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Have you heard of HHC? It is a cannabinoid that is presented as a legal alternative to THC. Here we tell you where it comes from, how it is obtained, what effects it produces and everything you need to know before you try it.
What is Cannabinoid HHC?
HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol, is a minority phytocannabinoid found in small concentrations in cannabis pollen and seeds. It is one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, the vast majority of which have yet to be investigated.
But although this cannabinoid is found naturally in cannabis, the HHC that we hear so much about in recent times does not come directly from the plant itself. It is present in such low quantities that it is practically impossible to extract.
How is HHC obtained?
HHC is a hydrogenated derivative of both delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC. And it is obtained in a laboratory. One could, therefore, say that it is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid, since it is not manufactured exclusively with synthetic agents.
To obtain HHC, manufacturers subject cannabis extracts to hydrogenation, which is the addition of molecular hydrogen to a double bond. Although it was first synthesized in the mid-1940s, it has not been of great interest until a few months ago as a legal alternative to THC.
In general, manufacturers are quite reticent about revealing the processes by which they obtain HHC, although they all follow the basic principle of hydrogenation.
The process for converting THC to HHC involves mixing hydrogen gas with a cannabinoid-rich extract in a pressurized vessel. This allows the hydrogen to break the carbon double bonds of THC, creating a highly concentrated oil called hydrogenated cannabis oil.
To speed up this process, it is common to employ catalysts that accelerate the chemical reaction between hydrogen gas and natural cannabinoids. Among the most commonly used catalysts are nickel, platinum, palladium and iridium.
Does HHC get high?
So far there are still not enough studies on HHC, so we can only talk about the experience reported by consumers and information from manufacturers/sellers.
In general, HHC acts on CB1 and CB2 receptors in a similar way to THC, producing a mild to moderate feeling of euphoria. Consumers say it increases sensory pleasure and increases appetite, and depending on the dose it can cause a relaxing and sedative effect.
Are there buds with HHC?
Since a few months ago, many specialized stores have joined the HHC trend. You can find everything from buds to hashish and e-liquids. And as happened a few years ago with CBD, many other products such as cosmetics and even consumables such as chewing gum or candy are appearing.
What is the difference between HHC and THC?
THC and HHC have a very similar chemical structure. The main, and practically the only difference, is that HHC has hydrogenated carbons, an extra carbon bond and an ester atom.
According to some of the manufacturers who market HHC products, it is this small molecular difference that makes it a much more stable compound than THC, as well as being less susceptible to degradation when exposed to heat or light.
Is it safe to consume HHC?
Although the manufacturers of HHC claim that it is a safe and reliable product, at the moment there are no reports or studies that support HHC as a substance without adverse effects. It is not possible to state categorically that its degree of toxicity is null.
Is HHC legal in Spain and in Europe?
In the vast majority of European Union countries, including Spain, cannabis with more than 0.3% THC is illegal.. That is why CBD is completely legal, since it is a cannabinoid that is firstly obtained from hemp and not from marijuana. And secondly, that in no case exceeds 0.3% of THC legal allowed.
The same applies in principle to HHC, which, since it contains practically no THC, could technically be considered completely legal. Even so, we believe that in the very near future HHC will be covered by this legal loophole and given its effects, it will not take long to regulate or ban it.
Does Cannabinoid HHC test positive in drug tests?
At the moment, there are no studies or reports from users that indicate that HHC does not show up in a drug test or drogotest. In theory, drug tests detect the presence of THC metabolites, mainly the compounds 11-OH-THC and THC-COOH.
As HHC is different from THC, one would expect that it would not metabolize into either of these two compounds. But we repeat, that so far there is no certainty that a possible analysis would be negative. So be cautious.