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What are the Effects of HHC?

What are the Effects of HHC?

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Cannabis enthusiasts have been buzzing about HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol, lately, as it offers a unique experience compared to more well-known cannabinoids like CBD and Delta-9 THC. 

While HHC occurs naturally in small amounts in hemp and marijuana, it is now being isolated and sold as a standalone product. In this article, we'll explore the effects of HHC and how they compare to other popular cannabinoids. Whether you're a seasoned cannabis user or new to the scene, this guide will give you a better understanding of what HHC has to offer.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Let’s start with the basics before we talk about HHC’s effects.

If you've had Delta-8, hemp-derived Delta-9, or even CBD, then you're already familiar with cannabinoids to some extent.

They’re simply compounds found in the cannabis species, whether hemp or marijuana. On that note, the only difference between the two cannabis variants is one established by lawmakers. Hemp has a Delta-9 THC concentration of no more than 0.3% by dry weight, while marijuana contains any concentration greater than this. That's pretty much the only difference.

Anyway, there are at least 113 known cannabinoids in these plants. Hexahydrocannabinol, or HHC, is but one cannabinoid that occurs naturally in small amounts in hemp and marijuana.

Some speculate that HHC is a byproduct of Delta-9 THC breaking down in the plant.

The Endocannabinoid System 

So now that we've got cannabinoids down let's talk about the endocannabinoid system.

"Wait, there's an entire system in the human body dedicated to processing THC? Sweet!"

Well, yes, and also, no.

The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a vast network of cellular receptors and chemical signals throughout the human body. The ECS helps carry out many vital functions such as:
This system uses compounds made by the human body called endocannabinoids. Depending on the function needed to maintain a state of internal balance (homeostasis), these endocannabinoids will bind to different receptors.

Interestingly, phytocannabinoids (derived from cannabis) such as THC and HHC are molecularly similar to endocannabinoids. Therefore, they can interact with this system.

A pretty neat natural occurrence, right?

Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System

People have known the effects of cannabis for thousands of years but don't know what caused those effects.  Scientists then identified cannabinoids as the compounds in the plants that cause the effects, but people didn't know how they worked in the human body. 

Researchers discovered the endocannabinoid system when figuring out how cannabinoids work in the body.  So that about covers how the endocannabinoid system works.

Before we talk about HHC, the next step is to discuss how THC works since the two are very similar.

How Does THC Work?

Man smoking weed and blowing puffs of smoke while resting at the foggy beach

THC, as a cannabinoid, works by binding to the body's cannabinoid receptors

There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in the human body. There are CB1 receptors in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Then, there are CB2 receptors located throughout other parts of the body (along with CB1 receptors).

Delta-9 THC is structurally very similar to the endocannabinoid anandamide, which modulates much of the brain's reward circuitry behavior. Like anandamide, THC can bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors but has a high affinity for binding with CB1 receptorsIn the brain, there are high concentrations of CB1 receptors in the cerebellum, brainstem, basal ganglia, neocortex, and hippocampus.

What do these parts of the brain do? Here's a handy list:
  • Cerebellum: coordinates movement, balance, and posture
  • Brain stem: breathing, consciousness, pain processing, and sleep
  • Basal ganglia: motor control, motor learning, emotions, and behaviors
  • Neocortex: language, decision-making, and perception 
  • Hippocampus: learning and memory 
It's important to note that these are parts of the brain with higher concentrations of CB1 receptors, but they're not the only ones with these receptors.

So to tie this back into how THC works, it binds to cannabinoid receptors with a particular "liking" to CB1 receptors, which are highly concentrated in the central nervous system. Because these parts of the central nervous system influence how you process pain, emotions, and other bodily functions, THC has an effect on these same functions when you consume it. It essentially activates all of the parts of your brain with CB1 receptors.

And now, let's get into how HHC works.

Effects of HHC

MOOD GUMMIES

So what are the effects of HHC? Well, this is a bit of a trick question, because it depends on what type of HHC you're talking about.

