HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol, is becoming a really hot trend among cannabis stores. It now comes in many forms, mainly cartridges, edibles and dab concentrates.
So, what is HHC and why is everyone losing their mind?
Well, the main reason is simple. You can say that… It's THC, but with a legal twist.
Basic information about HHC
HHC was first discovered in the 1940s by chemist Roger Adams. He made HHC by adding a hydrogen atom to the chemical structure of the THC molecule through a process called hydrogenation. This process created a new cannabinoid that is much more stable than THC, while also inheriting its effects.
In nature, HHC can be found in cannabis, but only in a very small amount that is nearly undetectable. Therefore, in order to manufacture HHC products, people have to make it in the labs instead. And that’s why HHC is called a semi-synthetic cannabinoid.
Right now, most of the HHC in the market is made from hemp derived CBD.
HHC is strikingly similar to THC
THC works by binding to the CB1 receptors in our brain. And HHC does too! In fact, users are reporting that HHC high feels extremely similar to THC. You can feel relaxed, uplifting, energetic, or maybe stoned depending on the method of consumption and dosage. HHC also shows potential in reducing pain and anxiety just as a therapeutic dose of THC does.
HHC seems to be a little bit less potent than THC. But it doesn’t really seem to matter that much though, since you can always increase the dose for a stronger effect. Also, there have been reports saying that the HHC high is “cleaner” than THC high, with less anxiety and paranoia associated with a heavy dosage. Right now, we don’t have any evidence to prove this, because there isn’t much research going on with HHC.
HHC (probably) won’t make you fail a drug test
Another reason to use HHC over THC is that HHC technically can’t make you fail a drug test. Well, at least that’s what the HHC producers claimed. The reason they gave us is that HHC doesn’t get metabolized into 11-hydroxy-THC when it enters our body. This is the form of THC that drug tests are detecting. Therefore, technically, a typical drug test won’t be able to detect HHC.
However, there is currently no hard evidence for this. This is all anecdotal. Moreover, some say that the process of making HHC can produce a very small amount of THC, and this amount can make you fail a drug test. So, if you are having a drug test coming soon, then the best decision will be not to risk it to try HHC. It’s not worth the risk. Please wait for future scientific evidence for this matter.
HHC is legal… if you interpret it your way
Now, the legality of HHC is still a debate. Many people, especially those who are trying to sell you HHC, are saying that it is 100% legal because it is “technically not THC!”
Well, they are not wrong, but it is more complicated than that.
The US Agriculture Act of 2018 legalized all hemp products with a THC content not exceeding 0.03%. As mentioned, HHC can be found naturally in the hemp plant. Therefore, HHC can be legal, as long as the THC content of the HHC product is below 0.3%.
But on the other hand, even though HHC can be found naturally, it only presents in trace amounts in hemp/cannabis plants. Therefore, all HHC products you are seeing right now on the market are synthetic versions of HHC. So, if the US government wants to prohibit HHC, they will have a reason to do so based on the Federal Analog Act. Therefore, if you live in the US, make sure to check your news and local laws about HHC to avoid any potential trouble with the authorities. Meanwhile, in Europe, HHC is considered legal because it is not listed in the government regulation on the lists of addictive substances.
Now, the question is, will it remain like this forever? Is the government going to issue any law regarding HHC? I think they are very likely to. But if they do, then what? Just like what we have witnessed with the Spice/K2 and other synthetic cannabinoids mess, whenever the government bans any existing substance, another one will rise to take its place to be the new legal cannabinoid. So, I really hope the authorities can come up with a new approach in regulating HHC.