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HHC vs THC: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Unique Cannabinoids

The Showdown of Cannabinoids 

When HHC first emerged, there was uncertainty about its strength, benefits, and effects. Now that we have a better understanding of the hemp-derived cannabinoid, some may want to know how it compares to other cannabinoids. This article will compare HHC vs THC and give the top ten reasons to try HHC carts.

Since hemp legalization, the market has been flooded with various cannabinoids, making it difficult to differentiate between them. HHC carts have become a popular choice among the new options. Although there is some controversy about the legality of these compounds in some states, the legalization of hemp has been a positive development overall. With HHC, you can feel calm, focus, relax,  and experience a buzz legally. This article will compare HHC to THC and provide the top reasons to try an HHC cartridge.

What is HHC?

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is one of the many cannabinoids found in hemp; however, it is not as prominent as THC or CBD. 

HHC stands for Hexahydrocannabinol and is a hydrogenated form of delta-9 THC. Hydrogenation involves exposing the compound to hydrogen, which adds hydrogen atoms and changes its chemical composition.

Just as oil is hydrogenated to make margarine, HHC is the “I can’t believe it’s not THC” version.

Although it was discovered by chemist Roger Adams in the 1940s when he combined THC with hydrogen, HHC was largely neglected until the legalization of hemp in 2018 with the signing of the Farm Bill by Congress.

Since hemp legalization, the cannabis industry has opened up a new avenue for retail sales, offering consumers a wide range of new and potent cannabinoid products, including HHC. Although HHC provides a high, it is not as potent as delta 9 THC, with potency estimated to be around 80% that of traditional cannabis and 30-40% stronger than delta 8. According to user reports, HHC has notable psychoactivity and is considered a next-level compound.

As a new and legal psychoactive cannabinoid gains popularity in the market, HHC can now be found in various products such as:

  • HHC vapes and carts
  • HHC edibles
  • HHC flower
  • HHC oils
  • HHC dabs and concentrates

HHC vs THC - HHC vape and HHC gummies

What is THC?

THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component found in the cannabis plant. It is the compound responsible for most of the plant’s psychological and physiological effects, including the “high” associated with cannabis use. When consumed, THC binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system, resulting in alterations in sensory perception, increased heart rate, changes in mood and behavior, and other effects.

THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Its effects on the human body are highly dependent on the dose, method of consumption, and individual factors such as tolerance and metabolism. 

THC is commonly used for recreational and medicinal purposes and has been shown to have therapeutic potential for various conditions, including chronic pain, muscle spasms, and nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. However, its use can also lead to adverse side effects, such as anxiety, paranoia, and impaired memory and motor function.

How is HHC Produced?

HHC, like THC and CBD, is derived naturally from hemp. However, like other lesser-known cannabinoids like delta 8, delta 10, THCH, and THCP, it is present in small quantities in hemp. This makes HHC challenging to extract and sell on the consumer market. However, manufacturers can recreate HHC in a laboratory. 

Like other cannabinoids, HHC starts from CBG-A (cannabigerolic acid) and is transformed into HHC through a heating process that turns CBG-A into CBD, CBG, or other compounds. Today, cannabinoid conversion can be done in a laboratory, as demonstrated in studies, resulting in all-natural compounds.

Is HHC Psychoactive, and Does it Get You High Like THC?

Although HHC is not the same as THC, it does have similar (although blunted) effects if consumed. HHC that is produced in the laboratory will result in a mixture of active and inactive HHC molecules (isomers). These isomers are ‘9r’ and ‘9s’ isomers. The 9R isomer has the highest binding affinity at the CB1 receptor, whereas the 9S isomer has a MUCH weaker affinity for this receptor. HHC blends with a higher 9R isomer mix are more psychoactive and potent, producing a more prominent ‘high.’ 

However, manufacturers have not yet found a viable commercial solution to effectively produce or filter out high-potency HHC from low-potency HHC. This makes commercial HHC a gamble in terms of potency. 

