HHC, a cannabinoid more powerful than THC
Since hemp has become legal in France, new products derived from hemp have appeared and have found their place on the legal market. In an increasing range of cannabinoids that offer a series of effects and benefits similar to those traditionally associated with THC, HHC brings new qualities.
HHC is a hydrogenated version of THC in which the double bond is broken and replaced by hydrogen. This increases its stability and perhaps also its bioavailability. One thinks that HHC produces effects similar to THC those, but additional research is necessary to better understand the effects of its use.
As the market continues to explode with new cannabinoids, keep abreast of the various effects and legality of each of them is hardly easy. In this article, we will explain what HHC is exactly and how it differs from THC.
What is HHC?
HHC is the abbreviation ofhexahydrocannabinol. It is a hydrogenated form of THC. It is obtained by a process similar to that used by margarine manufacturers to harden vegetable oils, namely hydrogenation, or the addition of hydrogen atoms to the chemical structure to make it stable.
The HHC is found naturally in hemp, but only in the state of traces. To extract a usable concentration, a complex process is carried out to add hydrogen atoms to THC using a catalyst like nickel or palladium and high pressure.
This causes the rupture of the chemical structure with a double bond of the THC, replacing it with hydrogen while preserving the power and the effects of the cannabinoid. To date, scientists have discovered at least ten isomers of this hydrogenated form of THC.
This slight modification increases the affinity of link of THC with the two cannabinoid receivers (CB1 and CB2), as well as with the TRP pain receptors. More interesting, the hydrogenation of THC strengthens its molecular structure, which makes it less sensitive to oxidation and degradation than its original cannabinoid.
During oxidation, THC is deprived of hydrogen atoms, forming two new double bonds. The result is the formation of CBN (Cannabinol), which has only about 10% of the psychoactive power of THC. Unlike THC, HHC does not lose its power so quickly when exposed to environmental factors such as light, heat and air.
So, if you are a post-apocalyptic preparer, you can keep a little bit of this HHC to raise yourself in difficult times.
Distinction between THC and HHC
Although the molecular structure of HHC is largely identical to that of THC, there is an essential difference which allows it to distinguish itself. While cannabinoids delta -7, -8 and -10, recently popularized, are also slight variations in the most popular and abundant cannabinoid cannabinoid, they all vary by the location of the double bond in their structure molecular. These are all THC, but with variable degrees of compatibility with the endocannabinoid system.
On the other hand, the HHC appears when the double bond is broken and replaced by hydrogen. The added hydrogen makes HHC more stable structurally than THC. It can therefore be kept much longer. In addition to being less vulnerable to oxidation, HHC resists heat and UV better than THC.
HHC and endocannabinoid system
Few studies have been carried out on the HHC and we do not yet know much about this cannabinoid. Currently, even the power of the HHC is disputed. While some say that the HHC is around 70-80% as powerful as the THC Delta-9, others think that, milligrame by milligrame, the HHC is less powerful than the THC Delta-8, which is about half as much powerful than the Delta-9.
The reason why the HHC is less powerful lies in the manufacture of HHC products. The final product is a mixture of two different HHC molecules - 9 R HHC and 9 S HHC. The difference between the two is that the 9R HHC is actively linked to endocannabinoid receptors, while the 9 HHC does not link well due to the slight difference in molecular structure. If the 9 R HHC produces effects similar to those of the Delta-8 THC, it would take more HHC to obtain similar effects.
Contrary claims have also been made. According to this theory, the part of the HHC products that metabolizes has stronger effects on the user due to the increased stability and bioavailability of the molecule. The HHC seems to have a strong affinity to bind to endocannabinoid receptors, which gives it a level of efficiency much higher than that of THC. This has been associated with its apparent ability to significantly reduce discomfort.
Confusion seems to reside in the fact that HHC has three chiral centers, which means that there are in fact three different forms of HHC. Each of these forms is called an enantiomer, and each enantiomer is determined by that of the three chiral centers to which the HHC links. If he binds to the first, this enantiomer will activate the CB1 receiver. If he binds to the second chiral center, then this enantiomer will activate the CB2 receiver. And if he binds to the third chiral center, then he will be unable to activate one or the other of the receivers.
The 9 R HHC and 9 S HHC are the two most common enantiomers in HHC products. Although they are linked differently to CB receptors, the theory is that HHC can potentially deal with two conditions at the same time. By linking to the two receivers, HHC is theoretically absorbed more effectively and produces stronger effects.
