Our relationship with cannabis has truly evolved over time. Thanks to decades of research and experimentation through a wide range of cannabis products, we’re learning what the plant is truly capable of. As you may know, not all cannabis is a dense green, skunky flower used for smoking. There are several cannabis variants out there that are made with extractions of some of the most popular compounds found in the plant. These compounds are called cannabinoids, and as time goes on, we’re learning that the cannabis plant is full of them. Let’s take a look at two cannabinoids that are currently in the limelight.
What is HHC?
You might have heard of THC, and even CBD, but there’s another three-letter compound in town that you should know about…
Hexahydrocannabinol is one of the latest cannabinoids to enter the market. Better known as HHC, this hemp-derived compound is gaining recognition as a compound that mimics THC, the main active compound in cannabis. HHC may be new to hemp menus in your local smoke shops and online cannabis boutiques, but it was discovered nearly 80 years ago!
HHC was discovered in 1944 by an American chemist named Roger Adams. Adams decided to tamper with THC and add hydrogen molecules to it– a process known as hydrogenation. This THC experimentation resulted in what we now know as HHC, a hydrogenated cannabinoid that produces similar effects as THC.
Hydrogenation is a common conversion process that’s used to turn vegetable oil into margarine, along with some other processed foods. When added to THC, hydrogen replaces the double bond in Delta-9 THC with two hydrogen atoms. This significantly changes the molecular weight and makes the compound more stable.
When converting HHC, the end result contains two separate molecules, which are referred to as 9RHHC and 9SHHC. These molecules interact with the endocannabinoid system differently from one another, so this gives HHC an interesting kick. 9RHHC binds to the receptors with ease, while 9SHHC does not. Because of this, the potency of your HHC products can be pretty intense, but still not on the same level of THC.
As HHC products slowly flood the market, cannabis enthusiasts are lining up to learn what this THC alternative is all about and how it compares to other cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC.
What is Delta 8 THC?
If you keep close eyes on the cannabis world, you may have heard of Delta-8 THC.
Like HHC, Delta-8 THC was discovered in the 1940s but fully synthesized in the 1960s. This cannabinoid was then used in a set of research studies throughout the 1970s. These studies were conducted using Delta-8 THC, along with Delta-9 THC and CBD to determine how the trio of cannabis compounds impacted the immune system of mice. The three chemicals were not found to be effective, and CBD in particular was actually damaging to the immune system. Delta-8 THC, on the other hand, did not influence the immune system, but instead, successfully minimized the size of cancerous tumors found in the mice. This really opened up the possibilities of Delta-8 THC as medicine and helped bring us to the products available in the market today.
So, what is this mysterious cannabinoid, really? Delta-8 THC is produced naturally in cannabis plants in small amounts so many companies create it through a conversion process involving CBD. This requires the use of a solvent and acid and is used to produce larger amounts of Delta 8 products. Delta-8 THC is one of the first cannabinoids to really gain recognition in the hemp market both recreationally and medicinally. Delta-8 THC offers cannabis users a different type of experience that many find incomparable. Primarily, Delta-8’s reputation is built on the smooth high it offers, minus the psychotropic effects associated with THC.
Some Delta 8 products include vape cartridges, hemp flower, and Delta 8 edible gummies. Delta-8 is incredibly diverse as it offers a variety of wellness perks like anti-anxiety effects and inflammation reduction – all while getting you high enough to kind of feel like you’re smoking THC. Delta-8 products are available wherever smoke products are sold and there are many of them to choose from! Despite there being many Delta-8 products to choose from at your local gas stations, dispensaries, and online hemp shops, only select brands should be trusted to offer the best Delta-8 products for optimal results.
So, how does Delta-8 THC measure up next to other cannabinoids like HHC? Let’s dive into a side-by-side comparison of the two.
HHC and Delta-8 THC – What is the Difference?
As Delta-8 THC and HHC continue to pop up in the cannabis market, everyone wants to know which one of the two is the best. If we’re giving something other than THC a shot, it has to be top-of-the-line, right?
Delta-8 THC and HHC are two of the most favored cannabinoids and their reasons why are evident. They both have some interesting characteristics. From conversion processes to acclaimed potencies and efficacy rates, these are two leading compounds worth talking about. Let’s review the differences between Delta-8 THC and HHC.
How Delta-8 Is Made?
We have to start with how each of these compounds is made. They’re both technically hemp-derived but are created through different synthesized processes.
Delta-8 is interesting because it can be made in many different ways. The first and most natural process is through the degradation process of THC– the main active compound in cannabis. This produces the least amount of Delta-8 though. The second process utilizes cannabidiol, a chemical compound produced in large amounts in cannabis, better known as CBD. To jump-start this process, CBD is extracted and dissolved into a solvent, typically a non-polar organic solvent, heptane. This mixture is combined with an acid and then taken through some neutralizing and purifying processes to get the desired end result. Then, it’s time for the most important part of the process– testing the product! Product testing is essential in the hemp market. These are products that will be ingested by people, and overlooking hazardous remains in a final product could be dangerous. Once the final batch of Delta-8 THC has been tested for purity and safety, this highly concentrated product is ready to be used to make a variety of Delta-8 products. This includes Delta-8 tinctures, vape cartridges, Delta 8 flower, edibles, gummies, capsules, and Delta 8 concentrate.
How HHC Is Made?
As we know, HHC was created in the 1940s by adding hydrogen molecules to THC. The HHC in today’s market is pretty close to what was created then but follows a different multi-step process to get there.
HHC products are legal in some states, but not all states, sort of like THC. This leads companies to get a little creative with how they process their HHC. As we learned with Delta-8, cannabis produces compounds that are (relatively) easy to convert into other compounds. These compounds differ in molecular structures that help set them apart, but they’re not all too different from one another, chemically speaking. Thanks to this, HHC can be created using CBD, just like Delta-8.
