Do you find the world of hemp cannabinoids confusing? We don’t blame you. The emergence of so many new cannabinoids has made everyone’s head spin. Still, it’s important to know the differences between two cannabinoids before you embark on the ride.
This article compares the similarities, differences, and effects of hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) and delta 8 THC. It’s based on scientific studies and discusses anecdotal evidence of users who’ve tried both cannabinoids. You’ll have a clear perspective on which is better and how they work in the body by the end of it. Let’s dive in.
What is HHC?
Hexahydrocannabinol (short: HHC or HHC-O) is a minor chemical compound found naturally in the hemp plant in a non-extractable concentration. It’s best known as the apocalypse-ready compound with a shelf-life of up to 2 years — substantially longer than delta 8 (up to a year) and delta 9 THC (from three to six months).
HHC is less abundant in the cannabis plant than delta 9 and, presumably, delta 8, constituting no more than 1% of its entire chemical profile .
Roger Adams, the American organic chemist who identified CBD in the 1940s, discovered HHC in 1947. Already diving in the cannabinoid waters, he synthesized this compound from THC found in cannabis.
Chemically speaking, HHC is formed when THC loses all double bonds through “hydrogenation” or replacing the bonds with hydrogen atoms. This process is similar to turning vegetable oil into margarine — to prolong the shelf-life of products. So, this compound is a hydrogenated form of THC with the same chemical structure and no double bonds.
What is Delta 8?
Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol is a THC isomer with a very similar chemical structure to delta 9. The only difference between the two is the placement of the double bond that the delta 8 isomer has on the 8th carbon chain.
You won’t encounter a hemp flower that contains this compound naturally. Delta 8 is found in cannabis in a minuscule concentration of less than 1% of all cannabinoids.
Roger Adams and colleagues first published a partial synthesis of delta 8 THC in 1941 . By 1965, Mechoulam had achieved a total synthesis of this compound.
Delta 8 is structurally similar to delta 9, but has a longer shelf life because it’s more stable. It’s typically produced in a lab setting by exposing CBD to heat and acid. A natural way to deliberately create cannabis with higher concentrations of delta 8 THC is to leave the flower to age, which will cause the delta 9 to turn into delta 8 THC.
HHC vs. Delta 8: Potency
Anecdotal evidence shows that both HHC and delta 8 get you intoxicated. But, which one is stronger? The exact intoxicating potency of HHC needs to be tested, but the consensus is that HHC is slightly stronger than delta 8 THC.
So, what it’s like being “high” on HHC?
Most people report that HHC’s high is very similar to delta 9’s, but with much less anxiety. HHC provides a gradual mood increase and stimulates the brain without overtaking the user’s ability to stay in control. HHC also causes hypnagogic imagery (vivid visual, auditory, tactile, or kinetic perceptions) while “high,” sometimes more quickly than delta 9 THC.
It’s important to remember that everyone experiences cannabinoids differently, but the overwhelming conclusion is that a delta 8 “high” keeps the user more clear-headed. It’s low on anxiety but more sedating, so it’s best used during the evening because it’ll likely get you tired.
HHC vs. Delta 8: Similarities in Effects
The best way to describe HHC is as ‘euphoric, blissful happiness.’ An exciting thing about HHC is that it causes a spectrum of effects that are experienced on a more personal level by the user.
There are two reasons for that:
- Each user’s endocannabinoid system is unique.
- HHC products are a blend of the main two parts of the HHC molecule: 9R HHC (the active one) and 9S HHC (the passive one). Depending on which part dominates the formula, the product can be stronger, and its effects can vary.
In general, HHC is known to reduce anxiety and cause an unbelievably smooth “high” — two aspects that make this cannabinoid incredibly similar to delta 8 THC. This is especially true for lower doses that tend to be less energizing and more relaxing. So, if you’re looking for an evening HHC experience, a combination of both (plenty of products combine low doses of both) might be ideal.
The effects of HHC are almost identical to the effects of THC. These cannabinoids have a very similar chemical structure with subtle differences in the number of hydrogen atoms and placement of the double bond.
Such differences change the geometry of the molecule and the binding affinity for the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The group of CB receptors is located in the brain and throughout the body and is part of the human endocannabinoid system.
Legality of HHC & Delta 8
Presently, delta 8 and HHC products are sold in a gray, unregulated area.
Despite the hurdles, they are freely sold in around 38 states without HHC-specific legislation. Some states have explicitly banned or restricted the sale of delta 8 THC (and analogs like HHC), but for the most part, HHC is more freely sold than delta 8. Typically, if delta 8 is legal in a certain state, HHC is assumed to be legal as well.
The biggest argument against the legality of these two compounds is that they’re made in a lab. So, there’s a possibility that under federal law, they could be deemed “synthetically made” cannabinoids. There’s a lot to be said on this topic, but the general conclusion is that they are “semi-synthetic” cannabinoids.
For HHC and delta 8 to be considered legal, they must be extracted from hemp material and contain less than 0.3% delta 9 THC.
HHC vs. Delta 8: Safety & Side Effects
Is HHC safe? There isn’t scientific evidence addressing the safety and long-term implications of using cannabinoids like delta 8 and HHC. So far, anecdotal evidence shows that these two compounds are safe to consume as long as the product is free from toxic chemicals and is properly tested.
HHC and delta 8 (and THC in general) exhibit similar side effects. The severity of the side effects tends to vary depending on the dosage and sensitivity of the user. If the product leans on full spectrum and contains higher levels of CBD, the side effects are less pronounced.
A side-by-side comparison of HHC & delta 8 risk of side effects:
How to Choose Between Delta 8 and HHC?
You deserve a stellar HHC and delta 8 experience. The best way to determine which is right for you is to know what type of experience you seek.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing noid that won’t get you too high, delta 8 is perfect. Our delta 8 gummies are formulated to give you a milder relaxing vibe for your evening endeavors.
If you’d like a more potent, creative cannabinoid with a chill, but euphoric side, go with HHC. Our HHC gummies are formulated to provide a premium experience without the drowsiness and paranoia that comes from THC-like intoxicating effects.
Edibles take longer to kick in, so you can expect the effects of the gummies to start affecting you within 30-45 minutes after consumption. On the bright side, the outcome can last up to 5 hours. For a quicker response, try our Dutch Delight HHC hemp flower. The effects kick in within 5-10 minutes but wear off more quickly than with edibles.
Final Verdict: Is HHC Better Than Delta 8 THC?
To some people, yes. It all comes down to the effects you’re looking to experience. They tend to intertwine and are close in potency, but each cannabinoid has a unique set of properties that distinguish it from the other.
If you prefer a more potent, daytime, sativa-like high that won’t get you lethargic, HHC is better than delta 8 THC. A delta 8 THC intoxication is more suitable for evenings because this cannabinoid might get you more tired than usual.
No, it’s not the same, but it’s similar in a way that exhibits more calmness and relaxation.
HHC is about 80% the strength of delta 9 THC, while delta 8 is 50-70% the strength of delta 9 THC. So, if taken at the same dosage, HHC will get you “higher.”
Yes, it will get you high. But, not in a way that delta 9 or delta 8 would. Delta 9 is more intense, while delta 8 is less intense than HHC.
It’s very likely that you will fail a drug test after continual use of delta 8 and HHC.
Read our legal disclaimer HERE. While we try to stay as up to date as possible on all state laws, you should do your own due diligence and work with a legal professional to ensure you are operating legally in your state or territory at all times.