An In Depth Look At HHC

The cannabinoid HHC has been gaining popularity and many consumers are raving about the effects it delivers. HHC was identified in the 1940’s, though there is little information available on the cannabinoid, which has many asking, what exactly is HHC? In this guide we will answer the most common questions about HHC and take an in depth look at how HHC effects those who consume.

What is HHC?

HHC is one of over 200 cannabinoids that have been identified in cannabis and hemp plants. HHC or hexahydrocannabinol, is a hydrogenated form of THC. It was first identified in the 1940’s by chemist, Roger Adams, who also identified CBD in the same decade. Adams added hydrogen molecules to Delta 9 THC, through a process called hydrogenation, to create HHC. Since then, there have been over 10 versions of HHC discovered. Though HHC derived originally from cannabis, current products on the market are derived from hemp for legal reasons.

How is HHC made?

HHC can be found naturally in hemp and cannabis, though only in trace amounts. In order to extract a usable amount from the hemp plant, a complex process is preformed to add hydrogen atoms to versions of THC. The process begins with high purity CBD extracts that are converted to an analogue of THC, most often Delta 8 THC. Active catalyst, such as nickel or palladium, are then used along with high pressure to add hydrogen atoms to THC, which then converts to HHC. Before the final extract is complete it goes through a filtration process to rid the product of any heavy metals that could be harmful to those who consume.

Fun Fact: The process used to make HHC is similar to what is used to make margarine. Manufacturers use hydrogenation to harden the vegetable oils to make the margarine stable.   

What are the benefits of HHC?

Though HHC has been less researched compared to other cannabinoids, studies that have been conducted show it is a cannabinoid with great therapeutic potential. Let’s look at what research has discovered thus far.

In 1977, HHC was the first cannabinoid to demonstrate pain relieving properties approaching the same effects morphine also delivers in rodent test models. When HHC was administered to rodents it had morphine-like potency in reducing pain and was approximately 10x more effective than Delta 9 THC. Additionally, it was found HHC did not increase spontaneous motor activity, like Delta 9 THC and morphine induced. It also exhibited no cross tolerance or dependency that accompany narcotics.

A more recent study in 2007 found HHC could help with sleep and had anti-nociceptive effects when given to mice. Anti-nociceptive is the action of reducing or blocking the detection of painful stimuli by sensory neurons, thus reducing pain felt. As for sleep, the mice sleep times where prolonged up to 8x, making it a potential therapeutic for various sleep disorders.

HHC has been found to interact with the same receptors as THC suggesting it can deliver similar therapeutic effects. Additionally, adding the hydrogen atoms enhances the binding affinity of HHC to TRP pain receptors, as well as to receptors CB1 and CB2. This means that the cannabinoid has the potential to work even better than THC for a variety of instances. More research needs to be done to confirm these findings.


Though THC and HHC are closely related, they are not the same. HHC has been found to be more stable than THC, meaning it will not degrade overtime. This is because the hydrogenation of the cannabinoid strengthens the molecular structure, making it less susceptible to oxidation and degradation; unlike THC that converts to CBN overtime. HHC also does not lose its potency when exposed to environmental factors, such as light, air, and heat like many other cannabinoids do.

Will HHC make you high?

HHC does have some psychotropic potency. It is less than that of Delta 9 THC, though a bit more than Delta 8 THC. Consumers have reported feeling relaxed and clearer headed after ingesting products with HHC.

HHC is a minor cannabinoid that has the potential to be used in major ways. As more research is conducted only time will tell of all the benefits HHC holds.