Users love hexahydrocannabinol for its relaxing, stimulating high. The cannabinoid has really popped off in recent years. However, critics are quick to condemn what they see as an illegitimate form of cannabis. A lot of the backlash has to do with the way it’s made. What is the truth? Is HHC inherently dangerous due to its manufacturing methods? Or, is it a wonderful, federally legal alternative to weed? Learn all about the process and the importance of choosing a reputable brand, like DVNT, for all of your HHC needs.
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What is HHC?
Let’s start with the basics. HHC is a psychoactive cannabinoid first discovered in the 1940s by American chemist Roger Adams. Adams made HHC from cannabis-derived THC by adding hydrogen. This is known as hydrogenation (more on this later!). Adams describes his process in this 1947 patent.
So, while HHC was discovered decades ago, it didn’t really have its moment in the limelight until recently. This is due to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill legalized hemp on a federal level. Legally, hemp is defined as cannabis containing .3% or less of delta 9 THC. An unintended, but awesome, result of this bill was the legalization of all cannabinoids as long as they are made from hemp. It is this loophole that promoted cannabinoids like delta 8 and HHC into the spotlight, especially in states without legal cannabis.
Chemically, the difference between THC and HHC is a matter of two hydrogen atoms. THC has four hydrogen atoms while HHC has six. This extra hydrogen changes the way that HHC interacts with our endocannabinoid system. (Learn more about hexahydrocannabinol and the ECS here). Additionally, hydrogenation makes HHC a more shelf-stable cannabinoid. This means it is less sensitive to degradation from oxygen, heat, and light than traditional THC.
Is hydrogenation only reserved for creating psychoactive cannabinoids? No! The same process is used to create margarine out of vegetable oil.
How HHC is made
Now that you have a general overview, let’s get into the technicalities of the whole process. In order to make HHC, you need to be an experienced chemist in a lab. So, kids, don’t try this at home!
Most HHC on the market today is made from hemp-derived delta 8 THC. The delta 8 gets placed into a high-pressure, reducing environment. With the addition of a solvent and metal catalyst, hydrogenation occurs. Examples of metal catalysts are iridium, palladium, rhodium, nickel, ruthenium, platinum, and rhenium. The delta 8’s structure becomes destabilized under pressure, and they hydrogen restores the stability.
What are the risks?
While not a risk to you, the consumer, there is a risk of explosion occurring during the manufacturing process. So, for the guys in the white coats, they need to conduct their business safely and eliminate the risk of static discharge.
As far as consumer risk, you need to make sure that you choose reputable, lab-tested products. While hydrogenation has been around for decades, it’s only safe if it’s executed correctly. The testing is essential to ensure that there are no leftover metals or solvents in the finished product.
How does HHC differ from THC?
Because of how HHC is made, there are a couple of key differences between it and traditional THC. Like I mentioned earlier, HHC is more shelf-stable. This means you can plan in advance and stock up on all your favorite products without worrying about them going bad before you can enjoy them. (Check out our boxes of blunts and prerolls for this reason!).
The other difference is that the HHC molecules are less able to attach to the receptors in our endocannabinoid system than THC molecules. This means the high is less intense. A less intense high is not necessarily a bad thing though. HHC is known for its relaxing, euphoric, and stimulating effects. Because of the reduced intensity of the high, users are less likely to experience the anxiety and paranoia that typically accompany a delta 9 high. As a matter of fact, the mild psychoactive effects tend to be a selling point for this cannabinoid.
The bottom line
Shop smart if you’re looking to try HHC! When done right, HHC is a gentle, safe alternative to an overwhelming and anxious delta 9 high. I personally love it for the stimulating, heady buzz I experience. It truly is the ideal cannabinoid for when you want to feel high, but not totally incapacitated. For ultimate relaxation without the racing thoughts and couch lock, HHC is truly ideal.