HHC is the latest legal cannabinoid, making its mark on the hemp industry. The euphoric, psychoactive effects make it similar to THC and delta-8, but HHC is carving out its own fanbase – and for good reason!
In this guide, I want to take a deep dive into HHC’s effects, exploring what it does and how it differs from the other cannabinoids we know and love. I’ll also look at how to find top-shelf HHC and how to have an amazing trip with this exciting cannabinoid!
But first, I want to introduce you to my three favorite HHC products.
1. ELYXR LA – HHC Tincture (1000mg)
If vaping isn’t your thing, you can enjoy the HHC high in a safer manner with ELYXR LA’s 1000mg HHC tinctures. The company utilizes nanotechnology to make these premium enhanced oils, taken under the tongue or in food and drink.
Each full dropper delivers more than 33mg of HHC, enough to produce an intense high, even in regular users. Some ELYXR LA tinctures – such as the Awake and Sleep varieties – are designed to deliver targeted effects.
All ELYXR LA products undergo third-party testing. These HHC tinctures have been tested by KCA Labs and Ritually Pure and contain zero detectable THC.
Flavors: Awake (Lemon Verbena), Citrus Orange, Peppermint, Relax (Blueberry Lavender Lemonade), Sleep (Mellow Grape)
2. HHC E-Liquids by Genesis (1000mg)
With standalone HHC E-Liquids, you can get high using your own vaporizer or mix HHC with other vape juices. Each 100ml bottle contains 1000mg of HHC (10mg/ml).
The e-liquid is a little weaker than that found. But that makes it a brilliant introduction to HHC’s psychoactive effects for first-time users. You could combine HHC with delta-8, CBD, or perhaps even nicotine!
HHC products are third-party lab-tested for legality and potency. These HHC E-Liquids are currently sold in four flavors.
Flavors: Blue Raspberry, Bubble Gum, Starburst, Watermelon
3. HHC Disposables by Genesis (2000mg)
Level up your HHC experience with these mighty 2000mg disposable vape pens. Genesis carts are produced with hemp-based HHC distillate that meets federal requirements and delicious natural terpenes.
With 2ml of e-liquid, Genesis makes bigger pens than most of their competitors, giving you more bang for your buck. And with a variety of sativa, indica, and hybrid disposables, you’re sure to find something that’s perfect for you.
You can change these disposable pens with a USB type C cord. All products are regularly third-party tested and have less than 0.3% THC.
Strains: Ekto Cooler (Hybrid), Maui Wowie (Sativa), Pink Kush (Hybrid), Purple Urkle (Indica), Slurricane (Indica)
What is HHC?
HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol, is a cannabinoid with psychoactive properties that is found in cannabis and hemp plants. The hydrogenated derivative of THC, early indications suggest that HHC is up to 80% as potent as the more famous cannabinoid.
HHC functions in the same way as THC, as an agonist of the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptors. Research shows that HHC has a weaker binding affinity to these receptors than THC, hence why it is not quite as powerful.
In recent years, hemp-based products containing HHC have emerged as legal highs in the United States. Since HHC provides a euphoric experience like THC’s, it’s become a go-to substance in states where weed is still banned.
By law, HHC products must be hemp-based and have less than 0.3% THC. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp across the country but set a tight cap on THC levels.
But vitally, the bill permitted HHC and all other cannabinoids with no limit. The exact wording states that “hemp” refers to all derivatives of the plant, which would include HHC!
Lawmakers may not have had HHC in mind, but hemp companies have wasted little time in bringing HHC e-liquids, edibles, and more onto the market!
The History of HHC
As a naturally occurring cannabinoid, HHC has likely always been present in cannabis, if only in small concentrations. Therefore, we can safely assume that humans have consumed HHC for thousands of years.
However, we have only learned about the chemical complexity of cannabis and its compounds in the past century. Researcher Roger Adams first synthesized HHC from natural THC in 1947. HHC is also a degradation byproduct of THC.
Few people cared about HHC until recently. Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, savvy scientists and chemists turned their attention to the obscure and forgotten cannabinoids in hemp and marijuana.
HHC was one of several to emerge as a potential commercial legal high. However, cannabis doesn’t produce enough HHC to make extraction a profitable way of manufacturing HHC products. So, companies have had to get creative.
The hemp-based HHC e-liquids, edibles, and tinctures available now contain HHC distillate concocted in a laboratory. It’s possible to process CBD and THC into HHC, which means lots of HHC can be produced at a low cost.
That most HHC is made in the lab brings into question whether HHC products are or should be legal – and it’s a question that has proven controversial! Let’s get into it.
The Legality of HHC
HHC products are legal and widely available in the US. But HHC’s status as a semi-synthetic cannabinoid clouds the legal picture somewhat.
Some think that HHC should be illegal, arguing that the lab processing makes it synthetic and, therefore, not covered by the Farm Bill. I strongly disagree, and thankfully, it appears the federal government does, too!
Firstly, HHC isn’t synthetic in the same way that products like spice and K2 are. These dangerous and highly addictive synthetic cannabinoids are made from scratch and have no natural origin.
