Hemp-based legal highs are colossal businesses nowadays, with many companies that initially started with CBD products now expanding into the delta-8 and HHC markets.
Maybe you’re looking for a legal cannabis-like product that gets you stoned, but you don’t know which one to choose. In this post, I’ll be comparing delta-8 and HHC, both renowned for their THC-like psychoactive effects.
I’ll examine both cannabinoids, exploring their unique qualities and similarities. But first, here’s my combined top five HHC and delta-8 products available right now.
Delta-8 THC Vape Cartridges
Enjoy delta-8’s energizing and psychoactive properties with these impressive vape cartridges from CBD Genesis. Each cart contains 1000mg of hemp-derived delta-8 extract and is compatible with all 510-threaded vape batteries.
High-quality design that delivers thick vapor and hard-hitting effects with zero clogging. The third-party analysis from Marin Analytics confirms these carts are Farm Bill compliant. Choose from several sativas, indicas, and hybrids.
Sativas: Candyland, Strawberry Cough, Cookies & Cream (D8 + D10)
Indicas: Skywalker, Frooty Pebbles, Grand Daddy Purp, Forbidden (D8 + D10)
Hybrids: Strawnana, Wedding Cake, OG Kush, Blueberry Lemon Haze, GG#4, Girl Scout Cookies, Amnesia (D8 + D10), Zaza (D8 + D10), Sunshine (D8 + D10)
ELYXR LA – HHC Cartridges (1 gram)
These tasty HHC Cartridges from ELYXR LA are perfect if you want potent highs with specific effects. ELYXR stocks a variety of sativas, indicas, and hybrids, catering to those who want stimulation, more profound relaxation, or something more middling.
The 510-threaded design ensures these carts work with all standard vape batteries. I’m impressed with ELYXR’s HHC offerings – they are among the best legal hemp high manufacturers.
All HHC carts from ELYXR LA are federally compliant, with the third-party analysis from KCA Labs showing no THC whatsoever and almost 900mg HHC.
Strains: 99 Problems (Sativa), Amnesia Haze (Sativa), Kush Mints (Hybrid), Bonkers (Hybrid), Apple Fritter (Indica), Pink Rozay (Indica)
Delta-8 THC Gummies
Enjoy a delicious, mellow, extended high with Genesis and these delta-8 gummies. With 25mg delta-8 per gummy, this is a medium-strength edible product to satisfy first-timers and experienced users alike.
Expect to receive a variety of gummies when you purchase delta-8 edibles from Genesis. These guys often mix up the flavors and shapes. Sometimes, you might get cube-shaped gummies; on other occasions, you could get semi-circles!
What matters is that the manufacturing process stays the same. All delta-8 gummies from Genesis are third-party tested by Marin Analytics and have less than 0.3% THC.
Sizes: 25-count (625mg), 50-count (1250mg), 100-count (2500mg)
Chill Plus – Delta-8 THC Gummies
Unlike most delta-8 edibles, these Chill Plus gummies combine delta-8 and CBD. A mild option is available for those who want to balance out the psychoactive effects of delta-8 with CBD. Hardcore users can opt for something more substantial!
Choose between the Squares Original gummies, which have a 1:1 mix of delta-8 to CBD, or the extreme mixes, which pack in four times as much delta-8 as CBD.
Each tub contains 50 gummies, with Chill Plus using delta-8 distillate and CBD-isolate extract in its edibles. All products are Farm Bill compliant and have less than 0.3% THC, per the third-party report from Kaycha Labs.
Types: Extreme Fruity Mix (1250mg), Tropical Mix (1250mg), Squares Original (1000mg)
Work – HHC + Delta-8 + Delta-10 Disposables
Introducing the Sledgehammer disposable vaporizer, which checks in at a mind-boggling 2500mg (2.5g)! Combining potent HHC extract, rejuvenating delta-8, and the stress-relieving effects of delta-10, this is a delightful cannabinoid concoction.
Disposables are ideal if you want a simplified, fuss-free vaping experience. The hemp extract comes ready to vape, so you don’t need to mess around with filling up your tank or worrying about leakages.
I’m yet to see any other brand blending HHC, delta-8, and delta-10! At 2500mg, the Sledgehammer is also the largest disposable vape I have seen. Third-party tested with less than 0.3% THC. Choose between four strains.
Strains: Rainbow Candy, Strawberry Slush, Watermelon Punch, Strawberry Banana
What is HHC?
Hemp-derived hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) has quickly become one of the best-selling legal highs in the United States. Recreational marijuana is still only permitted in a few states, and those in restricted areas are looking for alternatives.
As of February 2022, HHC is legal at the federal level and protected by the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act (Farm Bill) wording. As a naturally occurring cannabinoid, HHC falls under the definition of a hemp derivative.
Boasting psychoactive effects like marijuana, HHC is a cannabinoid and a hydrogenated derivative of delta-9-THC (THC). Researchers first discovered HHC in the 1940s, but the substance remained relatively obscure until recently.
Therefore, scientists have a limited understanding of HHC compared to cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Best estimates suggest HHC is more relaxing than THC and around 20% weaker.
What is Delta-8?
