#1: What Is HHC? HHC is created by taking a cannabinoid isolate, generally CBD or THC, and introducing hydrogen atoms into the isolate through a process called hydrogenation. You likely recognize that term because it is often used with food products, namely hydrogenated vegetable oil or margarine. The reason for hydrogenating certain food products or vegetable oil is that it causes the food to last much longer than normal. This is why so many of these products include hydrogenated vegetable oil instead of just vegetable oil. Zinc, nickel, or some other activator is used to cause a chemical reaction during hydrogenation, which results in turning the isolate into hexahydrocannabinol (HHC). This substance is similar to other THC molecules but technically not in the THC family.
#2: How Does It Make You Feel?
For medical or recreational reasons, the big question with any of these new cannabinoids is how it makes you feel. In the case of HHC, its effects are very similar to Delta 9 THC, which is the cannabinoid found in abundance in marijuana. So the user will feel a head high, a sense of euphoria, and likely a relaxed and comfortable body state. HHC has also been found to relieve physical discomfort and promote positive sleep habits and other benefits like Delta 9 THC. As far as potency, some users have reported that the effects are somewhat stronger than Delta 9 THC, while others have reported the potency to be somewhere between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9. The variance in these experiences can be explained by body chemistry, but we can also explain it because of a unique feature of HHC. Making HHC produces two different HHC molecules: 9R HHC and 9S HHC. While the 9R molecule is proficient at binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the same way as Delta 8 or Delta 9 THC binds, the 9S molecules do not bind nearly as well. So the ratio of 9R to 9S molecules determines the potency of the batch. Unfortunately, this ratio cannot be controlled and is only determined after laboratory testing once the batch of HHC is produced.
#3: Is It Legal?
The Farm Bill of 2018 made all hemp-derived products legal on a federal level if they don’t contain more than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. Because of the language of The Farm Bill, HHC, THC-O, and Delta 8 THC all belong in the same category as CBD and are, therefore, federally legal. However, each state can either adopt the federal government’s stance on the legality of a substance or create its own rules or laws. Delta 8 THC is a perfect example of this. While being 100% legal on a federal level, Delta 8 has been outlawed in 18 states. The legality of HHC in each state is still in question because the substance is so new, and most states have yet to address the issue and make a determination. However, because the argument for the legality of HHC is so close to that of Delta 8 THC, we believe that HHC will likely follow the same legal path as Delta 8. Therefore, although they have yet to do so, the states that have banned Delta 8 THC will likely ban HHC in the future.
#4: Is It Safe?
Because of the newness of this cannabinoid, extensive testing has not been done to prove its safety. However, it has been out long enough for many users to report any side effects. So far, there have been no reports of major health consequences, and the only side effects reported are the same as you would find with overdoing Delta 9 THC, such as dry mouth, red eyes, and anxiety.
#5: What Are HHC’s Benefits over Other THCs?
The first benefit, of course, of HHC or Delta 8 THC is that they are legal on a federal level, whereas products that contain over 0.3% Delta 9 THC are not. In addition, as of the writing of this blog, HHC is also legal in every state as well. And because HHC has physical and psychological effects close to Delta 9 THC, the user can experience a marijuana high without the legal complications.
Another benefit is HHC’s resistance to oxidation. THC turns to CBN as time, sunlight, and air oxidize the cannabinoid and degrade it. CBN, unfortunately, is only about 10% as psychoactive as THC. Because HHC is created through hydrogenation, just like with hydrogenated vegetable oil, it lasts a lot longer. So much so that it is speculated that if astronauts were to take a hallucinogen to Mars, they would have to take HHC because that’s the only one that would stay potent throughout the trip.
One other possible benefit is that HHC may not show on drug tests. The speculation is that HHC does not metabolize the same way that THC does, so it will not trigger a positive result on a drug test. However, there is little solid evidence for this, so you should advise your customers not to take the risk.
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