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HHC vs. THC: How These Psychoactive Cannabinoids Differ from Each Other

Welcome to the world of psychoactive cannabinoids! You’ve probably heard of THC, the star compound responsible for the psychoactive high in cannabis plants. But have you met its lesser-known sibling, HHC? Today I will compare HHC and THC, their unique properties, and how they can influence your cannabis experience so you know what to expect.
Hayley Smith
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THC: The Most Famous Psychoactive Cannabinoid

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana plants and it is the cannabinoid that is responsible for the “high” and various therapeutic effects you feel when you smoke marijuana. It produces a sense of relaxation, euphoria, and heightened senses, but may also cause paranoia, anxiety, and even hallucinations.

THC has been studied for many years for its potential medical benefits, such as managing chronic pain, regulating nausea and vomiting, and supporting multiple sclerosis patients.

HHC: The Lesser-Known Sibling Cannabinoid

Since around 2021, HHC has entered the game as a psychoactive cannabinoid similar to THC but with a slightly different chemical structure, resulting in milder effects.

Users report that HHC products produce mildly intoxicating effects similar to THC but less potent, making it an intriguing alternative for those seeking a more relaxed experience.

The Chemical Differences Between HHC and THC

The chemical distinction between HHC and THC comes from the hydrogenation process. This process adds an extra hydrogen atom to HHC, making it more stable and less potent than THC. The lack of a double bond on the ninth carbon atom (hence the name Delta-9 THC) and the presence of more hydrogen in HHC sets it apart from THC chemically.

The hydrogenation process also affects HHC’s ability to bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors and certain pain receptors, drastically decreasing its binding affinity. This results in HHC’s increased stability, shelf life, and unchanged potency over a more extended period.

Comparing the Effects of HHC and THC

HHC and THC both have the potential to cause euphoria and altered perception. However, the psychoactive effects of HHC are generally considered milder in comparison to those of THC.

In my opinion, HHC creates a more clear-headed and relaxed effect compared to the intense high produced by THC. I would say it sits perfectly between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC.

On the other hand, is very very intense when consumed in medium to high doses. I am more than happy to have a 10mg THC gummy and I tend to get pretty scared when faced with a 25mg gummy. A lot of people get feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and dizziness and don’t enjoy the intense high that comes with D9 THC.

Legal Status and Regulations

The legal status of HHC and THC varies depending on state laws. We have an article that I will link to below that speaks about the state rules and regulations surrounding each cannabinoid including THC and HHC.

Safety Concerns and Responsible Use

Safety concerns surrounding HHC mainly stem from the lack of research and potential manufacturing risks, as most HHC products on the market are made by transforming THC through chemical reactions in a lab.

The production process of HHC goods is a big concern. In particular, the hydrogenation process presents numerous queries.

To ensure safety, it is essential to:

  1. Purchase hemp products from a reputable supplier
  2. Look for a supplier who provides a Certificate of Analysis conducted by a third-party lab
  3. Check the certificate for the active ingredient list and assurance of the absence of toxic byproducts

By following these steps, you can ensure the safety of HHC products.

THC’s safety concerns relate to its psychoactive effects and potential for abuse. Long-term THC use can severely impact learning and memory functions, especially in adolescents. It has been observed that such behavior may lead to substantial impairment in learning and memory formation abilities. It is advised to use cannabis products containing HHC or THC responsibly and in moderation to minimize the risk of adverse effects.

Choosing Between HHC and THC: Factors to Consider

I recommend that you try both THC and HHC (separately) to see which one you like better. Although the effects are somewhat similar, they are different enough that you definitely will find a favorite.

I personally, like a low dose of THC or a higher dose of HHC with HHC being better for me in the daytime because THC makes me more sleepy and relaxed.

If you are prone to anxiety or feelings of social discomfort, I would say that you should start with HHC and then move up to a mild dose of THC. Feel it out and get a sense of how your body reacts to each cannabinoid.

So which product should I get?

You have a massive variety of products to chose from that contain either HHC or THC, including:

  • Gummies
  • Vapes
  • Tinctures
  • Concentrates
  • Flower

We have articles that cover most of the different products and sensations that you can expect from each product type. Take a look at the articles below and make an educated decision before making an order.

Drug Testing and Detection

HHC detection in drug tests remains unclear, as it could be misidentified as THC-COOH, an inactive THC metabolite typically screened in urine drug tests for cannabis detection. As a precaution, it is highly recommended to abstain from HHC use for at least two weeks before a drug test.

It is important to keep in mind that using HHC may still trigger a positive drug test due to its similarity to THC-COOH. If you have an upcoming drug test, consider abstaining from all cannabis products, including HHC, to avoid any potential complications.

Potential Medical Benefits and Research

Both HHC and THC have potential medical benefits. While research on HHC is limited, anecdotal evidence from users suggests it may have potent:

  • pain-relieving effects
  • anti-inflammatory effects
  • anti-anxiety effects
  • neuroprotective properties

Further research is needed to fully understand HHC’s potential benefits and applications.

THC, on the other hand, has been studied more extensively for its therapeutic effects. It has shown promise in managing chronic pain, regulating nausea and vomiting, and supporting multiple sclerosis patients. As research on medical cannabis and cannabinoids like HHC and THC continues to progress, we may uncover even more potential medical benefits and applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is HHC stronger than THC?

HHC may be slightly more potent than the popular delta 8 THC, but its binding affinity to CB1 receptors is less than that of THC. Ultimately, HHC provides a milder high compared to THC, though it still produces feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and discomfort relief.

Will you fail a drug test with HHC?

It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid using HHC if you are concerned about failing a drug test, as anecdotal reports cannot definitively verify that it is undetectable. 11-hydroxy-HHC could still produce a positive result, so it’s safer to stay away from cannabinoids altogether when facing a drug screening.

What is the main difference between HHC and THC?

HHC is chemically distinct from THC, providing more stability and milder effects than its counterpart.

Is HHC legal?

HHC is 100% legal, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC – making it the perfect choice for those looking to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without breaking the law.

What are the potential medical benefits of HHC and THC?

Discoveries of the potential medical benefits of both HHC and THC have been encouraging, with potential for managing chronic pain, nausea, and multiple sclerosis. However, more research needs to be conducted on HHC.

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