Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is a synthetic cannabinoid. Some people say that it also gets them high. However, no scientific research currently supports these claims.
Yes, hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) can get you high. Although not much is known about HHC, users report that it causes a mild feeling of intoxication.
Cannabis and hemp plants contain dozens of cannabinoids, which are chemicals that naturally occur in plants. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are examples of cannabinoids.
People can also synthesize cannabinoids — in other words, create them artificially in a chemical process.
In 1947, the chemist Roger Adams created the cannabinoid HHC synthetically. Adams used natural THC to create HHC.
Chemically, the structure of HHC is similar to that of THC, except that HHC has more hydrogen. Unlike THC, HHC has no double bonds in the cyclohexyl ring.
The HHC products on the market almost certainly contain synthetically derived HHC.
Currently, you can buy HHC products from certain vendors. These include edibles and tinctures, as well as vapes.
There’s a lack of research on how HHC affects the body.
Anecdotally, people who have used HHC products report that it has similar effects to THC or cannabis in general. Many people claim that it has milder effects than THC, similar to that of delta-8 THC.
However, there is no peer-reviewed research to back this up.
There’s little solid research that verifies the safety of HHC. Because of the lack of research into HHC, the side effects of HHC are unknown. We don’t know whether it produces serious long-term side effects.
HHC is available in vape form. Vaping any products, including HHC, may lead to side effects and health concerns. The health effects of vaping are not yet well-known, and even without nicotine, vaping may be unsafe.
Given the lack of research on HHC, there is no consensus on whether HHC may be beneficial or not.
HHC, like other cannabinoids, works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. Your endocannabinoid system regulates important bodily functions, including:
- reproduction and fertility
Cannabinoids affect the endocannabinoid system by binding with endocannabinoid receptors. HHC binds to the CB1 receptors, which are mostly in your central nervous system.
However, we don’t know the effects it produces when it binds to these receptors, nor do we know whether it’ll lead to any health benefits.
There’s little to no research into the side effects of HHC. Anecdotally, people report experiencing similar side effects to that of THC.
The short-term side effects of THC include:
- difficulty with coordination
- dry mouth
- increased heart rate
- low blood pressure
- memory loss
- red eyes
- slower reaction times
Because of the lack of research on HHC, we don’t know whether it can produce some or all of the above side effects. We also don’t know whether it’s safe in the long term.
Possibly. We don’t know the risks of using HHC.
In addition to the potential side effects of HHC, the cannabinoid market isn’t well-regulated. This means that no authority tests HHC products to verify that it contains HHC or to ensure that it’s free of toxins.
The legality of HHC is murky.
Some argue that, if HHC is synthetically produced from hemp, it’s federally legal because of the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill made hemp legal throughout the U.S. and defined hemp as containing 0.3% or less delta-9 THC by dry weight. The Farm Bill also made it possible to legally sell hemp products.
The HHC you’ll find in commercially available products is synthetically derived, and certain state laws restrict the sale of synthetic cannabinoids. However, because some research says trace amounts of HHC naturally occur in plants, one could argue that HHC isn’t a synthetic cannabinoid.
Right now, HHC is not banned by name on a federal level. However, it may be wise to keep your eye on cannabis laws in your state, which could restrict HHC and other cannabinoid products.
If you decide to purchase HHC products, it’s important to opt for a quality product.
Look for HHC products produced by a reputable company, one with a proven track record of producing high quality cannabinoid products, and third-party tested, which means that an independent lab tested it and produced a lab report or certificate of analysis that you can access and read.
When trying HHC for the first time, it’s wise to try a small amount at first and, if you’d like, increase it later. That way, you lower your risk of overdoing it.
How long does it take for the effects of HHC to kick in?
It’s not clear. But as with THC, it probably depends on which HHC product you use.
If you vape HHC, the effects will probably be noticeable quickly. This is because cannabinoids can easily saturate your blood once they enter your lungs.
If you use edibles, it’ll likely take longer to kick in because it works through your digestive system.
How long can the effects of HHC last?
There’s no research on how long the effects of HHC last. However, anecdotally, people report that the effects last longer than that of regular THC or cannabis — they typically feel high for longer.
Is there a difference between HHC and delta-8?
Yes. Although anecdotally, some users say HHC and delta-8 THC produce similar effects, HHC and delta-8 THC are two different chemical compounds. HHC contains more hydrogen than THC.
Is there a difference between HHC and delta-9?
Yes. Users often say that HHC is slightly milder than delta-9 THC. However, they are two different chemical compounds.
Is there a difference between HHC and delta-10?
Yes. Delta-10 THC and HHC are both understudied, and as such, we know little about their effects. However, some anecdotal reports say that HHC produces similar effects to that of delta-10 THC.
HHC is a cannabinoid that people typically produce synthetically. There’s a lack of research on the safety and effects of HHC, which means that we don’t know whether it could benefit or harm your health.
If you do decide to use HHC, be sure to purchase third-party tested products from reputable companies.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance health and cannabis writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s passionate about empowering readers to take care of their mental and physical health through science-based, empathetically delivered information.