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Cannabis Column | June 21, 2022

What is HHC? Everything you need to know about Hexahydrocannabinol

Do you want to learn about Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC)? Many people who hear about this new cannabinoid wonder, “what is HCC?”

In this article, we will answer all of your questions about HHC such as ''does HCC get you high?”, “'will HCC show up on a drug test?”, “is HCC safe?”, and “does HCC contain THC?” 

What is HHC (cannabinoid)?

Hexahydrocannabinol, or HHC, is an artificial cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds in cannabis that bind to receptors in your body and brain. To learn about the science, check out your unique endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most well-known cannabinoids. The cannabis plant naturally produces these cannabinoids. However, HHC is artificial, meaning the cannabis plant does not naturally produce it. HHC is starting to gain some attention because people are finding it produces mild intoxicating effects similar to THC. 

What does HHC stand for?

HCC stands for Hexahydrocannabinol.

Hexahydrocannabinol was first discovered by chemist Rodger Adams in the 1940s when he added hydrogen to THC, a process known as hydrogenation. The hydrogenation of THC changes its molecular structure by replacing THC's double bond with two hydrogen atoms. This molecular change results in HCC being:

  • Less potent than delta-9-THC
  • Having a longer shelf life
  • Being less prone to degradation due to UV light
  • Being less prone to degradation due to heat

Does HHC get you high?

Many people curious about HCC want to know "does HHC contain THC?" and "does HHC get you high?" As we mentioned, people have found HHC produces similar intoxicating effects to THC. As a result, HHC will get you high, but as we will discuss momentarily, HHC is less potent than THC.

Does HHC contain THC?

HHC is synthetically derived from THC. HHC does not contain THC.

When THC is hydrogenated, two types of HHC molecules are created: 9R HHC and 9S HHC.

9R HHC actively binds to the body's endocannabinoid receptors, creating euphoric effects similar to THC. However, the compound 9R HHC is not the same compound as Delta-9-THC. 9S HHC is not considered “active” as it does not bind to the body's endocannabinoid receptors and thus does not create euphoric effects in the way that 9R HHC does.

While HCC is derived from THC, and will result in mild euphoric effects similar to THC, it does not contain any THC as it's a different compound after hydrogenation.

Is HHC strong?

HHC is said to have less potency than delta-8-THC which has approximately half the potency of delta-9-THC.

HHC's drop in potency is due to the molecular change it undergoes. When THC is hydrogenated and turned into HCC, the ratio of 9R HHC (active molecules) and 9S HHC (inactive molecules) is 1:1 or 2:1, which makes HHC less potent than THC. 

Will HHC show up on a drug test?

If you are subject to drug testing, you should know the answer to, “will HHC show up on a drug test?"

Cannabis drug tests screen for 11-Nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH). THC-COOH is a metabolite, an intermediate or end product of metabolism, that indicates if a person has consumed THC. When you take a cannabis drug test, the presence or absence of THC-COOH determines if you pass or fail the drug test. If you are subject to drug testing, you should know how long does weed stay in your system?

Does HHC show up on a drug test?

HCC is a new artificial cannabinoid that lacks sufficient research. No formal research has been conducted to determine if HHC will cause a THC drug test to fail.

However, anecdotal reports indicate that HHC does not show up on drug tests and doesn't cause the body to produce THC-COOH. That said, HHC is a novel cannabinoid, and if you are subject to drug testing, it is best to avoid consuming HHC. 

Is HHC safe?

The production of HHC can easily cause an explosion and should only be done by professionals. It is not safe to attempt to make HHC at home.

HHC can be derived from legal hemp plants with less than 0.3 percent THC. Hemp-derived cannabinoids do not have cannabis regulations requiring lab tests for purity, potency, and harmful substances.

The lack of testing can result in HHC products that contain harmful substances or that have a different potency than stated.

Anecdotal reports indicate that overconsumption of HHC has similar side-effects to THC including:

  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Paranoia
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Red eyes
  • Sleep disturbance

What is HHC Vape?

HHC can be synthesized and manufactured into products for different methods of consumption. An HHC vape is concentrated HHC that has been put into a cartridge for inhalation. You can find HHC vape oil or disposable HCC vape pens in states without recreational cannabis.

Due to the intense and dangerous hydrogenation process, only a handful of companies in the United States produce HHC and manufacture it into oil.

We hope this article has answered all your Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) questions!

To summarize, HHC is an artificial cannabinoid made from hydrogenated THC. It is less potent than delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC and is not likely to show up on a drug test, but it is not recommended to consume HHC if you are subject to drug testing.

Get started on your cannabis wellness journey

Have you started your cannabis wellness journey? Jointly is a new cannabis wellness app that helps you discover purposeful cannabis consumption so you can achieve your wellness goals with cannabis and CBD. On the Jointly app, you can find new cannabis products, rate products based on how well they helped you achieve your goals, and track and optimize 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. These 15 factors include your dose, the environment in which you consume cannabis, who you are with when you ingest, how hydrated you are, the quality of your diet, how much sleep you got last night, and more. Download the Jointly app on the App Store or the Google Play Store to get started on your cannabis wellness journey.

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