cannabinoid first discovered in 1944 when a chemist, Roger Adams, found he could make it by using hydrogenation on Delta 9 THC. This hydrogenation process converts Delta 9 into HHC, producing a unique minor cannabinoid. Like Delta 9 THC, HHC binds to cannabinoid receptors and is psychoactive. 

How Is HHC Made?

While some research suggests that cannabis may contain trace amounts of naturally occurring HHC, its trace quantities make it difficult to harvest from the cannabis plant. Due to the costly and difficult nature of extracting HHC from cannabis plants, most HHC is produced in a lab via hydrogenation, much like how Roger Adams first discovered it. 

When HHC is produced in a lab, it will start as Delta 9 THC. The lab will then modify the structure of the Delta 9 THC with hydrogenation, which replaces the Delta 9 THC’s double bound with two hydrogen atoms. This process converts the Delta 9 THC into HHC. Hydrogenation also makes HHC more stable than Delta 9 THC, meaning it’s less likely to be damaged by heat and UV light while also having an increased shelf life.

What Does HHC Feel Like? Does HHC Get You High?

Since HHC is psychoactive and active HHC molecules bind with cannabinoid receptors, many users report that it makes them feel high and mildly intoxicated. Some users also believe that HHC tends to deliver more of a body high than a head high. Common effects you might experience while enjoying HHC include euphoria and calmness. However, some users also find that HHC can provide an energizing feeling, so effects may vary based on the user.

Does HHC Have Side Effects?

While HHC was discovered over 75 years ago, research into the cannabinoid’s side effects is fairly limited. Due to the lack of research about HHC, factual claims about HHC’s side effects aren’t currently available. However, we do know that HHC is psychoactive, and anecdotal reports suggest it could have similar side effects to Delta 9 THC.

These similar side effects may include dry mouth, paranoia, hunger, anxiety, insomnia, and red or dry eyes. If you’ve experienced any of these side effects after taking Delta 9 THC, you’ll likely want to take it slow with HHC. Starting with a smaller dose can help you see if you experience the same side effects and gauge the intensity of them.

HHC Vs. Delta 9: How Are Delta 9 and HHC Different?

While HHC and Delta 9 have very similar molecule structures, HHC contains hydrogen bonds, while Delta 9 contains double carbon bonds. This difference is caused by the way HHC is produced via hydrogenation, as this process converts THC into HHC by replacing the carbon bonds with hydrogen.

The difference in Delta 9 and HHC’s molecular structure causes them to have different effects. For example, HHC tends to produce less powerful effects than Delta 9 THC, and some users report that HHC provides a more clear-headed high compared to Delta 9’s more “stoned” high. Generally, people think HHC is about 70% to 80% as potent as Delta 9, making it a good choice for those who find Delta 9 to be anxiety-inducing or too strong. Anecdotally, some users also report that HHC’s effects last longer than Delta 9 THC.

Besides the potential difference in their effects, HHC is usually created via a chemical reaction in a lab, while Delta 9 THC is harvested from marijuana plants. HHC also has a longer shelf-life compared to standard THC, meaning you can store it longer without losing its potency. 

Does HHC Contain THC?

Due to the hydrogenation process, HHC on its own should not contain THC. Though HHC starts as THC, hydrogenation changes it into a unique minor cannabinoid. That being said, some HHC products may be combined with Delta 8 THC or other forms of THC. Additionally, legally sold HHC may contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC on a dry weight basis. 

So, while HHC on its own shouldn’t contain THC, HHC products often have at least trace amounts of THC in them, meaning you should check with the manufacturer if you’re trying to avoid consuming THC.

Does HHC Have Medical Benefits?

Based on the limited research about HHC, you can’t find much information on any potential medical benefits of HHC. However, a couple of studies may indicate there may be some potential medical benefits. For example, one preclinical study found that HHC had pain-killing effects on rats, but more research needs to be conducted on its potential pain-killing effects on humans. Another study showed that HHC synthetic analogs (LYR-7 and LYR-8) inhibited tumor growth

Despite these studies, much more research needs to be performed about HHC’s potential medical benefits.

Is HHC Legal Nationally? Is HHC Legal in North Carolina?

As of May 2023, HHC is legal federally and in North Carolina. HHC’s legality is due to the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized many types of cannabis products across the country, such as HHC, Delta 8, and Delta 10. As long as HHC and other cannabis products contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 on a dry-weight basis, the federal government allows them to be sold. 

While some states have banned HHC, North Carolina still allows HHC to be sold as long as it adheres to federal rules. Since the rules surrounding HHC and other products like it are subject to change at any point, it’s important to check with your local, state, and federal government prior to purchasing a product containing HHC.

Will HHC Cause You to Fail a Drug Test?

While HHC isn’t Delta 9 THC, it may cause you to fail a drug test. The most common drug tests that check for marijuana will look for 11-hydroxy-THC, a minor active metabolite. One study found that small rodents metabolized HHC molecules in a similar way to Delta 9 THC but produced 11-hydroxy-HHC instead of 11-hydroxy-THC. 

Despite the difference in the metabolites HHC produces, drug tests often can’t determine the difference between the two metabolites. This inability to detect the difference could cause you to fail a drug test. Additionally, some HHC products may have tiny amounts of Delta 9 THC, which could also cause a failed drug test. This potential for a positive test result means we don’t recommend you take HHC if your employer requires you to take drug tests.

Is HHC Safe?

Currently, there’s not enough research on HHC to verify how safe HHC is to consume. As a result, it’s often best to speak with your doctor before trying HHC and ensure you’re buying HHC from a reputable manufacturer with a track record of delivering high-quality THC and HHC products. 

Where Can You Buy HHC?

You can find HHC in brick-and-mortar stores and online stores across the country where it’s legal. HHC can come in a variety of product types, such as HHC gummies, distillate syringes, tinctures, and prerolls. If you receive a smokeable HHC product, it’s likely made from HHC-infused or coated hemp flower. 

Regardless of the product type or the seller, you should always check that the product has a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from a third-party lab. If a product doesn’t have a COA attached to it, you won’t have any information on its quality or the cannabinoids contained in it. A COA can help you verify there are no heavy metals, pesticides, or mold in the product, and it should contain information about the levels of HHC and other cannabinoids in the product. 

Turn to Carolindica for HHC Gummies and Products

If you’re interested in trying HHC, Carolindica has a handcrafted product for you. At Carolindica, we offer HHC gummiestinctures, and distillate syringes to ensure our customers always have an HHC product right for them. As we manufacture our HHC products, we craft them in small batches and source only top-tier ingredients. Due to our product-oriented approach and high standards, you can expect to receive an excellent cannabis product at an even better price.

Learn more about our HHC gummies and other HHC products today. If you have any questions or want any recommendations on the right HHC product, please contact us.

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