HHC is essentially hydrogenated THC"Hydrogenated" refers to when something is charged or combined with hydrogen.

Several defining features separate HHC from THC. Delta-8 and Delta-9 get their respective names because of a chemical bond on their eighth or ninth carbon chains. HHC molecules, on the other hand, do not have this chemical bond and have two more hydrogen atoms than THC. This slight structural difference greatly impacts the effects of the cannabinoid.

However, there isn't just one type of HHC.

In commercial HHC products, you'll find two types of HHCs. There is 9R HHC and 9S HHCAll you need to know is that 9R HHC is the one that can bind to cannabinoid receptors and 9S HHC doesn't… do such a great job at it.

When derived from hemp, the two appear together (either in a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio), but separating them would drive up the cost of HHC products. So they're usually just left together but in a greater quantity to make up for the inactive HHC.

For example, Hometown Hero offers HHC gummiesThese gummies aren't a type of "Max HHC" product, but the ratio of active versus inactive HHC is roughly 2:1, which could be approximately 33.3mg of "active" HHC per gummy.

The active HHC will bind to cannabinoid receptors and carry out effects in the same range as Delta-8 THC and hemp-derived Delta-9 THC.

Effects: HHC vs. Deta-8 vs. Delta-9

How do the effects of HHC compare to Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC?

It's difficult to say. People who have consumed any one of these cannabinoids have reported feeling:
  • Euphoric
  • Relaxed 
  • Creative
  • Calm
  • Fascinated
  • Focused 
  • Energized 
  • Giggly
  • Jovial
  • The "munchies" 
However, some may find that different compounds operate like a spectrum, where one can lean into particular effects more than the other. 

For example, you might find HHC better for feeling energized, creative, and fascinated, while Delta-9 might be better for relaxation and calmness. In general- that is the consensus among enthusiasts. However, it's important to know that these are only subjective experiences and can vary depending on a variety of factors like method of consumption, serving size, or even strain (if the product is infused with live resin or live rosin).

The only way to truly know the effects of HHC and where it can best fit in your life is to try it out yourself. If you're unfamiliar with any cannabinoid, we recommend taking the low and slow-approach. This means beginning with a small amount, waiting for the onset of effects, and then deciding if you want to take more.

It may sound like a chore, but once you find your "sweet spot," you'll be set for many sessions ahead. What should also be taken into account when discussing the effects of this cannabinoid is how it is consumed.

The effects of smoking HHC will differ from HHC edible effects.  If you eat HHC gummies, the effects will take longer to kick in but will be more intense and longer-lasting than if inhaled (or even taken sublingually). 

Always treat different "forms" of the same cannabinoid as uncharted territory, taking the "low and slow" approach again.

Does HHC Have Side Effects?

It’s possible to feel overwhelmed if you take too much HHC. However, there is very little threat of physical danger regarding HHC cannabinoid effects.

However, you do not want to drive after consuming HHC. You also should not consume HHC if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Why Try HHC?

closeup of an hhc gummy

Although the effects of HHC are within the range of hemp-derived Delta-9 THC, the two aren't interchangeable.

As stated before, some have described HHC as offering a greater emphasis on energy and euphoria than other THC types/variants, but these are only subjective reports. Results can vary.

A person might find that HHC fits better for outdoor activities or "powering through" chores, while they might find Delta-9 to be better for watching movies at home or attending a concert.

In short, if you enjoyed other forms of THC, it wouldn't hurt to try HHC.

The best scenario is that you find your new favorite cannabinoid, and generally, the worst that could happen is that you're like, "Well, this is nice, but I like Delta-8 or Delta-9 better." 

Conclusion

In short, the best way to think about HHC is that it's just another form of THC (with extra hydrogen and one less chemical bond).

All forms of THC will offer the same kinds of effects, but some may lean more into one effect than others. Many have said HHC is closer to Delta-9 than Delta-8, but the only real way to gauge the difference is to try it yourself.

Until next time, happy exploring, and Mind Your Mind!

FDA Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

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