HHC vs THC: Similarities and Differences

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HHC and delta 8 THC are some of the newest and most abundant cannabinoids in the hemp market today. 

Delta 8 THC has been around for a while, but you may not have heard about HHC—the new cannabinoid on the block.

 In this article, we’re going to dive into the details of delta 8 and HHC to see what they have in common and what makes them different.

What is HHC?

Discovered by the chemist Roger Adams, HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol, is another one of the new hemp-derived cannabinoids that are hitting the market (like delta-8 THC). 

If you look at the molecular structure of HHC, its name makes more sense. The “hexahydro” in HHC means that there are six hydrogen atoms in the chemical structure. 

This means that HHC is extremely stable with a longer shelf life (lasts longer in the presence of UV light and oxygen). 

Another difference is that HHC lacks one of the double bonds present in THC. Like many other cannabinoids, HHC is psychoactive and has similar pharmacological effects, but with some differences.

HHC can be produced in several ways, but the most popular way is by hydrogenating THC. This THC can be produced from hemp-derived CBD or cannabis plants. 

Many of the hemp-derived cannabinoids in the market (like delta 8 THC) are also usually produced from hemp-derived CBD.

When HHC is produced, there are two main isomers: (S)-HHC and (R)-HHC. The 9R stereoisomer is actually the active chemical that gives you the HHC high. 

As of now, most of the HHC produced contains a 50/50 mix of R and S isomers. You can think of the (S)-HHC isomer to be the inactive HHC molecules.

Will HHC get me high?

Shortly put, HHC will definitely get you high, and with higher doses, you can experience an intense high. 

This is because HHC still binds to your body’s cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system similarly.

Consuming HHC has become increasingly popular among other intoxicating cannabinoids because of its noticeable effects. 

The intensity of HHC also depends on the method of consuming HHC: smoking will give you the quickest high, but HHC gummies or edibles will give you the strongest, long-lasting high.

How does HHC feel?

HHC has been reported to share some similar effects with delta 8 THC, delta 9 THC, and other compounds in that it can help with pain relief, sleep problems, and relaxation. 

Because of its slightly modified chemical structure of HHC molecules (like the double bond), though, HHC has been said to have more energetic and uplifting effects. HHC and delta 8 THC are both weaker than delta 9 THC for reference.

Is HHC legal, Here’s our answer!

Like many other cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant (like delta 8 THC), HHC is federally legal. 

This is due to the 2018 Farm Bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) which allows for the cultivation, extraction, and production of hemp products.

Although some may argue that HHC violates the Federal Analog Act, most people side with the Farm Bill. 

Hemp-derived products are legal at the federal level, but this doesn’t mean that it is allowed by all states. 

If you’re interested in trying HHC, make sure to do some research on the legality of HHC in your state.

Is HHC safe?

We can’t give an official answer on this. Because HHC is such a new compound, there aren’t many research studies done on it. 

However, HHC is similar to THC, which does have years of research done on it. 

At the end of the day, we can’t stop you from trying HHC or force you to try HHC, but we can educate you about HHC so you can make the most informed decision.

What is THC?

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive substance found in the cannabis plant and the active ingredient found in most medical marijuana plant products. 

The most common forms of THC are delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC.

Delta 9 THC is the main cannabinoid found in cannabis plants, while delta 8 THC occurs in trace amounts. 

Delta 9 THC is usually extracted from the cannabis plants directly, but hemp-derived delta 8 THC is also becoming popular due to all of the new hemp-derived cannabinoids on the market. THC, as its name implies, has four hydrogen molecules in its structure.

Will THC get me high?

Delta 8 THC, delta 9 THC, and many other forms of THC will most definitely get you high. In fact, the THC-like effects are what started it all. 

Pain relief, relaxation, creativity, and other effects are what we usually think of when we think about marijuana. 

Delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC have been and continue to be studied for treating patients who are suffering from a medical condition.

How does THC feel?

Delta 9 THC is the most popular psychoactive THC molecule. When you smoke delta 9 THC, the world around you seems to slow down while visuals become more appealing. 

Music sounds better, and nature looks more beautiful. Delta 8 and delta 9 THC feel like a warm, heavy blanket giving you a big hug. 

Delta 8 and delta 9 can help alleviate pain, relax you from stress, and make you giggle like a kid. 

It makes the ordinary things in life seem profound, and profound things seem mind blowing.

When you consume delta 9 THC, you can feel more open-minded and creative. 

