Today’s cannabis landscape is in great flux, with new products, strains, and cannabinoids appearing at a pace that we’ve hardly ever seen before at any point during the past couple of decades.
As the world of weed evolves, it can be a bit tricky to find your bearings and get your jargon in order. New forms of THC and other cannabinoids pop up so often, for example, that it can be hard to remember which are responsible for which effects.
We’ve hardly gotten used to the availability of Delta 8 THC, and already there is a new challenger out there, in the form of HHC. But what even is HHC, and how does it compare? More importantly, which is right for you? Read on and find out in this head-to-head comparison.
What is the HHC Cannabinoid?
First, let’s settle on some definitions. What is HHC, exactly? HHC stands for hexahydrocannabinol and is one of 113 known cannabinoids that have been documented in the cannabis plant and synthesized at least once.
HHC itself was discovered in the 1940s, during some of the earliest conclusive research into the chemical composition of cannabis. However, it spent many decades in relative obscurity until its very recent comeback.
The interesting thing about HHC is that it is not THC, but a completely unique substance of its own. They are, however, chemically related, and it all comes down to how HHC is made.
You might know that THC arises from decarboxylation, or decarbing. This is a process that converts inert THCa to usable Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC.
Similarly, HHC can be gained from Delta-9 by undergoing hydrogenation, where hydrogen atoms are added to the THC’s composition and the resulting reaction rearranges it into the form of HHC. However, this is not the only way to produce HHC, and in fact today, nearly all commercial HHC is made from hemp-derived CBD.
Still, if it makes it any easier, feel free to understand HHC as a hydrogenated form of THC, just as THC is a decarboxylated form of THCa.
What is HHC O?
Even more obscure than the already rare HHC is its derivative, the so-called HHC-O. This is an acetate gained from adding a hydrogenated acetic acid to THC. What results is chemically near-identical to HHC, but about 150% more potent in its effects.
The production of HHC-O remains as of yet extremely specialized and financially prohibitive, but it has already hit the market in small numbers.
Besides its increased potency, however, it is still unclear what other differences there might be between HHC and HHC-O, as existing research on the topic remains lacking.
What is Delta 8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is an isomer of Delta-9, the most common, widespread, and most heavily-studied form of THC. Compared to Delta-9, Delta-8 THC is known for its slightly less pronounced psychoactive effects, with more physically stimulating highs that often have a calmer, more relaxing vibe to them.
Delta-8 is produced naturally through decarbing in the cannabis plant, though because it is only found in very small amounts, Delta-8 products necessitate the use of concentrates and specialized extracts to really bring out the isomer’s effects.
Hexahydrocannabinol vs Delta 8
So, how do HHC and Delta-8 THC compare in real life? While scientific literature on the differences between the two chemicals is still rather thin, we can count on some anecdotal evidence at the very least to help describe how using them feels in practice.
The fact of the matter is that both of these alternative cannabinoids are bound to produce very similar effects when used in a real-world scenario. That is because they are both very close to Delta-9 THC from a chemical point of view, and each of them differs from it only slightly (though in different ways).
HHC is said to resemble Delta-9 most closely – its highs feel quite recognizable to anyone who has used Delta-9 THC before, except for being just a good bit less potent. Balancing out your dosages accordingly should be all you need for getting within spitting distance of “true” THC effects without actually smoking any THC.
Delta-8, on the other hand, seems to perform a tiny bit differently. Its effects are similar to Delta-9’s as well, though Delta-8 features less psychoactivity by a good notch or two compared to HHC. This means that, for many, Delta-8 feels more like a hyper-potent CBD derivative than a watered-down THC isomer, producing relaxing and uplifting highs that are more active on your moods than on your sensory perceptions.
The question of whether Delta-8 THC or HHC retain more terpenes in the final product is an interesting one that, like so many others, still warrants some deeper scientific study. However, it does seem like Delta-8 THC should be richer in terpenes on average as it can be derived and isolated from the cannabis plant in a fairly non-destructive manner, whereas the process of making HHC (particularly from hemp) is a lot more involved and complicated.
Generally, the more chemical reactions it takes to extract a given cannabinoid, the higher the likelihood of losing some terpenes along the way.
You might have seen debates, whether online or in real life, about the “relative THC levels” of Delta-8 compared to HHC. Such comparisons are meant to put a hard number on the potency of these cannabinoids, but unfortunately, it’s all speculation not really based on hard data.
Factually speaking, Delta-8 is 100% THC, and HHC is 0% THC as it is considered its own form of chemical compound. However, that is of course not to say that HHC is 0% potent compared to Delta-8. In fact, most would say that smoking HHC feels more intense and psychoactive than Delta-8!
This is why comparing THC levels is not always a good idea when trying to measure the strength of the effects of a given cannabinoid.
Is HHC Stronger Than Delta 8?
The above comparison implies that HHC is naturally more psychoactive than Delta-8 is, but the full truth is a bit more nuanced than that.
Some sources report that it is actually Delta-8 that produces a stronger head buzz compared to HHC despite being less potent overall, which puts the dichotomy of “which is stronger” into question. On the other hand, HHC effects seem to last longer.
What we can say for sure is that most seem to feel more energized, euphoric, and psychoactive stimulated with HHC than with Delta-8. However, in other areas, such as pain relief, Delta-8 might win out in a head-to-head comparison.
As with any other cannabinoid then, the bottom line on HHC is that it has its own unique audience who will just love the peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of its effects.
Others might be better served by Delta-8, Delta-10, or even Delta-9 or CBD – it’s all a matter of finding something that clicks with you!
Where to Buy HHC
At the moment, HHC enjoys one of the greatest legal loopholes of nearly any cannabinoid: being only distantly related to THC and capable of being derived directly from hemp, HHC circumvents not only anti-THC legislation but also the kinds of laws restricting Delta-8 or Delta-10 THC that have sprung up in the wake of the 2018 Farm Bill in the United States.
In other words, the distribution of HHC has a lot of headroom for rapid growth and expansion. As of now, there are only a few distributors that sell and offer HHC products, and the vast majority of these are vape cartridges. But stay tuned for more, as this niche could absolutely explode without warning at any point within the next few years!
Best HHC Vape
If you want to try some HHC yourself to see what all the fuss is about, then there is no more convenient option than to go with a cheap-and-easy HHC vape cart! At Botany Farms, we sell a high-grade HHC Vape Cartridge based on the infamous Bubba Kush strain.
With its Indica heritage and super-high 99.1% cannabinoid count, you can rest assured that this one is going to absolutely knock you out and wow you with its unique effects.
As Bubba Kush is one of the most popular Indica strains of our time, this cart also offers the possibility to do a side-by-side comparison between HHC and different forms of THC for yourself!