What is HHC? And More FAQs

What is HHC? And More FAQs

Posted by Christian on 26th Apr 2023

The hemp industry cannot get enough of new cannabinoids, with HHC one of the latest to hit the big time. But what is HHC, where has it come from, is it legal, and is it worth experiencing? Let’s find out in this comprehensive HHC review!

I have used and enjoyed hemp products for several years, and HHC is among the more exciting and intriguing cannabinoids I have come across. For my money, it’s the most credible alternative to marijuana available in the hemp industry.

But that’s enough hype! We have much to discuss regarding HHC and its status in hemp and cannabis circles. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is HHC?

What is HHC?

HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid with similar effects to THC. Known for its resilience, HHC is more resistant to UV light degradation and oxidation than other cannabinoids – products have a long lifespan even if they aren’t stored properly.

Researchers have detected HHC in cannabis plants, as a degradation byproduct of THC, albeit only ever in tiny concentrations. Therefore, companies use HHC distillate made in a lab as opposed to 100% hemp natural extract.

Interestingly, HHC distillate consists of two types of HHC: alpha HHC (9α-HHC) and beta HHC (9β-HHC). These are referred to as enantiomers, substances that are a mirror image of each other but have the same connectivity.

Animal research shows that beta HHC is much more active at the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptor than alpha HHC. However, this 1989 study in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry is one of the few that we have on the topic.

What is HHC? Exploring the Effects and Benefits

HHC is associated with soothing and relaxing effects, according to anecdotes from users. It’s a pleasurable cannabinoid that leaves you feeling joyful, calm, and content. Some experience altered visuals after taking HHC.

Most choose to harness HHC’s relaxing characteristics when they get home from work or on a day off. HHC is ideal for chilling with and promoting positive vibes so you can make the most of your downtime. 

We cannot discount that HHC has health benefits, although no studies have explored the substance in-depth. However, HHC may have similar potential to THC, given its chemical likeness to the more famous tetrahydrocannabinol.

Possible side effects

Just as we don’t have much information about HHC’s benefits, we also lack data on its side effects and safety profile. That leaves us to make informed guesses about HHC’s risks based on anecdotes and our understanding of other cannabinoids.

As with THC, the higher your HHC dose, the more likely you are to experience side effects. Possible HHC side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Red-eye
  • Increased heart rate
  • Uncomfortable thoughts
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired coordination
  • Increased appetite

Is HHC Legal in the United States?

Is HHC Legal in the United States?

HHC exists in a legal grey area, a not unusual situation for emerging cannabinoids. The U.S. federal government and state governments both have the power to restrict or free up access to HHC, but no legislature has passed any HHC-specific laws.

Existing hemp legislation has divided opinions on whether HHC is a legal compound. Let’s get into the arguments. 

Federal law

Hemp’s legal status changed with the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act (Farm Bill). Federal lawmakers created a legal definition of hemp, separate from marijuana, and removed the plant from the Controlled Substances Act.

The Farm Bill legalized hemp and all its “derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers.” But the hemp must have less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. On the surface, this is good news for HHC.

Hemp-derived HHC extracts and products should be covered by the Farm Bill’s hemp definition, right? Kind of. The law also states that hemp-derived cannabinoids must have a natural origin, which is where HHC falls into uncertain legal grounds.

One could argue the HHC found in products is synthetic since it undergoes chemical processing. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) interim final rule on the Farm Bill noted that synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols are Schedule 1 substances.

However, HHC distillate still comes from natural hemp, which contradicts these synthetic claims. Advocates point out that because the cannabinoid occurs in the natural world and there is no law banning it, HHC is perfectly legal. And I agree.

But there is admittedly an absence of clarity in the federal government’s current hemp laws. And while you can buy HHC products now, there’s no guarantee you will still be able to in the months and years to come. 

State law

Likewise, no state governments have passed legislation explicitly mentioning HHC. Unfortunately, some states have closed the loopholes that permit the possession, sale, and use of THC-like cannabinoids such as HHC, delta-8, and delta-10.

These crackdowns have come due to the soaring popularity of hemp-derived delta-8. Mississippi serves as a good example of a state that has gone down the ban route.

The state passed House Bill 1547 in 2019, making natural and synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols illegal. Subsequently, HHC is now prohibited in Mississippi.

But most states still have the same hemp laws that they enacted following the federal government’s 2018 Farm Bill. If a state has nothing in its legislation about banning THC isomers or tetrahydrocannabinols, then HHC is most likely legal there.

What is the Difference Between THC and HHC?

HHC and THC have much in common, which is no surprise considering that HHC is a degradation byproduct and hydrogenated derivative of THC. But the two cannabinoids have some notable differences, in terms of legality, effects, and more.

In states where hemp-derived HHC is legal, there are no limitations on how much HHC a product can have. In contrast, every state caps hemp-derived THC at 0.3%.

So far, no studies have drawn concrete conclusions on HHC’s potency. However, there is a consensus in the hemp and cannabis scene that HHC is less intense than THC but more potent than delta-8. Some predict that HHC is 80% as strong as THC.