In contrast, lab technicians make HHC from perfectly natural, hemp-derived CBD or THC. Since HHC is a naturally occurring substance, the process is arguably all-natural!
Judging by recent statements, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) only seems to be concerned about THC. The federal agency hasn’t spoken about HHC but made some interesting comments about delta-8 that are relevant here.
The DEA defines a “synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol” as a substance “produced from non-cannabis materials.” As explained, HHC does have natural origins.
Perhaps the law will change in the future. Indeed, if the federal government doesn’t act, individual states could restrict HHC, as has happened with delta-8. But for now, HHC products are in the clear!
Recreational Effects of HHC
HHC produces euphoric, mind-altering effects and, to some extent, gives you the “munchies”. The psychoactive experience is similar to regular marijuana, which is no surprise given the close link between HHC and THC.
With little scientific literature, we are reliant on user anecdotes. Curiously, HHC seems to have a more relaxing effect than delta-8 and even THC.
Researchers will hopefully tease out why that is the case, but it suggests HHC may be best for evening use. That said, you can still get HHC products with sativa terpenes that will give you a more cerebral and stimulating high.
Side Effects of HHC
Most substances have side effects, and HHC is no different. Anxiety and paranoia are the main ones to know about. However, considering HHC’s milder effects, you’re less likely to suffer from these products than you are with THC.
Other HHC side effects include dry mouth, dry eyes, sleepiness, and a drop in blood pressure. These are all short-term issues and should be resolved as soon as the effects wear off.
If you are predisposed to or have a family history of schizophrenia and psychosis, do not take HHC. It isn’t a problem specific to HHC – all psychoactive cannabinoids come with this guidance.
Will HHC Products Make Me Fail a Drug Test?
There’s no clear evidence, but anecdotal reports indicate that HHC might not show on a drug test. However, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a trouble-free drug test after using HHC products.
Let’s assume your product contains pure HHC and no other cannabinoids. Drug tests can detect 11-hydroxy-THC, a THC metabolite that both delta-8 and delta-9 break down into. So far, we don’t know if this happens with HHC.
If HHC doesn’t degrade into a classic THC metabolite, it could dodge existing drug tests. But if it does, it’s just as risky as THC or delta-8 products.
If worried about drug tests, you must be careful about the type of HHC products you purchase. Some consist of full-spectrum hemp or a combination of HHC, delta-8, and maybe even delta-10.
Any HHC products with these ingredients could trigger a positive test. Do your research and always confirm what’s in your HHC product by checking the relevant third-party certificate of analysis.
3 Things to Look for When Buying HHC
Navigating the new and developing HHC market may be confusing if you aren’t already familiar with hemp products. But keep these three things in mind, and you shouldn’t have any issue finding high-quality HHC.
Don’t forget, you can always refer to my top three HHC products if you are still not sure what to buy!
Third-Party Tested Products
Lab testing is absolutely essential in the hemp industry, especially with HHC products. There’s no excuse for brands not providing third-party lab reports – sometimes known as certificates of analysis – for products.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate HHC products, so checks on product quality, safety, and legality are carried out by independent labs.
While companies can sell HHC products without getting products tested, it’s a massive black mark against them. Logically, brands want to show customers they are making legit HHC products. Untested companies may be hiding dirty secrets.
HHC products vary in strength, affecting cost and the high. I recommend calculating the HHC cost per milligram when looking for the best-value HHC vaping products.
Remember that HHC is only a bit weaker than THC. If you haven’t taken HHC before, I suggest looking for mild products and gradually upping your dose in small increments.
Many HHC products also contain terpenes. In addition to natural flavoring, these aroma compounds also contribute to the high production of an HHC product.
Since HHC is already relaxing, expect indica HHC products to have deeply sedative effects. Hybrids may work like classic cannabis indicas, while sativa products appear to have much in common with typical hybrid strains.
How to Use HHC Products Responsibly
Don’t go too hard, too early! As HHC is “milder” than THC, many users slip up by consuming far too much to compensate. But rushing into HHC is a surefire way of having a bad trip plagued with anxiety.
Using HHC responsibly involves taking a small quantity and waiting for the effects to kick in before going again. With e-liquids, that waiting period is around 30 minutes; for edibles, it’s closer to two or three hours.
We all screw up, and if your HHC trip is going badly, it’s possible to reduce the side effects. Find a comfortable location to sit down and relax in, ideally with a sober friend.
Purchasing HHC Products Online vs. Shops Near Me
With HHC products growing in popularity, expect to see gas stations, headshops, and other stores near you stocking it if, indeed, they aren’t already! But I recommend giving them all a miss and buying your HHC from a genuine online hemp store.
The brick-and-mortar stores I mentioned rarely know what makes an HHC product effective or even legit. These shops see a business opportunity in HHC and are looking to rake in some quick cash.
A proper online hemp shop can easily distinguish between honest HHC brands and scammers. When buying online, you have plenty of time to assess a company’s credentials and check any third-party lab reports before parting with your money.