Nevertheless, HHC does have noticeable effects, and users describe the HHC high as somewhere in the middle of delta 8 and delta 9 THC as far as potency goes.

As of now, our understanding of HHC’s effects is primarily based on anecdotal evidence. However, users have reported the same side effects commonly associated with delta 9 THC, such as dry mouth, anxiety, dry/red eyes, insomnia, and increased appetite.

HHC distillate Cartridge Vape Hexahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive half synthetic cannabinoid with chemical strcucture

HHC and THC: What are the key differences? 


The key distinction between THC and HHC lies in the additional hydrogen atoms in HHC. Although you might think, ‘hey, what’s an extra hydrogen atom between friends’ – this process results in some key differences. And although hydrogen atoms might not seem significant, this addition results in unique chemical advantages that can outperform THC in several key areas of interest.

Increased Binding Affinity 

For example, the extra hydrogen atom in HHC increases its binding affinity to CB1 and CB2 receptors. These endocannabinoid receptors are primarily responsible for the effects of THC and HHC when consumed. HHC is also known to have a high affinity for TRP pain receptors. 

CB1 receptors control a wide range of metabolic, physiologic, and cognitive functions, each of which contributes to both – the high that users experience as well as potential benefits such as reduced inflammation and pain perception.

The process of hydrogenation results in HHC’s ability to produce psychoactive benefits, as well as appetite support, euphoria, and pain relief, among other effects.

Chemical Stability 

Hydrogenation also makes HHC more stable. THC can degrade over time due to oxidation, where exposure to oxygen causes the loss of hydrogen atoms and conversion into CBN, along with small amounts of delta-8 and delta-10. HHC, on the other hand, has a longer shelf-life with less risk of degradation or oxidation over time.


The effects of HHC are perhaps where the starkest differences exist between HHC and THC. Due to its higher affinity to the CB1 AND CB2 receptors, HHC tends to lead to a more moderate ‘high’ that is well-balanced and not overly potent.

Balancing both mind and body effects, the ‘high’ from HHC is noted by consumers as being more even-keeled, with less anxiety, and a clearer headspace that makes it more enjoyable for social occasions, creative work, hobbies, and the like.

In contrast, THC has the highest binding affinity for CB1 receptors, making it the most psychoactive. But that also makes it too potent for some to enjoy without the increased paranoia and anxiety.

How Does HHC Stack Up in Terms Of Potency Against THC and Other Cannabinoids?

Where does HHC rank among other psychoactive compounds? 

When compared to delta 9 THC (cannabis) and other cannabinoids, research and anecdotal evidence suggest that:

  • HHC is 80% as potent as delta 9 (THC)
  • Delta 8 is 50% as potent as delta 9 (THC)
  • Delta 10 is 35% as potent as delta 9 (THC)
  • THCO is considered to be 3X as strong as THC
  • Delta 11 is considered to be around 7.5X stronger than THC
  • D9 THCH is considered to be around 25X stronger than THC
  • TCHP is considered to be around 33X stronger than THC

*With CBD and CBG, both being non-psychoactive.

HHC vs THC Dosing 

Keep in mind that these are just estimates based on standard consumer doses. Your mileage may vary based on a wide range of factors, including your unique physiology, age, gender, height/weight, health, mode of consumption, and more.

Common THC Dosing Protocols

  • Micro: 1-3 mg
  • Low: 3-5mg
  • Moderate: 8-15mg
  • High: 20-50mg
  • Atmospheric: 100mg+ 

Common HHC Dosing Protocols

*Keeping in mind that HHC is around 70-80% as potent as THC

  • Micro: 2-4mg
  • Low: 4.5-6.5mg
  • Moderate: 10.5-20mg
  • High: 25-65mg
  • Atmospheric: 140mg+ 

HHC vs THC Legality 

Gavel of judge lying on green leaves of marijuana closeup

THC’s Legal Status 

In the United States, THC is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, making it illegal under federal law. However, some states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, allowing the use of THC in these states. 

