When it comes to getting high these days, cannabinoid users have quite a few options to choose from. Thanks to the powers of modern science, many psychoactive compounds found in the cannabis plant have been discovered and popularized as a legal way to get high. Delta-8 THC was one of the original psychoactive compounds to be popularized and enjoyed great success for several months…until HHC was introduced. If you’re not that familiar with either of these cannabinoids, you’re in for a treat! Today we’ll be explaining the differences between these two hemp-derived compounds, their effects, and how to choose between the two. Let’s get started!
What Is Hemp?
While both hemp and marijuana come from the cannabis plant, hemp contains 0.3% THC while marijuana contains a substantially higher THC content. The hemp plant, commonly referred to as “crappy weed,” does not get the user high when it is smoked, but does contain an impressive amount of compounds called cannabinoids. If you’re curious to learn more about the nuances of the hemp and cannabis plant, check out our previous article "What's the Difference between Cannabis, Marijuana, & Hemp?"
There are over 100 cannabinoids that have been scientifically identified, both psychoactive and non-psychoactive. The most common non-psychoactive cannabinoid is CBD. Products infused with CBD are readily available for those looking to harness the healing properties of the hemp plant without ever getting high. Yet when it comes to the psychoactive cannabinoids, there are quite a few to choose from. We’ll focus on two of the most popular psychoactive cannabinoids in this article: Delta-8 THC and HHC.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC, short for Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol, is found naturally within the hemp plant. Its chemical structure is almost identical to Delta-9 THC, the active compound in marijuana, save for the double bond on the 8th carbon chain rather than the 9th (hence their names!). The high from both cannabinoids is vastly different as well. The high from Delta-9 THC can be overwhelming for new users, especially if too high of an initial dose was consumed or if the wrong strain was selected. Delta-8 THC offers a smoother and less intense high that allows the user to remain clear-headed and in control.
While Delta-8 THC occurs naturally in hemp plant, it is in extremely low quantities of 1% or less. In order to make this abysmal amount viable, manufacturers utilize verified extraction methods to infuse their products with Delta-8 THC. All Delta-8 THC products must use federally legal hemp and contain 0.3% THC to meet the requirements set forth by the 2018 Farm Bill.
What is HHC?
HHC, short for Hexahydrocannabinol, is an intriguing cannabinoid that has much misinformation circulating around it. Some experts claim that HHC, much like Delta-8 THC, exists naturally in the hemp plant but only in trace amounts. Other experts argue that it is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid that does not exist at all in the hemp plant. The truth is that HHC is simply hydrogenated THC, similar to how margarine is hydrogenated butter. Two hydrogen molecules are added to THC molecules, thus strengthening and stabilizing the THC. A Harvard-trained chemist by the name of Roger Adams first discovered HHC in the 1940s. Both Roger Adams and Raphael Mechoulam are given credit for the isolating and identification of the CBD and THC compounds.
This is where the classification of HHC gets a bit tricky. Since HHC is simply a hydrogen-fortified THC molecule, many argue that it is semi-synthetic. However, as long as the THC molecule is derived from federally legal hemp, it is considered a federally legal cannabinoid. There is quite a bit of gray area when it comes to the legality of HHC, but as of right now, the 2018 Farm Bill deems it legal on a federal level. You’ll need to do your research on the legality of both Delta-8 THC and HHC within your state, and always confirm that the THC levels of either cannabinoid-infused products are 0.3% or less.
The Differences Between HHC & Delta-8 THC
While both HHC and Delta-8 THC are psychoactive cannabinoids, they are unique in their effects and reactions to your body’s natural endocannabinoid system. The effects of both cannabinoids will depend on several factors relevant to the individual users: age, weight, gender, previous exposure to THC, metabolism, etc. Because of these factors, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how the high from either cannabinoid will feel. Delta-8 THC may make you feel calm, relaxed, and sleepy, while HHC may make you feel giggly, bubbly, and energetic. Both highs are described as being euphoric and uplifting. The effects may vary based on the type of product consumed, the strength of the product, how much is consumed in a single dose, and how often the product is consumed.
Is HHC more potent than Delta 8?
Since HHC is a more stable form of THC, thanks to the stabilizing hydrogen molecules, you may feel a more potent high than you would from a Delta-8 THC high. Some users swear it feels exactly like traditional marijuana, but scientifically speaking, HHC is half as potent as regular weed. You may experience an enhanced sense of focus, mental stimulation, bursts of energy, cheerfulness, and others. If you’re looking for relief from aching muscles and joints, uneasiness, and an uplifted sense of wellbeing, HHC is reported to be the better option.
HHC Product Types and Costs
The market has become inundated with new HHC brands and products that include inhalables, edibles, and everything in between. If you’re looking for inhalables like pre-rolls, vapes, and the like, you can expect to pay around $30-$50. However, many forms of inhalables like vape cartridges will require external hardware to operate, which can range from $20-$100. You’ll also need to have some knowledge of smoking or vaping in order to properly enjoy these types of HHC products. Since inhalables are harder to dose, you should start with one or two puffs and wait a few moments before taking your next dose.
For edibles like gummies, tinctures, and capsules, the price should be anywhere from $20-$40. Keep in mind that with edibles, you may find yourself going through the product faster because they’re easier for first-time users to use. Edibles are easier to dose, often taste better, and do not require any external hardware to consume. You should always start off with the manufacturer’s recommended dosage of a half or whole gummy, a single capsule, 1mL of tincture or less, and so forth.
Safety of HHC and Delta-8 THC Products
Regardless of which cannabinoid you consume, you should always purchase your product from a reputable site that offers third-party independent lab testing. Since there is no FDA regulation on HHC or Delta-8 THC products, literally anyone can create a product and market it as potent and pure. Not all brands use high-quality ingredients or clean extraction methods, which means that you could potentially be harming your body by using cheaply priced (and often cheaply made) products.
There is still much research needed for both HHC and Delta-8 THC. What was once used as a basic component for rope and clothing has now become a gamechanger for those looking to enjoy a safe and legal high. HHC has been reported as being stronger than Delta-8 THC, but it depends on several factors: the amount of HHC consumed, the type of product used, and, of course, the individual. Always do your research before completing your purchase of any psychoactive cannabinoid-infused product.
Here at Erth Hemp, we offer a delightful assortment of both HHC and Delta-8 THC infused products. Our peach-flavored HHC gummies and smooth HHC vapes are excellent options for both first-time and experienced users alike, while our incredible selection of Delta-8 THC vapes, tinctures, and gummies are sure to wow your taste buds and senses with a single dose. We’re excited about the wonderful world of hemp-derived cannabinoids and look forward to sharing our products with you. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about either of these cannabinoids or any information, and leave us a comment on how much you enjoyed our products!