Delta 8 THC (a hemp-derived cannabinoid), on the other hand, is more like a diet version of delta 9 THC—it almost feels the same if you take lower doses of delta 9 THC. 

If you consume sufficient amounts of it, though, you can experience pretty similar effects. 

The two cannabinoids interact relatively similarly because their molecular structures are extremely close.

Unfortunately, marijuana remains federally illegal (this has been federal law for years but is subject to change soon). 

On the bright side, some states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use (or both).

Is THC safe?

For the most part, delta 9 THC has been studied the most intensively. 

From anecdotal evidence as well as research, delta 8 and delta 9 seem to be relatively safe, but because they are somewhat new, more research needs to be done for long-term effects.

Obviously, using delta 8 in excess isn’t going to be good for you, but in moderation, it has been reported to help those who need it.

What about THC-O and HHC-O?

Delta 8 THC-O and HHC-O are acetylated versions of their original compounds. 

They are produced by using acetic anhydride to acetylate the cannabinoids, making them much more bioavailable. 

In other words, the “O” versions of these cannabinoids will bind much quicker and more effectively to the cannabinoid receptors. 

HHC-O and delta 8 THC-O don’t really naturally occur in the cannabis plant or hemp plant.

Similarities between HHC and THC

When you think about HHC vs THC, you’d be surprised to find that they have more in common than you think.

  • HHC and delta 8 THC (or delta 9 THC) will get you high
  • Both HHC and delta 8 THC can be produced using hemp-derived compounds
  • HHC and delta 8 produce psychoactive effects
  • Delta 8 and HHC are being studied for medical uses
  • The consumption methods for HHC and delta 8 are the same

Differences between HHC and THC

While HHC and delta 8 THC are like siblings, they also have several differences. 

This is great because choosing between the two cannabinoids comes down to individual preferences.

  • Delta 8 or delta 9 THC usually comes from cannabis plants (or marijuana), while HHC is usually converted from hemp-derived compounds
  • HHC is federally legal while THC is federally illegal
  • Delta 9 THC is stronger than HHC (delta 8 is about the same as HHC in terms of intensity)
  • Pure HHC won’t show up on a THC drug test

Where to buy HHC

If you’re interested in trying HHC, there’s good news for you. Because HHC is federally legal, there are several options for you (assuming it’s legal in your state). 

HHC, because it’s a hemp-derived cannabinoid, can be bought at a smoke shop, tobacco store, gas station, or online. 

A quick Google search can help you find local shops or an online store to find reputable HHC products.

Where to buy THC

The answer’s going to depend on what state you live in as well. It also depends if you’re looking for delta 8 THC or delta 9 THC. 

Delta 8 THC is federally legal (the federal law allows it via the 2018 Farm Bill), while delta 9 THC is not. 

For cannabis products, you can find them in local dispensaries. For delta 8 THC or other hemp-derived THC products, you can find them at your local smoke shop

You can also shop delta 8 online as well as most cannabinoids, like THC-O, delta 10, and more (assuming they’re derived from hemp).

What to look out for when buying HHC products

HHC products, like HHC gummies, are becoming increasingly popular online, but what should you look out for when buying them? 

First, and most importantly, you want to make sure the HHC is lab tested for harmful chemicals. You also want to make sure you’re getting potent products. 

Next, you want to check to see if there are reviews of the brand you’re looking at to make sure it’s reputable. 

Unlike delta 9 THC or CBD products, HHC and delta 8 products aren’t as regulated, so you need to do some due diligence if you want to stay safe.

What to look out for when buying THC products

The same things that apply to buying HHC apply to delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC products.

However, with delta 9 THC or marijuana products, the market is much more regulated than the hemp industry. 

In order for dispensaries to sell delta 9 THC, they have to pass regulations and acquire licenses, so there’s an extra layer of security involved. 

Regardless, you still want to make sure to check for lab reports and reviews.


HHC and delta 8 THC (as well as delta 9 THC) are the three cannabinoids dominating the hemp and cannabis industry. 

Now that you know all about them, go out, stay safe, and stay elevated.

Jennifer Williams
Jennifer Williams
In my early twenties, I had everything in the palm of my hand. I was a journalist, published author, and was passionate about cannabis. Quickly realizing that the cannabis industry wasn't going to take off the way I wanted it to, I decided I needed a change.After some soul searching and self-reflection, I realized that all of my passions were centered on wellness. CBD is an incredible healing tool with scientific research backing its effectiveness in alleviating anxiety and promoting restorative sleep. With CBD becoming a more mainstream topic every day (not just among the medical community), it seemed like this was something that could be well worth pursuing!