Delta-8-THC (delta-8) is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid and an analog of THC. While somewhat more energizing than THC, experts have learned that delta-8 is a little less potent and intoxicating.
Hemp-derived delta-8 is legal at the federal level and has been so since Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill. If you can’t access legal cannabis in your state, delta-8 is an attractive backup option.
Besides the stimulating effects, delta-8 is otherwise similar to THC. A dose of delta-8 will leave you feeling euphoric and giggly, and it may also boost your appetite.
Handily, because of delta-8’s naturally weaker properties, you’re less likely to experience anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and other side effects associated with THC.
Some state lawmakers have taken a dim view of the legal loophole in the Farm Bill that has allowed for the creation of delta-8 products. As of February 2022, delta-8 is illegal in at least 18 states.
So, even though the federal government has given the green light to delta-8, that only tells half the story.
The Legal Status of HHC and Delta-8
HHC and delta-8 are legal at the federal level, according to legislation in the 2018 Farm Bill. However, there are caveats, and the emergence of HHC and delta-8 has not come without controversy.
Let’s start with the basics. Even though HHC and delta-8 are legal, both substances must come from industrial hemp plants. The Farm Bill rules industrial hemp as Cannabis Sativa L. plants with no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis.
Therefore, HHC and delta-8 products, like all other hemp products, are only legal when they have less than 0.3% THC. It’s rarely an issue, with most companies using purified HHC or delta-8 distillate with zero THC. However, hemp flower products do contain trace levels of THC.
Are HHC and delta-8 synthetic?
Small amounts of HHC and delta-8 are found naturally in hemp but in meaningless quantities. The plant produces nowhere near enough of either to make extraction profitable.
Indeed, the only reason HHC and delta-8 products exist is because chemists make the cannabinoids in laboratories. But that has brought about accusations that these substances are synthetic.
In 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released an Interim Final Rule (IFR) about the 2018 Farm Bill. The IFR noted that “synthetic cannabinoids” remain prohibited, but it didn’t give a specific definition of what synthetic means.
But more recent comments give us firm reason to believe that the DEA doesn’t view HHC and delta-8 as synthetic. A spokesman for the federal agency said that synthetic refers to cannabinoids made with non-cannabis materials.
That is likely a reference to Spice and K2, highly dangerous synthetic cannabinoid products with no natural origin. But lab technicians make HHC and delta-8 distillate from natural, hemp-derived CBD-isolate extract, which is a cannabis material!
HHC vs. Delta-8
Despite sharing similarities to THC, delta-8 and HHC are quite different substances. While you may have a preference, many people enjoy using delta-8 and HHC, finding that both can benefit their day.
Delta-8 is best suited for mornings and afternoons. The sativa-like high produces a mentally stimulating effect and boosts physical energy, too. If you struggle with fatigue and motivation, delta-8 could be the helping hand you need.
In contrast, HHC is all about the couchlock high, deep relaxation, and euphoria. These effects are delightful in the early evenings and night-time when you’re looking to wind down and destress after a long, hard day.
Hence, it’s not necessarily a competition between HHC and delta-8. Both have their strengths and can complement each other. However, remember that HHC is more potent than delta-8, and factor the added potency in when dosing up.
HHC and delta-8 side effects
Side effects from HHC and delta-8 are less common than from marijuana but should not be dismissed. Anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations are less frequent and severe with HHC, and delta-8 – milder delta-8 is even safer than HHC in this respect.
Watch out for slowed reaction times, poor coordination, and short-term memory loss when under the influence of either substance. These should disappear as soon as the high wears off.
Other side effects to be aware of include rapid heart rate, dry mouth, and red eyes. Avoid using HHC and delta-8 products if you have pre-existing heart conditions.
HHC, Delta-8, and Drug Tests
As far as drug tests go, delta-8 and HHC come with risks – although we know more about the dangers with the former. As a THC analog, delta-8 produces the same metabolite as THC, making it easily detectable on a standard drug test.
We’re less sure about the chemistry of HHC within the body and its susceptibility to drug tests. Preliminary trials in animals indicate that HHC cannabinoids metabolize into 8alpha-hydroxy-HHC and 8-beta-hydroxy-HHC.
Both metabolites bear a resemblance to 11-COOH-THC, the THC metabolite that drug tests are designed to detect. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that HHC would trigger a positive drug test.
If using HHC, ensure your product of choice does not contain any THC or delta-8. Even then, the HHC distillate may still have a small amount of leftover THC that wasn’t removed during hydrogenation.
How to Find High-Quality HHC and Delta-8 Products
The HHC and delta-8 markets are going from strength to strength, but finding safe and effective products is as challenging as ever. Scammers always look for easy targets, so you must know your stuff before purchasing.
You can filter out the fraudsters and corner-cutters by sticking with third-party tested HHC and delta-8. Independent lab testing is a voluntary process that genuine brands go through to prove their products are up to standard.
Third-party testing is a valuable system that makes up for the absence of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation. The top HHC and delta-8 companies always make lab reports easy to find and get them updated every few months.
Beyond lab testing, look for products with an appropriate potency. Keep in mind the slightly milder psychoactive effects of delta-8 and HHC.
If in doubt, choose a weaker product – you can always buy something more powerful, but a bad trip may put you off!