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HHC vs THC: Is HHC Stronger Than THC

Hydrogenated hydrocarbon cannabinoids (HHC) have emerged as a novel class of cannabinoids, sparking interest in their potency and effects compared to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While THC is widely known for its psychoactive properties and therapeutic benefits, HHC presents a new frontier in cannabinoid research. Understanding the comparative strength of HHC versus THC is crucial for consumers and researchers alike, as it may influence choices in cannabis consumption and medicinal applications.



HHC vs THC: Definition & Chemical Composition

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is a minor cannabinoid naturally found in the cannabis plant. It is a hydrogenated derivative of delta-8 and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although HHC is present in small amounts in Cannabis sativa, it can also be synthetically produced by hydrogenation, a process that involves adding hydrogen atoms to THC. This method was first employed in 1944 by chemist Roger Adams. Additionally, HHC can be synthesized from cannabidiol (CBD).

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It is responsible for most of the psychological effects that people experience when they consume cannabis. THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids identified in cannabis and is known for its ability to bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, leading to the “high” sensation. As a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant, THC is often referred to as a phytocannabinoid.

HHC is reported to have euphoric effects similar to THC, making it a psychoactive cannabinoid. Due to its similarities to THC, HHC may also possess anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic (anti-nausea), and appetite-stimulating properties, potentially making it useful for managing chronic pain, insomnia, and the side effects of chemotherapy.

Chemically, HHC is unique in that it has no double bonds in the cyclohexyl ring, differentiating it from delta-8 and delta-9 THC. Its molecular formula is C21H32O2, compared to THC’s C21H30O2. HHC is also structurally similar to another cannabis constituent, cannabiripsol.


HHC vs THC: Is HHC Stronger Than THC

HHC is less potent than delta-9 THC but offers effects that are stronger than delta-8 THC. Users seeking a middle ground between the milder effects of delta-8 THC and the intense high of delta-9 THC might find HHC to be a suitable option. However, individual experiences can vary, and the effects of each cannabinoid depend on factors like dosage, tolerance, and personal physiology.


  • HHC: HHC is generally considered less potent than delta-9 THC. This is due to its decreased binding affinity for CB1 receptors in the brain, which are primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids.
  • THC: Delta-9 THC is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis and has a strong binding affinity for CB1 receptors, resulting in more intense psychoactive effects.


  • HHC: Users report that the “high” from HHC feels somewhere between the milder effects of delta-8 THC and the stronger effects of delta-9 THC. HHC’s effects are typically described as euphoric and relaxing, with some mild psychoactive properties.
  • Delta-8 THC: Delta-8 THC is known for producing a milder, more clear-headed high compared to delta-9 THC. It’s often chosen for its reduced anxiety and paranoia effects.

  • Delta-9 THC: Delta-9 THC produces a strong psychoactive effect, characterized by euphoria, altered perception of time, and increased sensory awareness. It can also cause side effects such as anxiety and paranoia in some users.

HHC vs THC: When to Use

While HHC is utilized for both medicinal and recreational purposes, there is currently no research to support its use for specific conditions. Caution is advised when consuming synthetically-produced HHC products (or any synthetic cannabinoids), as the safety and regulation in this area are minimal. It may be wise to avoid these products altogether until more research is available.

THC can be used both recreationally and medicinally. Many states have established medical marijuana programs that allow residents to treat various medical conditions with THC. In addition to natural THC from cannabis, there are also synthetic THC products available for therapeutic use.


