HHC is short for Hexahydrocannabinol and is a hydrogenated version of delta-9 and delta-8-THC. Hydrogenated essentially means it’s exposed to hydrogen which adds a few hydrogen atoms altering its chemical make-up.
In the same way we hydrogenate oil to turn it into margarine, HHC is the I can’t believe it’s not butter version of THC.
How it all began
U.S. Chemist Roger Adams Isolated CBD 75 Years Ago
HHC has been around since the 1940s but has only recently gained traction as people are hunting for semi-legal cannabinoids. It was first synthesized in 1944 by Roger Adams, a gifted organic chemist who discovered THC and cultivated and identified CBD. Despite being outlawed by the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, Adams fought to legally study cannabis. He discovered and named Adam’s catalyst, a.k.a. Platinum dioxide, which is used in various chemical reactions including hydrogenation, hydrogenolysis, dehydrogenation, and oxidation. Essentially, in hydrogenation, hydrogen is added to a chemical compound using a metal. For HHC you saturate THC with hydrogen atoms using high pressure and a metal catalyst like nickel or palladium. In the case of Adams, he used platinum dioxide. Why would a decades old version of THC be in such high demand? There’s been a huge push for cannabinoids that can offer cannabis consumers something new, or to find a loophole to offer people a legal high in areas where cannabis isn’t legal. All cannabinoids come from CBG and various chemical processes inside the cannabis plant will alter a cannabinoid’s make-up. For example, CBG-A, the acid that becomes CBG, will become THC-A or CBD-A depending on the needs of the plant. Similarly, as THC breaks down, over time, it will create delta-8-THC, delta-10-THC, HHC, and CBN. These are all psychoactive compounds but are all less reactive than traditional THC. CBN is often found in decent amounts while the rest can be very rare. With a little chemical finagling, CBD harvested from hemp, or delta-8-THC also obtained from legal hemp can be hydrogenated and converted into HHC. The goal is to market legal cannabinoid products to people nationwide. Unlike the deltas, HHC does have some benefits that can even make it even slightly superior to THC.
Cannabis Research Commences
How potent is HHC?
When it comes to the effects of HHC, Liam Burns, of Bearly Legal, is a true believer.
“Personally, with HHC, I feel energetic,” he said. “I go to the gym. I’m sharp, my brain’s working properly. I typically have back and shoulder pain, but I have no pain when I’m on it.”
Aside from a faintly plastic-y taste, my own experience with the company’s HHC vape carts was similarly pleasant. Although the Blue Dream cart didn’t give me the same energy boost, it offered a pleasant and mildly cerebral high, and it did in fact soothe my aching muscles, too.