Contrary to popular belief, HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) isn’t a recent discovery among the cannabis plant cannabinoids. It was first synthesized in 1944 by an American organic chemist, Roger Adams. The recent fame the compound is getting is because people are searching for legal alternatives to delta-9 THC and are considering the option of THC derivatives, including HHC. Yet, little is known about this cannabinoid.  

So, what exactly is HHC, and how does it differ from THC? HHC is a hydrogenated form of the THC molecule. They have slightly different chemical structures. However, their significant difference is the potency. While HHC has a more prolonged effect period than THC, THC gives a more potent high. This article will explore HHC, its effects, legality, and safety. We’ll also highlight the difference between an HHC and a THC. Let’s get started. 

What is HHC?

Hexahydrocannabinol, HHC for short, is one of the naturally occurring psychoactive chemicals in cannabis plants—scientists have identified a hundred of them. 

Unlike other popular cannabinoids like CBD and THC, HHC naturally occurs in trace amounts in cannabis plants. However, it can be synthesized by adding hydrogen (the process of hydrogenation) to the THC cannabinoid.

Is HHC Stronger than THC?

The potency of HHC cannot be compared to that of THC. HHC has lower potency and produces a less psychoactive effect on the user. However, it is stronger than delta-8-THC. The compound’s popularity results from a relaxing effect that suits many users’ lifestyles. 

THC-O carts are the popular method of taking the compound. They hold THC-O extracts and other ingredients that create a smooth high and other effects. You can use cannabinoids like delta-8-THC, delta-9-THC, etc., on the device. The devices are common, but you can get the best collection of HHC Cartridges here. The best way to feel the effect of these cannabinoids is by using THC-O carts.

How Does HHC Act on Your Body?

There are many similarities, with a few minor differences between the mode of action of HHC and THC. This explains why both compounds have similar physiological effects to other cannabinoids.

HHC, like THC, explicitly targets the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors found around your brain and central nervous system—the endocannabinoid system. Targeting the CB1 receptor produces the euphoric high associated with cannabis.

THC produces a stronger high than HHC because it has a significantly higher affinity for the CB1 receptor. 

Effects of HHC

There are still many uncertainties about the effects of HHC because it’s a less popular cannabinoid, unlike THC. However, based on some users’ reviews and the similar mechanism of action with THC, it’s purported to make users feel less tense. While we don’t know much about its effects other than speculations, we do know that every HHC includes both high- and low-potency molecules—9R HHC and 9S HHC, respectively. 

Due to slight molecular changes, the active high potency HHC, 9R HHC, binds to endocannabinoid receptors in the body more effectively than 9S HHC. The effects of 9R HHC are similar to THC but require much greater doses of HHC for users to feel the impact. Manufacturers still struggle with finding the cost-effective separation of these two molecules.  

Is HHC Safe?

A common problem plaguing the hemp derivatives market is that you can’t always trust the product you’re getting. There are also issues with quality control due to the conversion of THC into HHC. Poor production technique would put users at risk of taking HHC that contains toxic metabolites similar to delta-8.

Also, there isn’t enough clinical research on the safety profile of ingesting HHC in people.

Is HHC Legal?

Congress made the hemp plant and its derivative legal through the 2018 Farm Bill. However, this is hinged on the fact that the plant and all its derivatives should not contain more than 0.3% delta-9 THC. While HHC is a naturally occurring plant, it is also produced artificially in which the cannabinoids are hydrogenated using a palladium-based catalyst under high pressure. The product is referred to as a “semi-synthetic” cannabis chemical.

This implies that HHC is a common hemp product that is helpful to those who produce and sell it (as well as delta 8 and delta 10 THC, THC-O, and THCP). Check your state’s stand on the legalization of HHC, as some states might think otherwise.

What is the distinction between THC and HHC?

Compare et al. (2007) states that there are many similarities between THC and HHC. Both cannabinoids have similar structures, potency levels, and effects on different conditions. However, there is still a gap between them, and there are five widespread differences between THC and HHC products.

  • Different bioavailability levels
  • HHC has a higher storage life
  • Different composition amounts in cannabis herb
  • Structurally, HHC does not contain double bonds in the chemical structure.
  • Distinct plant derivations

The two compounds have similar functions and reactions in the body. Therefore, they also produce similar body functions with their high effects. 


Now you know what HHC is and how it’s different from other cannabinoids. When it comes to THC-derived products like HHC, THC-O, and THCP, the main difference usually comes down to the potency. Before you take any cannabis-related substance, ensure you seek medical advice on dosage and safety.