Hexahydrocannanbinol or HHC is a cannabinoid that is becoming increasingly popular on the market. When it comes to the perception of cannabis, an evolution exists and this is reflected in an increase in research to learn more about the plant. One of the latest discoveries to revolutionise the cannabis industry is the aforementioned component HHC. However, like all new developments, it brings with it doubts about its legality, effects and safety.

What is HHC?

Hexahydrocannanbinol occurs naturally in the pollen and seeds of hemp plants, they consider it a lesser cannabinoid due to its low concentration.

Although it is currently becoming more widely known, Roger Adams dicovers and synthetises it in 1944. He did this by adding hydrogen molecules to delta-9 THC (the traditional THC). The reason for its recent fame is that it can be sold as a legal alternative to THC.

How is Hexahydrocannanbinol produced?

The low content of this component makes it uneconomical to extract, so the HHC offered to the public is processed, thus becoming a synthetic cannabinoid.

Typically, we use hydrogenation created by Adams, which mixes a cannabinoid-rich extract with hydrogen gas in a pasteurised container. In the process, the hydrogen naturally breaks the carbon bonds in the cannabinoids, creating a concentrated, dark golden coloured oil, known as hydrogenated cannabis oil, or HCO.

When accelerating the hydrogenation process, manufacturers use catalysts to cause a faster chemical reaction, and most catalysts include lithium, palladium and iridium.

If the extract is decarboxylated, manufacturers can obtain a substance rich in Hexahydrocannabinol or rich in hexahydrocannabinolic acid (HHCA). It should also be noted that HCO contains two types of HHC: 9R HHC that binds to cannabinoid receptors and 9S HHC with very low affinity for cannabinoid receptors.

Similarities between HHC and THC


The chemical structure of the two substances is similar; HHC has hydrogenated carbons, an extra carbon bond and an ether atom that allow its stability. In addition, HHC may be somewhat less susceptible to degradation by heat and sunlight, resulting in a longer useful life.

The similarity between HHC and THC allows the compound to bind to the receptors of the CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid system, which explains the THC-like effects.

Hexahydrocannanbinol effects and potency

It is complicated to define exactly what effects it generates since it has been receantly launched. However, as mentioned above, the affinity with CB1 and CB2 receptors suggests that these are similar to the THC effects:

  • Euphoria
  • Altered state of mind
  • Hunger
  • Increased sensory pleasure
  • Fatigue
  • Psychotropic effect
  • Change in perception of reality

As for the potency, we have no idea. This is because Hexahydrocannanbinol products contain different portions of 9R HHC, which combine with cannabinoid receptors in a different way than 9S HHC. Therefore, a HHC with a percentage of 9R would be more potent than THC. On the other hand, if the 9S HHC concentration dominates, you’ll have to use it in larger quantities.

In short, the exact potency and effects are still unknown. The companies selling this product assure that the effects are similar to THC.

Is HHC safe?

As with the effects of this substance, it is difficult to know whether these products are safe or not. The companies and their manufacturers present them as safe and reliable. However, it cannot yet be ruled out that it is toxic or that it has adverse effects. Further studies on this subject will provide futher informations.

Despite the lack of knowledge about the properties of this cannabinoid, the purchase and sale of these products is completely legal, as they derive from hemp and have a THC content of less than 0.2% in the European Union. It is therefore possible to find various HHC-derived products such as disposable vapes or resins.

As this is a new element and its use is recent, the necessary research has not yet been carried out to explain how HHC interacts with the body and its possible effects. Until they do this research, we recommend to use it with caution.

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Erik Collado

With more than 10 years of background in the cannabis sector, his experience and knowledge are the base of GB The Green Brand’s success

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