What is HHC? Benefits, safety and legality of a cannabinoid with great potential

De: Contributor Cultura

HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) is a controversial cannabinoid that has recently hit the market and is creating a lot of debate due to the lack of available information regarding its benefits and security levels. In this article, we explain what this is, and what possible effects it could have on our body.

HHC has stormed into the cannabis market with great force, especially in the US, where it is mainly used in vape cartridges. Although this is a new cannabinoid that has opened a fierce debate regarding its effects, it was actually created in the 1940s by the chemist Roger Adams, who was one of the pioneers in the study of cannabinoids. HHC emerged from a process known as hydrogenation, which modifies the structure of Delta-9 THC by replacing a double bond with two hydrogen atoms, which in turn changes its molecular weight and makes it more stable when exposed to ultraviolet light and heat.

The result of this hydrogenation process is HHC, a cannabinoid that is naturally found in the cannabis plant (especially on the pollen and seeds) but in very small concentrations, so producing it through direct extraction from the plant is not a feasible option. Therefore, the HHC currently found on the market is mainly produced synthetically in laboratories.

HHC’s legality is a controversial issue. Although it is currently being marketed in countries such as the United States under a relative legislative framework, it is not known how long this will remain in effect. It is so far protected by the 2018 Farm Bill, according to which hemp-derived products can be commercialised as long as their THC levels don’t exceed 0.3%. As HHC is a molecule that derives from tetrahydrocannabinol but is not the same compound, it is protected by this regulation for now, so it represents a legal product at federal level, although each state has the power to prohibit it in their territory.

It can be said that HHC is currently moving in a grey area of legality and, since it isn’t mentioned in any law, nor specifically prohibited, it has also started being commercialised in some European countries, mainly in the form of vaporisers which include HHC, or CBD flowers enriched with HHC (although it can also be found in other formats).

HHC’s effects

To date, there hasn’t been enough research on this compound to conclusively state its specific effects. Nevertheless, we have the testimonies of some users who claim that hexahydrocannabinol has a psychoactive effect similar to THC’s but with a lower potency. The most frequently reported effects include an increase in mood, an intoxicating effect similar to the one produced by cannabis, hunger, uncontrollable laughter, dry mouth, etc. Users’ reports generally describe HHC as something between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC.

Although further research on this semi-synthetic cannabinoid is still needed, it appears that its effects on the human body may be mediated by its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. It seems that this compound could have the ability to bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, just like other marijuana cannabinoids such as CBD, THC or CBN, among others.

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HHC’s potency according to the vape cartridge composition

Another factor to be taken into consideration when defining the psychoactive power of this substance, is the composition of the oil obtained through the previously mentioned hydrogenation process. Some of the cartridges currently available on the market have been analysed, with findings indicating that their HCO content (HCO is an oil rich in hexahydrocannabinol) contains two types of HHC: 9R HHC and 9S HHC.

In the case of the first compound, it seems that it has a greater ability to bind to the receptors of the endocannabinoid system; whereas the latter seems to have less affinity. Therefore, the psychoactive potency of HHC oil is believed to vary according to the proportions of these two components.

Manufacturers haven’t yet discovered a cost-effective way to separate the high-power HHC from its low-power twin, so commercial HHC includes a combination of both, which means it can become a bit of a gamble for the buyer.

HHC’s benefits

Since this new cannabinoid is only beginning to be studied, much research is still needed to determine both its safety and potential benefits, as well as its applications in the therapeutic field.

Several scientific research groups have begun to investigate the properties of HHC. To date, some of the studies suggest that it could be used in the future as an antitumor agent. However, it should be noted that these studies have been carried out in mice only, so there’s still a lot of development required in this area.

Other studies also suggest that HHC may have potential as an analgesic, and could be a useful tool for chronic pain sufferers. But it’s probably too early to say whether HHC has a promising future as a therapeutic drug. Due to its novel character, it is still difficult to establish safety and effectiveness parameters for this cannabinoid.

It should be noted that, although many users are using this compound for recreational purposes, and while its short-term secondary effects seem to be similar to THC’s, it is still not possible to determine what the long-term consequences of its consumption might be.

The legal framework of cannabis has largely determined the development and research of the potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of multiple diseases. However, the context of illegality still present in many countries continues to limit their application in a standardised and controlled way.

We can only hope that the recent international regulatory wave helps make these impediments a part of the past, so that new compounds like HHC can be examined and evaluated to provide real and verified information to both users and patients.

Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.

Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.

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