HHC: A Potential Top Player in The Cannabinoid World

HHC: A Potential Top Player in The Cannabinoid World

Hexahydrocannabinol, also known as HHC, is a relatively new compound that has been gaining attention in the cannabinoid world, with roots in scientific literature based on the ‘40s. According to the EMCDDA report, we can find HHC first reporting from 1947. [1]

HHC is a cannabinoid present in nature, but found in trace amounts. Hydrogenation of cannabis oil is the key process in its synthesis. 

This process involves treating the crude cannabinoid extract or concentrated THC or CBD with pressurized hydrogen. The presence of a catalyst can improve the reaction rate. 

HHC is  similar in structure to THC, but with some key differences: fewer double bonds and more hydrogen atoms, lower psychoactive effect, and generally longer lasting positive medical effects than THC.

What Is HHC and Why it Is the Cannabinoid Future

HHC is more structurally stable than THC. For this reason HHC can be stored for longer periods than THC and it is less susceptible to oxidation, head and UV induced degradation. 

HHC oil can be made in the lab, so it looks easy to assume that HHC must be deemed synthetic.
Nevertheless it is more accurate to describe it as a semi-synthetic compound because it directly derives from THC and related compounds.

Under natural conditions, when THC degrades, trace amounts of this compound are converted into HHC.

Despite the fact that not many studies on HHC have been made so far and the limited availability,  HHC may potentially  become a top player of the cannabinoid world in the future.

HHC and its Effects

HHC appears to be a promising compound and by now you might be wondering if there are any interesting effects coming with its consumption?

Considering the HHC molecule is structurally similar to THC, we can think likely at that experience with longer lasting effects. Almost everything we know about HHC’s effects and side effects is anecdotal and there are no enough studies yet researching HHC biological activity. 

General users claim that HHC has milder psychoactive effects than THC and they report the same set of side effects similar to THC such as: anxiety, paranoia, dry mouth, etc. 

It is early to say that the HHC molecule has great promise in therapeutic drug development. Despite that, some studies are about its ability to inhibit tumor growth and breast cancer-cells induced formation of new blood vessels. [2]

Administration Ways of HHC

Apparently the fastest method to feel HHC effects is by vaping it. In this way high amounts of the semi-synthetic cannabinoid will enter in your bloodstream. Vaping cartridges contains different HHC concentrations. 

Another common way to consume HHC is by eating gummies or taking HHC tincture. Because the molecule has to pass the gastrointestinal tract in order to be absorbed, the effects will kick-in later compared to vaping. 

You should consider that depending on the concentration of HHC present in the product you should adjust the dosage. Start slowly and progressively raise the taken amount. 

Legal, Tolerated or Forbidden?

HHC is not technically legal, but sellers are taking advantage of a grey area in the law.

In the United States, HHC is not in a list of controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration, however, individual states apply their own laws and regulations:

  • Arkansas , Arizona , Washington ,Iowa are some of the few states that already acted restrictions labeling the compound as a controlled substance. Nevertheless in most of the US HHC is famous;
  • Europe appears rather more jagged on the matter. In most European countries HHC appears on the markets but with a few exceptions;
  • Some countries have taken measures to prohibit it, such as Estonia, which was the first EU country to issue a bill to include HHC in its list of banned psychotropic drugs;
  • Switzerland, Finland, Austria ,Iceland ,Bulgaria and Poland  have put HHC on illegal law records.

Nevertheless, it will be difficult to curb the growth and propagation of HHC and other possible new “actors”. In fact, the cannabis market worldwide will raise up expectedly to 3.2 billions dollars by 2025.

Is HHC detectable on Drug Tests? 

As the use of HHC gains popularity, there have been concerns about whether it shows up in drug tests.

Drug tests typically screen for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its metabolites.
HHC is not about standard drug tests. Due to its relatively new appearance, common drug tests have not yet caught up with technologies to detect it.

Even if it is unlikely that HHC affects the results of a drug test, It is important to notice that some drug tests may not distinguish between THC and other structurally related cannabinoids, including HHC. 

In these cases, a drug test that screens for THC may produce a false positive result.


  1. EMCDDA REPORT 2022pdf ISBN 978-92-9497-855-4 doi: 10.2810/852912 TD-09-23-153-EN-N
  2. How to consume HHC?
  3. Is HHC Legal in Your State?

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