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What Is hhc (Hexahydrocannabinol)?

Hexahydrocannabinol, or HHC, is one of the newest and fastest-growing products to hit the cannabis market as of late. While most modern cannabis enthusiasts are familiar with THC and CBD, there are all kinds of cannabinoids under current study — many of which are being put to use due to their "loophole" status in regards to THC legality. So what is HHC? Let's get into it.

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What is HHC?

There have been almost 150 phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, though most of them have not been isolated or well studied. Hexahydrocannabinol is a naturally occurring phytocannabinoid that is present in very low concentrations in the cannabis plant. HHC was first synthesized in 1947 by Roger Adams.

How Is HHC Made?

While HHC is present in cannabis plants naturally, it is there in very small concentrations — less than 0.1%. Because of this, the HHC that is being sold currently is generally a semi-synthetic product created through a process called hydrogenation (the same way that margarine is made!).

Basically, scientists use cannabinoids like CBD, Delta-8 THC, or Delta-9 THC (what people think of as THC — the main psychoactive component in plain ol' cannabis), which are present in much higher concentrations in cannabis, and combine them with hydrogen to create a new compound that still has the same properties as the natural one.

Roger Adams used Delta-9 THC in his original work in 1947 to synthesize HHC. However, today, most HHC is created from hemp-derived CBD — just like Delta-8 THC.

What Are the Effects of HHC?

Science has just not caught up to studying the effects of these cannabinoids as quickly as they are being synthesized. However, we do know that the process by which HHC is made — hydrogenation — makes products more shelf-stable. This could mean that HHC has a future as a longer-lasting and more stable option to Delta-8, or Delta-9 THC, which both degrade into CBN with time, heat, and light exposure.

Even though we don't have the science to back how HHC affects humans, we do know that it is chemically similar to Delta-9 THC. So it's not surprising that anecdotal evidence suggests that HHC creates similar effects — including pain relief, anxiety relief, relaxation, and happiness.

Does HHC Show Up on a Drug Test?

While many claim that HHC use will slide under the radar of a drug test, these claims are all anecdotal. There is currently no present data to prove that HHC doesn't convert to 11-hydroxy-THC (the metabolic product of THC drug tests are commonly looking for). So, if you are in a situation where you face being drug tested for THC, we would urge you to be cautious about using HHC.

Is HHC Legal?

HHC is currently legal to buy, sell, and consume. Although HHC was synthesized back in 1947, it has really only hit the market recently. Because of this, there are no real rules or regulations for HHC's production or sales... yet. Currently, HHC's legality is tied to the 2018 Farm Bill, like lots of other hemp-derived products on the market right now. By this standard, HHC is fully legal as long as it contains 0.3% or less Delta-9 THC.

What Is HHC? — A Final Word

So, science still needs to catch up a bit on the peer-reviewed and human-trial evidence to back products like HHC and other cannabis products that are new on the market. However, the reports from users deem this cannabinoid to be similarly effective to Delta-8 or Delta-9 THC use. And, preliminary research has yet to throw up any red flags about HHC's safety and use.

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