If you haven’t heard of HHC yet, that’s not surprising. But if you’re in the world of cannabis, you likely will soon.
We’ve talked in the past about the attempted ban on delta-8 THC – a popular hemp-derived cannabinoid. So it may seem that HHC is just another one of those odd cannabinoids that’s bound to cause legal trouble.
HHC is different though. It’s certainly more complicated. And it’s not actually a THC compound so its legality is in a grey area. So let’s take a deep dive into HHC.
What is HHC?
HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) is the result of hydrogenating delta-9 THC. Found primarily in the form of vape carts at this point, HHC was actually first created in 1944 when a chemist added hydrogen molecules to Delta-9 THC.
At that time, HHC was generated from conventional cannabis-derived THC. The HHC on the market now is usually derived from hemp though. Hemp is far lower in THC and also federally legal via the 2018 farm bill.
How Does HHC Affect Body and Mind?
There is confusion around the potency of HHC.
Part of the reason for this is that when HHC is manufactured, it results in a mixture of two different kinds of molecules. One actively binds to the human endocannabinoid system receptors while the other, not so much.
The binding molecule behaves similarly to legally murky delta-8 THC, although it takes a much higher amount to experience the effects. And delta-8 is regarded as around half as potent as delta-9 – which is the standard.
So it’s definitely a grey area.
The Trickiness of Making HHC
At the end of the day, HHC comes from a lab. So it’s not exactly natural. Plus, producing HHC is rather involved.
CBD must first be extracted from raw hemp. It’s then distilled and isolated into a powder form. From there, the CBD powder is used as a base for the chemical reaction that will ultimately create HHC.
As of now, it can be safely produced in small amounts and in well-equipped laboratories. Scaling up production, however, could prove risky. Especially in the form of explosions. So… there’s that.
Is HHC Safe and Legal?
This is always the big question. Particularly when there’s a new product on the market. And with HHC, the straight answer is – there’s no straight answer.
With little to no research to better understand the effects of HHC, nobody can say for sure whether it’s safe. Furthermore, hemp-derived cannabinoids such as HHC aren’t subject to cannabis regulations in states where recreational marijuana is legal. As such, HHC producers and retailers need not test their products for purity and potency.
As for legality, it’s tough to say. Because HHC lands in the area between nationally legal hemp and nationally illegal cannabis, there’s no definitive answer as to whether it’s legal. And until it comes under the scrutiny of a state-regulated system, it will continue to be a gamble.
Stay In the Know
Delta-8 and HHC are among the newest cannabinoids making news. And with the cannabis market flourishing, it’s increasingly difficult to stay up to date with happenings in the industry.