Additional research must be carried out to fully understand the effects of HHC, but the studies carried out so far seem to suggest that the use of HHC produces effects similar to those of THC, but with predominant sedative qualities which are similar to those an indica strain or the Delta-8 THC.
How is HHC manufactured?
The HHC is naturally found in cannabis plants, but only in very small quantities. To have enough HHC to use and sell, it must be created in a laboratory. For this reason, HHC can be considered both a natural and semi-synthetic cannabinoid.
HHC is created by hydrogenation. CBD and THC are first extracted from hemp plants, then distilled and isolated. The powder substance is the base which is then chemically saturated with hydrogen atoms, which breaks the double bond and replaces it with two hydrogen atoms. It is then exposed to a catalyst such as nickel or zinc which helps to convert cannabinoid to HHC.
The entire hydrogenation process takes place in a chemical reactor. A dark and golden oil comes out, HHC. This oil is then refined and distilled, which allows it to be transformed into a usable product.
What are the effects of HHC use?
HHC is one of the most recent cannabinoids on the market and there are not yet many final results about it. Some anecdotal evidence indicates that HHC has effects similar to those of THC. This is probably due to the similarity of their molecular structures and the resulting interactions with the endocannabinoid system.
Does HHC appear in a drug screening test?
Affirmations have been made that HHC may not appear in a drug screening test. But the results are not yet final. For the moment, it is recommended to anyone who must pass a drug screening test in the near future not to use HHC products.
All that our body ingests is treated by the liver and transformed into a metabolite. Drug tests detect metabolites produced by specific substances. The metabolite that allows you to read THC consumption is 11-hydroxy-Thc, which can be detected with the use of all known variants of Delta. However, the theory is that the HHC does not convert into 11-hydroxy-Thc and would therefore not be hypothetically detected by a drug screening test.
HHC studies are still in their early days and nothing has been confirmed as to whether the HHC will appear or not in a drug screening test. The HHC is already gaining followers and studies will certainly continue, so perhaps we will soon have a clearer understanding of the HHC and the effects it can have.
What are the side effects of HHC?
As with other recently discovered cannabinoids, research is lacking in the safety and side effects of HHC; Most information available on its safety profile comes from speculation. Until now, entry studies suggest that HHC has a profile comparable to the risk and safety of THC, with similar side effects reported by users who have taken high doses of THC.
If you take too much HHC, you risk feeling:
- Drought of the mouth
- Increased appetite
- Quick heart rate
- Red eyes
How much HHC should you take to get the best results?
The optimal dose of any psychoactive substance depends on a series of factors, such as tolerance levels, age, weight, metabolism and even sex. If you have never used HHC, you probably don't know your tolerance threshold. As a rule, you should consider that this cannabinoid is somewhere between the THC Delta 8, which is relaxing, and the Delta 9, more psychedelic.
The best way to know how much HHC is right for you is to start with a low dose and gradually increase the dose until your body responds in the desired way.
Example of Delta 8 THC dosage:
- Low dose: between 10 and 20 mg per catch
- Average dose: 20 - 50 mg per portion
- Important dose: 50 - 100 mg per portion
If you have never smoked or vaping cannabis with a high content in THC (marijuana), you can start vaping THC cartridges by adding 5 mg to the weak and the high dose of the Delta 8. But if you are a Experienced consumer of one or the other, taking a similar or slightly higher dose of HHC would be a good starting point. Once again, knowledge of your tolerance plays an important role in determining your optimal dosage.
Finally, microdoses can start with taking a very small quantity like 1 to 2 mg to stay at the limit of the experience of psychoactive effects and obtain a constant cognitive stimulant instead.
Where can we buy HHC?
The HHC has been discovered recently. Hemp manufacturers are therefore trying to find how to infuse it in formats similar to Delta 8 products that consumers can buy. The biggest problem of new cannabinoids, especially those like HHC, is the potential danger of the unknown. The main problem is that the HHC is so new that there are not yet standard test procedures for it. This means that even producers who test their extracts are not able to provide specific results.
While waiting for the industry to establish appropriate test standards for HHC, you will not see these products sold by renowned manufacturers. Hopefully this will happen earlier than late.
What are the HHC products available?
Hemp brands strive to incorporate HHC into a variety of popular formats, including:
- HHC dyes
- HHC gums and edibles
- HHC hemp flower
- HHC vapors