HHC vs THC: Risks and Drawbacks


Aspect THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol)
Potency High Lower than THC
Pleasant Effects Euphoria, relaxation, altered perception Euphoria, relaxation (less intense than THC)
Negative Effects Anxiety, paranoia, coughing fits, chest and lung discomfort, fainting, cold sweats, hallucinations Dizziness, dry mouth, red eyes, memory loss, anxiety, increased heart rate, coordination problems, slower reaction times

HHC vs THC: Benefits


Condition THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol)
Depression and anxiety
Inflammation ✓ (anti-inflammatory effects)
Insomnia ✓ (improving sleep quality)
IBD and IBS ✓ (potential relief)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) ✓ (spasm relief) ✓ (spasm relief)
Nausea ✓ (including chemotherapy-induced nausea) ✓ (anti-emetic effects)
Pain ✓ (chronic pain management, neuropathic pain) ✓ (chronic pain relief, including neuropathic pain)
FDA-approved Medication Dronabinol for nausea, vomiting (chemotherapy), weight loss, reduced appetite (HIV/AIDS)
Additional Benefits
Structural Similarity to THC ✓ (similar therapeutic effects)
Stability and Shelf Life ✓ (increased stability, stable potency)

HHC vs THC: How It Works

HHC, or Hexahydrocannabinol, functions by binding to cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) in the body, albeit with weaker affinity compared to THC. This binding results in intoxicating and psychoactive effects, though they are significantly less pronounced than those produced by THC.

The process of hydrogenation, which involves adding hydrogen molecules to delta-9 THC to create HHC, reduces its binding ability to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system and specific pain receptors in the body. This modification enhances the stability of HHC, prolonging its shelf life and maintaining potency over an extended period. HHC exhibits greater resilience to improper storage conditions, UV light exposure, and heat compared to other cannabinoids.

HHC exists in two enantiomeric forms: 9α-HHC and 9β-HHC. The 9β-HHC enantiomer is notably more active and has a stronger affinity for CB1 receptors than 9α-HHC.

In contrast, THC interacts with the body’s cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the nervous system and brain, producing its psychoactive effects. While THC remains detectable in the body for an extended period, its acute psychoactive effects typically diminish after a few hours.


Is HHC Stronger Than THC-O



HHC typically doesn’t surpass THC-O in potency. Although both cannabinoids stem from THC, THC-O is renowned for its enhanced strength, often described as significantly more potent than Delta-9 THC, the principal psychoactive compound in cannabis.


Is THCP Better Than HHC?

THCP is generally considered to have a longer alkyl side chain compared to HHC, which contributes to its higher potency. This structural difference distinguishes THCP from HHC and can result in varying experiences for hemp enthusiasts.


Is HHC stronger than CBD?



CBD (cannabidiol) is another cannabinoid found in cannabis but is non-intoxicating, meaning it does not produce a “high” effect like THC or HHC. CBD is known for its potential therapeutic benefits without causing psychoactive effects.

HHC can produce mild psychoactive effects but is generally milder than THC. CBD does not produce psychoactive effects and does not cause a “high.”


Frequently Asked Questions

Does HHC test positive for THC?

Yes, HHC can potentially test positive for THC in drug screenings. Although HHC and THC metabolites differ slightly—HHC forms 11-hydroxy-HHC whereas THC forms 11-hydroxy-THC—their structural similarity means they could both trigger a positive result in drug tests designed to detect THC or its metabolites.

Is it OK to mix HHC and THC?

Combining HHC and delta-9 THC can have better effects due to their similar mechanisms of action on cannabinoid receptors. This synergy can potentially enhance the psychoactive experience beyond what each cannabinoid would produce individually. However, the intensified effects may not be suitable for everyone, especially those who are new to cannabinoids or who are sensitive to their effects.

How long are you high after HHC?

The duration of the high after using HHC can vary based on factors such as dosage, individual metabolism, and consumption method. Typically, users may experience the effects within 5-20 minutes when inhaling HHC and within 30 minutes to 1 hour when consuming it orally.

How long do you stay high from HHC?

You can stay high from two to three hours, similar to the duration of effects seen with other THC products. However, the exact duration can vary based on several factors, including the method of consumption, individual tolerance levels, and metabolism.

How many hits of HHC gets you high?

When using HHC or any cannabinoid, it’s important to start with a low dose and gradually increase if needed to gauge your tolerance and the desired effects. Beginners typically find that one to two hits of HHC may be sufficient to feel its effects, while more experienced users may require three to four hits to achieve the desired level of high. Always proceed cautiously and adjust your consumption based on your individual response and tolerance.


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