In states where marijuana has been legalized for medical or recreational use, the use of THC is allowed under state law. However, it remains illegal under federal law, and its legality varies from state to state. It is essential to check the laws of your specific jurisdiction before using THC.

The 2018 Farm Bill Changed Everything 

The 2018 Farm Bill established a legal definition of hemp as a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis. This means that hemp-derived products, including hemp-derived cannabinoids such as CBD, must have less than 0.3% delta-9 THC to be considered legal under the Farm Bill. Due to the dry weight of edibles,  many products can legally contain upwards of 100mg+ of THC and still fall within the 0.3% limit.

Other Jurisdictions

THC is legal for medical use in Canada and will become legal for recreational use in October 2018. In other countries, THC may be legal or illegal, depending on their specific laws and regulations. It is essential to check the laws of your particular jurisdiction before using THC. 

HHC’s Legal Status 

In the United States, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and hemp-derived products, including hemp-derived cannabinoids such as CBD, as long as they contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis. However, the Farm Bill did not specifically address the legality of HHC.

That said, HHC is widely considered legal under current federal guidelines, so long as it contains less than 0.03% THC by dry weight. 

It is important to note that the legality of HHC may vary from state to state, and it is always important to check the laws of your specific jurisdiction before using any cannabinoid product, including HHC. 

Is HHC Safe for Consumption?

HHC is considered generally safe as it occurs naturally in small amounts in the cannabis plant, and those who have consumed cannabis have likely been exposed to it. There is no toxic element in HHC.

However, there is a lack of regulation and testing in the industry for these newly legal cannabinoids, including HHC. The process of hydrogenating cannabis requires a catalyst, which can often be a heavy metal. Without proper regulation and testing, consumers may risk exposure to harmful chemicals or misusing the products.

Moreover, there has been limited research on the effects of hemp-derived cannabinoids like HHC on the human body, especially in the high concentrations currently available.

When choosing HHC or any other cannabis product, it is important to look for third-party testing, check for heavy metal testing, and research the company behind the product. Some companies may avoid testing to quickly capitalize on the market, but having the cleanest and safest product is essential. 

Furthermore, it is worth noting that not all tests will check for heavy metals like palladium, rhodium, or rhenium that may be used in the conversion process and can have toxic effects. Therefore, it is crucial to be mindful when selecting HHC or any cannabis product.

To make sure all of your concerns are addressed, the team at Hemponix ensures that all of their products go through heavy testing, are pure and created through safe practices. Not just that, but they are also available alongside a certificate of analysis! Thus, you can be at ease because Hemponix provides you with the safest option. 

Final Thoughts on How HHC Stacks Up to Delta-9 (THC) – a quick review

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol) are both cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. THC is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana and produces the “high” associated with its use. HHC, on the other hand, is a less well-known cannabinoid that is said to produce a subtler high compared to THC.

The main difference between THC vs HHC is the number of hydrogen atoms they contain. THC contains 10 hydrogen atoms, while HHC contains 6 additional ones, making it a hydrogenated form of THC. This extra hydrogenation is said to increase HHC’s binding affinity for the CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors and TRP pain receptors, which may affect its psychoactive effects and potential therapeutic benefits.

Summary of THC vs HHC

  • Both produce a euphoric ‘high’ when consumed 
  • HHC has a higher binding affinity for both CB1 & CB2 receptors
  • THC has the highest binding affinity for CB1 receptors 
  • The high from THC is around 30% stronger than that of HHC 
  • THC is more potent due to its double bond (located on the 9th carbon chain)
  • HHC is more stable and has a longer shelf life 
  • HHC provides a more balanced high and effects 
  • Consumers note that HHC causes less anxiety than THC
  • HHC tolerance builds faster than does that of THC

So what are you waiting for? Shop Hemponix for a variety of the best HHC products available!

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