The cannabis market is advancing swiftly from the broad availability of cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol(THC). Previously, hemp and marijuana discussions mainly revolved around two cannabinoids, THC and CBD. But the cannabis world ventured into a new age via the discovery of delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC. And seeing as the Cannabis Sativa L. plants produce well over 80 different cannabinoids, recent clinical trials into some of them have revealed some incredible recreational and medicinal benefits.
Hexahydrocannabinol, aka HHC, is not a new cannabinoid. In fact, humans have likely been consuming its small amounts for centuries now, only unknowingly. Like delta-9 THC, HHC binds to the CB1 receptors in our brains with much similar affinity, explaining the psychoactive effects. Let's look at the benefits of HHC according to research.
What Is HHC?
Hexahydrocannabinol, often abbreviated as HHC, is a hydrogenated form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in cannabis plants that has barely been identified due to its minimal amounts. HHC sports similar potency to delta-9 THC. This means that it is more potent than your regular delta-8 and delta-10 THC.
Like many other rare cannabinoids, HHC lies in a legal gray area. But unlike delta-8 and delta-10 that are continuously being banned in different states, HHC seems to offer more legal promise. That's because this cannabinoid is purely not a THC compound. THC possesses double bonds, but to make HHC, the double bonds are broken and replaced by two extra hydrogen atoms.
Currently, the information available on HHC is very limited, and clinical trials are even fewer. But the data gathered so far from animal models indicate that HHC possesses a very decent safety profile, and it may offer some medical benefits that you'll read more about below.
Only a handful of retailers have taken to sell HHC products today, mainly in the form of vape cartridges and edible form. Anecdotally speaking, HHC should not show in a drug test, meaning that your chances of passing the test are very high. However, it is important to note that this information is purely anecdotal at this point.
The Benefits Of HHC
Although discovered decades ago, research into the health benefits of HHC is still lacking. The apparent benefits and effects of HHC are primarily backed up by anecdotal evidence. Most people who have tried HHC claim that its therapeutic effects are closely similar to delta-9 THC.
For instance, moderate HHC doses induce euphoria, pain and anxiety relief, general body relaxation, and happiness. HHCs' relaxation is often likened to that of delta-8 THC. But it is associated with more energetic feelings and a sharper mind.
Further studies are being done to better understand the benefits of HHC. However, the results gathered so far have linked it to cancer treatment and relieving chronic pain. Other benefits of HHC include:
• Alleviating nausea and vomiting
• Relieving anxiety
• Improving sleep quality
• Reducing inflammation
• Promoting relaxation and feelings of euphoria
Current Research Into The Benefits Of HHC
Both natural and synthetic forms of HHC have been found to suppress the growth of tumor cells in numerous animal studies. An earlier study particularly examined the angiogenic effects of different tetrahydrocannabinol analogs to determine their potency in cancer therapy.
The researchers found that two HHC analogs (LYR-7 and LYR-8) blocked the growth of specific blood vessels that feed the tumors. So, instead of inhibiting the growth of the tumor cells themselves, the compounds worked as angiogenesis inhibitors, starving the tumors and eventually shrinking them.
In an earlier 1977 study, researchers tested HHC on rats and concluded that it might possess similar properties as narcotic painkillers, but with some significant differences.
Another study published in 2010 found that HHC effects lasted much longer in rats model. Please note that currently, HHC research is extremely limited. And there are no human studies to provide any insight or link HHC with its potential benefits.
HHC Vs. Delta-9 THC- Which Is Stronger?
Again, HHC research is largely missing, meaning that it's challenging to ascertain its precise potency. But we do know that although HHC molecular structure is relatively identical to delta-9, it possesses extra hydrogenated carbons while delta-9 possesses double bonds.
This slight difference makes HHC a highly stable molecular compound that can withstand heat and UV light better than delta-9. HHC products also have a much longer shelf life than your regular THC products.
The lack of double bonds may make HHC's binding affinity to our CB1 and CB2 receptors slightly weaker than THC. This indicates that the intoxicating effects of HHC may not be as potent as delta-9. But when taken in increased doses, HHC may yield the same potent effects as delta-9 THC.
Manufacturers are yet to reach common ground regarding HHC products potency. They acknowledge that HHC products lack consistency. This is mainly because HHC products are made by combining two different HHC molecules (9R HHC and 9S HHC).
9R HHC molecules actively bind to the cannabinoid receptors in our endocannabinoid system, while 9S HHC molecules bind very weakly. The ratio of 9R HHC and 9S HHC often vary from one product batch to another.
And although manufacturers do their best to increase the amounts of 9R HHC molecules in a product, they are not in full control.
The Side Effects Of HHC
There have been no reports of life-threatening or severe side effects from consuming HHC since it was first discovered in 1947.
However, given its close similarity to delta-9, and the fact that it is nearly as intoxicating, there is a high possibility that it has similar delta-9 THC side effects:
• Changes in cognition
• Altered visual perception
• Altered auditory
• Anxiety and paranoia
• Increased heart rate
• Red eyes and a dry mouth
• Insomnia and disturbed sleep
• Reduced blood pressure
Is HHC Legal?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not straightforward. HHC occurs naturally in hemp plants. Hemp, legally defined as any cannabis plant that produces 0.3% or less THC, was made federally legal throughout the United States by the 2018 Farm Bill. This means that hemp-derived HHC is considered legal in all 50 states.
But HHC can also be synthesized from hemp-derived CBD. HHC will be considered illegal should it be deemed a synthetic compound. According to the FDA's Interim Final Rule (IFR), synthetically derived hemp cannabinoids are illegal while the naturally occurring ones are allowed.
HHC occurs naturally in hemp and marijuana plants but only in trace amounts. Therefore, manufacturers create it in the laboratory via a chemical process, hydrogenation. In a nutshell, HHC and its related products are currently treading in a legal grey area.
HHC products recently hit the market with a bang! Its users are incredibly pleased with its potency and the milder, more manageable effects that make it an appealing alternative to delta-9 for most people.
However, the safety, potency, and possible side effects of this cannabinoid are still largely unknown. Although research has backed up some benefits of HHC, users should consider beginning with small HHC doses and gradually work their way up.