What is HHC?

what is hhc

HHC, or Hexahydrocannabinol, is a substance with effects similar to the psychoactive compound THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) found in marijuana. However, mature cannabis plants contain only trace amounts, making its extraction not very economical. Thus, manufacturers typically synthesize the substance in laboratories by altering the molecular structure of legally available cannabinoids like CBD (Cannabidiol), which can be obtained relatively cheaply.

Currently, HHC is largely unregulated. For example, the European Union has not established clear rules for categorizing HHC products. Since most products contain undetectable levels of THC, they are not considered drugs. This is even though one version 9-nor-9beta-hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol – is listed as a banned substance in Slovakia. HHC products are readily available in stores or vending machines in countries like the USA, Spain, and Germany.

“The semi-synthetic compound was first discovered in the 1940s by a chemist named Roger Adams through a process called hydrogenation. Adams added two hydrogen molecules to delta-9 THC, the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis, to convert THC to HHC.” Way of Leaf

What is HHC? How is it made?

HHC is a semisynthetic substance similar to THC. It can be produced in two ways: naturally within cannabis plants or synthetically in a laboratory. Since marijuana contains only minimal amounts, manufacturers synthesize it from other cannabinoids that are legally available.

Much like Delta-8 THC or Delta-10 THC, HHC is produced by modifying the molecular structure of CBD. Nowadays, CBD is widely available and inexpensive, making the production of products simple. However, this ease of production can also reflect on the quality of the products, which has a significant impact on the effect itself.

“HHC has been claimed by many to be naturally occurring in trace amounts in cannabis; however, that has not been proven by peer-reviewed research. Therefore, all products on the market is currently derived through THC conversion or some other synthetic process. “
Roger Brown for

HHC is created through a process of hydrogenation, which replaces a double bond with two hydrogen atoms, resulting in a more stable chemical structure compared to other cannabinoids. This stability enhances the effectiveness of HHC and its shelf life, maintaining a high quality of the active ingredient.

What are the Effects and Side Effects?

HHC has effects similar to THC, including potential psychoactive and side effects. Users often compare its effects to those of weaker synthetic cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC or Delta-10 THC. However, the issue lies in the fact that many available products containing this potent ingredient include both active and inactive cannabinoids. The active type is acceptable as it produces very noticeable effects, whereas the inactive type reduces the effectiveness of the active cannabinoid. Since adjusting their ratio is complicated for manufacturers, it often requires using larger amounts of the substance in lower-quality products compared to THC.

Potential effects:

  • Improved mood
  • Increased motivation
  • Reduced pain threshold
  • Increased appetite
  • Full-body relaxation
  • Enhanced focus

Potential side effects:

  • Mild dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Mild anxiety
  • Mild paranoia
  • Red eyes

Short-term use of HHC can lead to temporary and mild alterations in consciousness, slight euphoria, or strong physical relaxation, similar to a feeling of being “high”. The effects depend on various factors such as dosage, product quality, user metabolism, and the terpene profile of the product. High-potency products, which do not require extra high concentrations (e.g., 90% or more), offer the best effects.

What versions of HHC exist?

In addition to the classic version of the cannabinoid, there are also a number of its derivatives. The most well-known are HHC-O and HHC-P, which offer more intense effects on the human body. In practice, products containing these derivatives provide a stronger and longer-lasting experience. O can be twice as potent as the classic version, while P can be as much as 20 times stronger.

Molecules 9R and 9S and Their Ratios

Some HHC product manufacturers specify the ratio of 9R to 9S molecules. This detail helps potential customers better understand what a product, such as a vape pen or cartridge, offers. The ratio of these active ingredient molecules indicates the potency and strength of the cannabinoid. For optimal effectiveness and quality (which is also influenced by the purity of the product, such as in distillates), a common ratio is typically 1:1.

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