Which is better of the new hemp-derived cannabinoids, Delta-8-THC or HHC?
That depends on what you are looking for when it comes to your buzz. Some people like a more cerebral and potent buzz, while others seek all-over body relaxation.
Keep reading for the HHC vs Delta-8-THC showdown.
What Is HHC?
HHC is a minor cannabinoid also known as hexahydrocannabinol, a hemp-derived cannabinoid. This particular cannabinoid occurs naturally in trace concentrations in the cannabis plant and hemp.
HHC was first created in 1944 by chemist Roger Adams. Now, as the hype rises over alternative cannabis and hemp products, people are taking advantage of what this cannabinoid has to offer.
However, the compound is found in such small amounts in hemp that it isn’t cost-effective to extract. So instead, HHC is created from hemp-derived CBD in a lab through chemical processing.
Is HHC Legal?
HHC falls under a gray area of legality because it is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid. But it isn’t explicitly regulated because it is not Delta-9-THC, which is a schedule 1 substance.
This could be subject to change since it is closely related to, but not derived from, Delta-9, so you should always check your local laws.
HHC Is Hydrogenated
Hydrogenation refers to the alteration of the chemical structure of a compound by way of adding hydrogen to it.
When two hydrogen atoms are added to the double bonds of a THC molecule, it becomes HHC.
By replacing the double bond, it makes the former THC molecule more stable and changes the molecular weight and geometry through the HHC manufacturing process.
This hydrogenation process makes the molecule resistant to heat and oxygen, so your HHC product is less likely to be damaged and degraded by UV light and heat.
This is because the HHC molecule has been saturated with hydrogen.
This makes this hydrogenated HHC a top contender in the cannabinoid world since Delta-9, Delta-8, Delta-10, and most other cannabinoids are more apt to break down over time, turning into another less potent cannabinoid, CBN.
What Is Delta-8-THC?
You may be more familiar with the cannabinoid Delta-8-THC (otherwise known as Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol).
Delta-8 is Delta-9’s little brother. According to researchers, it comes with similar benefits, like euphoria or relaxation, but is less likely to cause anxiety or paranoia for users due to its perceived lower potency.
Delta-8is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids out there, and it is available in gummies, tinctures, flower, vape cartridges, and more.
But, how popular is D8?
A study used Google Trends to assess the popularity of Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol. They found that Delta-8-THC questions were 35% of all cannabis-related queries in 2021.
So more people are looking for a less intense buzz that has all the benefits of Delta-9-THC minus some of the side effects that people using Delta-9-THC may have.
Similar to HHC, Delta-8is found in minute amounts on the hemp plant and the cannabis plants. It has to be refined and processed to extract a substantial amount of the product.
Delta-8-THC is a double bond isomer of Delta-9-THC that is less psychotropic than Delta-9-THC. It is much more stable than Delta-9-THC, meaning oxidation has a more negligible effect on the Delta-8-THC molecule.
That way, you won’t have your Delta-8-THC products degrading on you as quickly, meaning they will have a longer shelf-life. Winner!
HHC VS Delta-8-THC
When it comes to clinical data and research, HHC has very little scientifically-backed evidence.
Due to this, we will primarily use anecdotal evidence until more scientists and researchers look into the benefits of using HHC.
On the other hand, a few peer-reviewed studies are available for Delta-8-THC. However, like HHC this data is also relatively early, small, and the long-term effects of either cannabinoid are yet unknown.
We will use this information and the opinions of regular consumers to help you in your decision-making process on whether HHC or Delta-8-THC is better for you.
The significant chemical difference in the makeup of Delta-8and Delta-9 is where the double carbon bond in the carbon chain. Delta-9-THC has a double carbon bond on the ninth carbon on the chain.
On the other hand, with Delta-8, the double carbon bond is on the eight carbon of the chain, and Delta-8-THC also lacks an ester atom and a carbon bond.
This means that you can expect a less intense high than Delta-9-THC and is suitable for anyone looking for a solution that is similar to naturally occurring Delta-9, but without the cerebral fog, anxiety, paranoia, and couch-lock.
HHC, on the other hand, has a very similar molecular structure as Delta-8-THC. The significant difference is that HHC does not have double carbon bonds like Delta-8 and Delta-9.
This lack of double bonds is due to the manufacturing process where hydrogenation breaks down using a metal catalyst (like palladium) and adds two hydrogen molecules to the carbon chain.
This makes all six carbons on the ring saturated with hydrogens, thus leading to the aforementioned stability.
The hydrogenation process is very similar to changing vegetable oil to margarine and should only be made in labs with the right equipment.
Delta-9-THC is also naturally derived, which is advantageous over either manufactured HHC or Delta-8. So far, Delta-9- THC has demonstrated great efficacy and safety in humans and animals.
Synthetic cannabinoid products like HHC and Delta-8 may carry additional cannabinoids, residues, or unknown compounds leftover from the manufacturing process that haven’t been studied for safety and we may not even be aware of yet.
When it comes to Delta-8, it has lower psychoactive potency than Delta-9. It is excellent for daytime use or when you need to have a clear headspace. It doesn’t play so much with the mind, leaving you alert but calm with a smooth and subtle buzz.
Most people find the buzz is similar to HHC but less potent. HHC has more relaxing and sedative effects compared to Delta-8-THC.
This is because HHC has higher affinities and selectivities for attaching to CB1 receptors instead of CB2.
In a 2007 pre-clinical study, the HHC compound exhibited high potency, sedation, and lowered body temperature with a long duration of action in mice.
All in all, if you are looking for a more potent buzz between D8 and HHC, be sure to try out HHC. According to most users, it feels more like D9 in respect to potency.
Anecdotal evidence claims that Delta-8-THC increases appetite, provides pain relief, boosts mental health, and reduces anxiety. Delta-8 also has antiemetic properties that may help reduce vomiting and nausea.
While HHC is said to provide a solid cerebral and body experience, you may feel euphoria with a soothing relaxation that can be physically felt by your body. It is also said to help manage chronic pain and promote better sleep quality.
Like Delta-8-THC, HHC may also potentially alleviate nausea and vomiting and provide calming (anxiolytic) properties due to its CB1 activation.
But we need to wait for more studies to determine the full range of these cannabinoids’ benefits and long-term health effects.
Unlike Delta-8, HHC products are very limited and deemed synthetic, and currently, they are largely available in vape cartridges from only a few select vendors.
Using hemp as a starting material stands in the legal threshold for most areas due to the 2018 Farm Bill.
Preliminary research suggests that we can expect big things from this cannabinoid, but we must wait for larger clinical trials and hopefully FDA-approved research one day.
It is also undetermined whether the use of HHC breaks down to THC metabolites that will impact drug tests, so use with discretion.
However, this cannabinoid is expected to boom, similar to how Delta-8 became popular.
Only time will tell whether one of these cannabinoids will dominate the hemp market. But, since HHC manufacturers can hydrogenate cannabinoid products already available, you should start seeing a rise in new products and popularity among cannabinoid connoisseurs.