Note that this process may differ from brand to brand, and even some HHC products may result in slightly different strengths. To process HHC, CBD is first extracted from hemp plants and distilled to create an isolate. Following this, the isolate is taken through a process known as isomerization to convert CBD to Delta 9 THC. This essentially means taking one chemical and altering its structure to create a different one.
After this, we have our THC and it’s time to convert it to hexahydrocannabinol, through a process called hydrogenation. This is a popular method for creating some processed foods, so it’s not that unfamiliar of a process. When we use this process on THC it gives a slightly different version of it, that is unique enough to produce different effects when consumed. This requires breaking the compound’s double bonds by adding hydrogen molecules to the matter. Essentially, hydrogenation alters the chemical structure in a way that lessens the effects of Delta-9, while maintaining some level of potency.
HHC is one of those compounds that can be created in a variety of different ways, so depending on resources and legality this will differ from brand to brand.
Delta-8 THC and HHC both offer unique potencies. These compounds vastly differ from each other in the effects they produce. For the sake of comparing these two potencies, we’ll use Delta-9 THC as a reference point – since it’s known to be the head compound in charge!
Delta-8 THC produces lighter effects than Delta-9 THC. When you ingest Delta-8 THC, it might take a few minutes to kick in. The Delta-8 THC high is smooth and enjoyable – like a joy ride through a cannabis neighborhood you didn’t know existed. Delta-8 THC can be uplifting, as it boosts your mood and eliminates anxiety. The smooth voyage is continuous through the uplifting sativa-like effects to the soothing properties that make you feel relaxed. Some Delta-9 THC lovers say that Delta-8 gets them high just like THC, so Delta-8 definitely gets cool points for still producing some level of a high, without throwing you into a mental black hole.
HHC is a little less forgiving in terms of effects. This hydrogenated cannabinoid sits somewhere between Delta-8 THC and THC. It offers a potent kick, due to its THC origin. HHC is potent enough to get you high, but it doesn’t necessarily offer the incredibly soothing effects the way Delta-8 does, nor make you feel sky high the way Delta-9 does.
Both of these compounds are potent and can produce different effects. You might notice that one is stronger than the other, or both are equally potent. These compounds are liable to affect us all differently – as we share different body chemistries just like they do.
HHC vs. Delta-8 THC – Effects
Now that we know some differences between the origins and conversion process of HHC and Delta-8 THC, you’re probably wondering what effects and benefits they offer.
Both of these compounds are available in a variety of intake methods, just like all cannabis-derived products. These individual methods might produce different effects as they contain the compounds at different concentration levels and enter the body at different rates. Let’s take a closer look at the effects associated with each.
The Effects of HHC
Let’s start with the initial effects of HHC. When HHC is initially consumed you might experience a rushing head high depending on the method you choose. This is most commonly experienced with HHC vape cartridges or HHC dabs– similar to what you would experience with a THC vape cart. If you’re choosing a method that doesn’t involve intake via inhaling like HHC gummies, you might have to wait around for the effects to kick in. Depending on the method of intake, it could take between 30 minutes to an hour for the effects to fully kick in.
Since HHC shares similarities in chemical structure with THC, it might cause mild psychotropic effects. Psychotropic refers to a drug that affects your mental state through altered perceptions and potential episodes of psychosis. So in other words ingesting HHC can cause you to experience a high similar to what you would experience with THC, also known as weed.
Despite its heavy presence in online shops, dispensaries, and gas stations, only select the best HHC products after conducting extensive research on the safety and efficacy of the brand.
The Effects of Delta-8 THC
Delta-8, on the other hand, doesn’t promise psychotropic effects. Instead, Delta-8 offers a soothing and slightly more controlled experience that most find enjoyable. Contrary to popular belief, some people dislike getting super high. So, Delta-8 is a good option for those that prefer lighter potency with equal effectiveness. Some products like Delta-8 gummies and tinctures are also combined with CBD. This helps keep users grounded while still getting that mild cannabis buzz. Delta-8 THC is also available in a variety of methods just like all of the other cannabis products. The initial effects of Delta-8 THC are smooth. Depending on the product you choose, you’ll notice that the effects take a while to kick in. Similarly, the wait time is usually somewhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour. But once they’re in full effect, a D8 high is considered to be much smoother than any other cannabinoid. When using Delta-8 THC, you might start to feel calmer as it amplifies your mood, and enhances your focus and sense of awareness. Delta-8 THC can produce a two-part effect similar to a hybrid cannabis product – starting off with uplifting effects and fading to a mellow effect.
The legality of HHC and Delta 8 THC
You’ll be glad to know that both HHC and Delta-8 THC is actually legal in most states. Unlike Delta-9 THC these products have passed the test of legality. In 2018, the Farm Bill legalized the sale and use of Delta-8 and HHC in select states. These products contain no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol which is the active compound responsible for psychotropic effects. These two cannabinoids have grown tremendously and in popularity due to their current legal statuses. If you’re interested in trying either HHC or Delta-8 THC, check your local state laws to learn how to enjoy these cannabinoids safely.
HHC or Delta-8 THC: Which One is Best to Choose?
When deciding between HHC or Delta-8 THC, it’s important to know that ultimately, the decision is yours. However, we advise you to take into consideration the effects you prefer and which of the two is more likely to fulfill your expectations. No matter which you choose, we advise you to choose a product that comfortably fits with your lifestyle, research the brands that offer these products and read their Certifications of Analysis, and also use a low dosage of these products to learn the true effects and determine which of them, if either, is best for you.