This hemp-derived compound is said to have a lot of potential and also raises many questions…
This compound is difficult to understand, as there are many contradictory facts available about its legality, health effects, and even if it can be found in cannabis plants.
HHC can be difficult to understand in part due to its recent arrival on the market and the fact that only a few retailers sell it, mostly via vape carts.
While federal and state agencies continue to ban the most well-known hemp-derived cannabinoid Delta-8 THC; HHC holds a bit more legal promise. Part of HHC’s appeal is that it is not a THC compound at all.
It might also evade drug screenings, although evidence for that is still purely anecdotal.
The founder of Bearly Legal Hemp proclaims that HHC is one of their fastest-growing products. They are currently one of the main retailers of this product. Its popularity is largely due to the wide-scale banning of Delta-8 products in different states across the country.
Read on to learn more about HHC– its effects, how it’s made, its murky legality, and other questions people are asking.
What is HHC?
This cannabinoid first came to fruition after Roger Adams, an American chemist, creates it in 1944. He added hydrogen molecules to Delta-9-THC. This process is now known as hydrogenation. It converts THC into hexahydrocannabinol.
Hydrogenation doesn’t just apply to cannabinoid manufacturing. To convert vegetable oil into margarine, it undergoes a similar process.
Adams created HHC using conventional cannabis-derived THC. However, today the cannabinoid is usually derived from hemp, a low-THC cannabis crop that was made legal by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill.
How Is It Made?
It involves many steps. First, a CBD is extraction is made from raw hemp. Then, it goes through a distillation and isolation process. Things get a bit more complicated from there.
The manufacturing of this new cannabinoid is a proprietary process that essentially takes place inside a chemical reactor. One can think of this reactor as a black box, in goes CBD, and out comes HHC.
Is HHC Safe To Produce?
It can be produced safely in a well-equipped laboratory. However, if you scale up production, the risks rise as well. Sources say, the main risk here is with explosions…
If it is going to be manufactured, it needs to be made in an “explosion-proof” space. Everything must be grounded and there cannot be any potential for static discharge.
What Are The Effects?
The potential potency and effects of this new cannabinoid aren’t well understood. This is because the cannabinoid is made from two types of HHC molecules: 9R HHC binds to natural endocannabinoid receptors. 9S HHC doesn’t bind as effectively due to its slightly different molecular structure.
Richard Sams from KCA Laboratories said that “the one that fits in the receptors” produces similar effects to delta-8, THC. However, it takes a greater amount to achieve this effect. THC-like effects can easily be observed if you take a sufficient amount.
In other words, HHC does have THC-like effects on the body and mind. However, it is far less potent milligram per milligram than Delta-8 THC. Delta 8 is already about half as potent as the standard and well-known Delta-9 THC.
How Potent Is It?
The ratios of the active and inactive HHC molecules vary from batch to batch, however, to produce a viable and sellable product, they must be at least 50% active.
Kyle Ray, of Colorado Chromatography, says “In other words, HHC can have THC-like effects on the body and mind, but HHC is less potent, milligram-per-milligram, than delta-8 THC. Delta-8 THC is itself generally regarded as about half as potent as the standard delta-9 THC.” He explains. “So our goal, when we’re making our HHC, is always to maximize the amount of the active [compound] and minimize the amount of the less active [compound]. However, it’s never a perfect gambit. It’s usually somewhere around 2:1 or 1:1.”
Some people are true believers of this new cannabinoid. Sources explain feeling energetic, sharp and increased brain function, as well as pain relief.
Others describe a pleasant and mildly cerebral high, as well as soothing aching muscles.
HHC And Drug Tests
At this point in time, there is only anecdotal evidence to support claims that this compound can possibly evade drug tests. While this has not been scientifically proven yet, there is a good amount of anecdotal evidence supporting this claim.
Among the claims are that this cannabinoid doesn’t convert into 11-hydroxy-THC which is one of the more common drug test metabolites. If this proves to be true, then yes, this new cannabiniod can be used to avoid negative drug tests.
A word to the wise: Currently, there is no hard evidence that this new compound doesn’t show up in drug screenings, so, don’t bet your job on anecdotal evidence.
Is HHC Safe?
It is important to note that, similar to all of the new hemp-derived cannabinoids, there is no standard dose and very limited research when it comes to the immediate or long-term effects of ingesting this cannabinoid.
Even more important to note is that many hemp-derived cannabinoids, (specifically HHC) are not subject to cannabis regulations in legal adult-use states. This means that product manufacturers and retailers are not required to have their products tested for purity and potency.
Some businesses do include third-party lab testing results with their products, however, it is unfortunately hard to come by. If you are going to purchase an HHC product, make sure you ask for the lab test results or a COA to ensure safety and credibility.
Here, we arrive at the most important question of all: is HHC legal?
Many retailers and other sources argue yes. They back these claims by proclaiming that their HHC is hemp-derived, and not actually a THC compound.
Products containing this mysterious cannabinoid should be in the clear for now. Essentially they exist in a legal gray area similar to Delta 8 and other cannabinoid developments…
Many sources will also argue that since HHC is found in the seeds and pollen of hemp plants that it is not synthetic, and thus a legal hemp extraction.
To Be Continued
Many retailers are unsurprisingly making claims about this new cannabinoid that are not necessarily 100% true.
However, there are other experts out there who are skeptical of the newly discovered cannabinoid: HHC.
Some experts are saying that this bizarre cannabinoid could potentially be subject to the Federal Analogue Act, which states that any substance or creation that is analogous to a Schedule I drug (THC) would in fact qualify as a Schedule I drug. By this logic, if THC is illegal then HHC would be illegal too.
However, according to this theory, Delta-8 should technically be illegal too. It is in fact a THC compound and it’s also psychoactive. But as of right now, it is perfectly legal in most states.
Additionally, some of the same experts that have made these claims also believe that HHC bears significant similarities to K2 and Spice, which are synthetic drugs that mimic THC and are classified as schedule 1 drugs.
Some people do not think that this new cannabinoid is legal at all, though there are no specific laws against it, yet…
Products containing this new cannabinoid currently exist and thrive in the murky legal area between hemp, which is legal nationwide, and (THC) cannabis, which is not.
Consumers will need to assess the overall risks and advantages for themselves until HHC comes under a state-regulated system.
To review, make sure if you are going to purchase HHC, that you are receiving a COA (Certificate Of Analysis) to ensure quality and credibility.