HHC vs. Other Cannabinoids

HHC vs. Other Cannabinoids

The growing product choice is something that hemp and cannabis lovers are still getting used to – it wasn’t long ago that you had to accept whatever you could find! 

So, what is HHC like in comparison to the hemp industry’s other big hitters?

HHC vs. Delta-9 (THC)

HHC is slightly less potent than delta-9, but it is available in many more forms. The 0.3% limit restricts what can be done with delta-9, so you won’t find any vaping products or hemp flower with large amounts of it.

But if you enjoy edibles and want powerful effects, delta-9 may take your fancy more than HHC. However, if you seek as relaxing an experience as possible with few side effects, HHC’s characteristics and reduced strength could work in your favor.

HHC vs. Delta-8

Before HHC there was delta-8, and the original THC spin-off is still hot property. Delta-8 is mellower than HHC but shares its joyful and relaxing qualities. Both come with a range of product options, including disposable pens, tinctures, and edibles.

If you are familiar with and enjoy full-strength cannabis, HHC is the most like-for-like alternative in the hemp market. But if you are new to the world of THC and its friends, it makes sense to start with the milder delta-8. 


THC-O acetate is a frankly outrageous cannabinoid that, according to estimates, is a whopping three times more potent than THC. This would make THC-O roughly four times stronger than HHC – it’s not for the faint of heart!

Indeed, some say that THC-O blasts through classic tetrahydrocannabinol effects to deliver a spiritual experience. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry – THC-O products are not for everybody. Stick with HHC and keep your feet firmly on the ground. 

Types of HHC Products

Why does it matter how you take HHC? Well, some products offer more convenience and discretion than others. Different products also have different ways of getting the cannabinoid in question into your system, influencing your experience.

Let’s explore the best-selling types of HHC products available in the hemp industry.

Vaping products

Vaping products

What is HHC like when vaped? All vaping products provide fast and furious HHC effects lasting around three hours. Your preferred one will come down to how much convenience and flexibility you want and how much you are prepared to pay. 

Vape cartridges: What is a HHC cart? These products contain potent HHC distillate, pre-filled and sealed in a 510-threaded cartridge. You will need a separate 510-threaded battery to use them. 

Disposable pens: These are much like vape cartridges but come with a built-in battery. Single-piece disposables are ultra-convenient and perfect for vaping HHC on the go, but you will have to pay a bit extra for the privilege. 

E-liquids: Some brands sell HHC e-liquid in old-school vape bottles. It’s cheaper to buy HHC in this way, and you can safely mix it with other vape juices. If you like to tinker with your setup, I recommend these over cartridges and disposables.


Compared to vaping products, edibles provide more gradual and longer-lasting HHC effects. Gummies dominate the HHC edible market thanks to their discreet nature and delicious flavor.

Edibles also contain a set HHC dose, which is handy for managing your intake. And you can always take more or divide servings up if needed.


Traditional hemp flower now comes with an HHC twist. Since hemp plants do not produce HHC in substantial quantities, manufacturers create HHC flower by dipping hemp buds in potent HHC distillate.

The hemp flower itself usually has a rich amount of CBD, giving you a pleasant balance between the two cannabinoids. You don't get this with other HHC products unless the company specifically adds CBD extract.

Tincture oils

A hemp industry favorite, tincture oils allow you to enjoy fast-acting cannabinoid effects discreetly, efficiently, and safely. CBD oil is the best-known hemp product of all time, and HHC tinctures share the same qualities as this industry trailblazer.

Sublingually absorbed HHC works faster than edibles, and doesn’t come with the risks that smoking flower or vaping cartridges do. 

Does HHC Show Up on a Drug Test? 

It is possible that drug tests do not pick up HHC. If future studies prove this, HHC would have a significant advantage over delta-8, delta-10, and even THC

But we don’t know for the sure, and the claim is mostly supported by anecdotal evidence. Some preliminary research suggests that HHC metabolizes into a different compound than THC, which could explain any avoidance of detection.

However, HHC could still easily show up on a drug test, so I don’t recommend adopting a blasé attitude. Indeed, if HHC’s metabolite is detectable, HHC could be even more likely to trigger a positive drug test than THC.

Why? Because if you are using HHC as a substitute for THC, you may take more of it to compensate for the lower potency. In which case, your urine or saliva would have a higher HHC metabolite concentration than if you were using classic THC.

The bottom line: there are indications that HHC might avoid drug test detection. But until there is high-quality scientific evidence to back up the claim, it’s not worth taking the risk. 

Buy HHC Products at CBD Genesis! 

Buy HHC Products at CBD Genesis! 

If you came here wondering, “What is HHC?”, hopefully, you now have a much better idea. The fascinating substance is having a fortuitous moment in the sun thanks to the Farm Bill, and hemp and cannabis lovers are happier for it.

We stock a high-quality range of HHC products here at CBD Genesis! Check out our HHC disposables and vape carts or treat your tastebuds with some sugary HHC worms or edible squares. Still unsure? Maybe our HHC E-Liquid could do it for you.

The CBD Genesis store also boasts HHC products from ELYXR LA, Work, and Honeyroot Extrax. Everything we stock is third-party lab-tested and approved – only the finest products make the cut at CBD Genesis.