HHC vs. Delta 9 THC: Differences in Potency, Effects, & Safety

HHC vs Delta 9

You know of THC, and by now, you probably know of HHC too. 

Delta 9 THC is the main active psychotropic cannabinoid in marijuana, and HHC is a hydrogenated form of THC known for its longevity and intoxicating effects. Although insanely similar, HHC and delta 9 have their differences. 

If you’re an avid cannabinoid user, you probably want to see a proper comparison between the two. In this article, we explain the similarities and differences in effects, potency, and how to choose the right cannabinoid for you. Let’s dive in.   

What is HHC? 

HHC is short for hexahydrocannabinol, which is a minor cannabinoid molecule that occurs in the cannabis plant in low concentrations naturally. This compound is the hydrogenated form of THC created when the THC molecule is saturated with hydrogen atoms. 

The saturated chemical structure makes the molecule more stable and less susceptible to oxidation and breakdown. Because of this, you can keep HHC products in storage for a few years without them losing their potency. 

Like THC, this cannabinoid interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Its benefits are vastly unexplored, but it may help manage chronic pain and sleep disturbances [1, 2]. 

What is Delta 9 THC? 

Delta 9 THC is the THC in cannabis — the plant’s main active ingredient. It was discovered in 1964 by the ‘father of cannabis’ Raphael Mechoulam. 

In marijuana flower, THC accounts for over 25% of the plant’s weight. It’s also an unstable form of THC that breaks down into cannabinol (CBN) and delta 8 when exposed to environmental conditions. In hemp flower, delta 9 THC is found in less than 0.3% by dry weight, as per the 2018 Farm Bill.

Thanks to its multiple therapeutic benefits, this cannabinoid is used for medicinal purposes. It can help regulate appetite, sleep, and memory and may alleviate pain, ease nausea and vomiting, and promote brain growth [1, 2, 3].     

HHC vs. Delta 9 THC: Potency & Effects

According to anecdotal evidence, HHC is slightly less potent than delta 9 THC. It’s assumed that it’s about 80% as potent as THC — somewhere in between the strength of delta 8 and delta 9 THC.  

The effects of HHC are almost identical to the effects of delta 9 THC. Users prefer the former because it’s close in potency to THC, but produces similar effects to delta 8 THC. HHC is euphoric but leans more towards relaxation and calmness — especially in low doses. 

Both HHC and delta 9 produce altered visual and auditory perception and altered headspace. 

HHC vs. Delta 9 THC: Legality

In the US, delta 9 THC is a Schedule I controlled substance when derived from the marijuana plant. If derived from hemp, THC is a legal substance under the 2018 Farm Bill, but in a concentration of less than 0.3%.

The legal exceptions are medical marijuana products sold by licensed stores in over 37 states and recreational marijuana products sold in over 15 states. These products contain high levels of THC and are adequately regulated in states that permit their sale. Often, delta 8 THC and HHC products are placed under the umbrella of approved THC products and can be bought from licensed stores only. 

HHC, on the other hand, exists in a gray legal area. Its legality is similar to delta 8, with the main difference being that HHC is not a tetrahydrocannabinol. Like delta 8, it hasn’t been determined whether this compound is considered a synthetic substance. HHC is made in a lab, typically from another hemp cannabinoid, so questions around its nature arise. 

Currently, HHC extracted from hemp material is considered legal in most states except in those that have prohibited the use and sale of tetrahydrocannabinols. 

A summary of the primary differences between HHC and delta 9 THC:

  • HHC has a longer shelf-life than delta 9 THC
  • Delta 9 is more potent than HHC 
  • HHC and delta 9 have insanely similar effects, with minor but notable differences 

HHC vs. Delta 9 THC: Safety & Side Effects

Unfortunately, cannabinoid research is in its infancy, and we don’t have too many studies addressing their safety profile. In general, HHC is considered safe, but there are no official studies to investigate its side effects. 

Because it’s extracted directly from the plant, delta 9 THC is safe to consume in moderate doses. It’s important to note that THC has never caused someone’s overdose and has incredibly low toxicity. That said, delta 9 is a potent cannabinoid that exhibits side effects like: 

  • Anxiety & paranoia
  • Disconnected thoughts
  • Panic
  • Changes in perception
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions 
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Increased blood pressure

Products with high levels of CBD and other non-intoxicating cannabinoids very likely counteract THC’s side effects. These products provide a more balanced experience. 

The thing about HHC that people love the most is its more low-key nature. With HHC, users get the THC experience without the anxiety, paranoia, and exacerbated changes in perception. Still, the compound causes some side effects, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Anxiety (high doses)
  • Increased appetite
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness 
HHC Flower Vs. Delta 9

How to Choose Between HHC & Legal Delta 9 THC?

It all depends on what you want to experience. Mr. Hemp Flower offers incredible combinations of cannabinoids packed in flavor and potency — but balanced out in effects. Choosing between the two cannabinoids becomes easy once you know what you’re looking for. 

If you’re after a full spectrum hemp experience, our organic and vegan-friendly Delta 9 THC gummies are perfect. They are 100% legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, and you don’t need a prescription to buy them. Our 10mg delta 9 THC gummies are “incredibly smooth,” “calming,” and “well worth the money,” as described by hundreds of satisfied customers. 

If you are looking for a relaxing experience with a novel cannabinoid, try our HHC flower. Our organically grown Hercules HHC hemp flower will boost your mood and relieve stress. For sativa-like effects, try our energizing Sour Space Candy HHC hemp flower.    

Final Thoughts: Is HHC Better Than Delta 9 THC? 

From a chemical perspective, HHC and delta 9 are very similar. The only difference is the replacement of the double bonds with hydrogen atoms in HHC.

This subtle difference changes the molecule and its binding affinity in the body. It also makes it more stable, so HHC has a substantially longer shelf-life than delta 9 THC.



No, HHC is a hydrogenated form of THC, an analog or a by-product of its degradation.

Delta 9 is stronger than HHC. The latter is considered about 70-80% as potent as THC.

HHC makes you feel happy, and energetic, combined with an overwhelming feeling of peace and relaxation.

Delta 9 is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill if it comes from hemp and is present in products in no more than 0.3% by dry weight.

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.

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