The cannabis industry has exploded with all sorts of exciting cannabinoids that deliver the powerful properties of the hemp plant. When CBD was first introduced, the market surged with all sorts of homeopathic remedies to help alleviate muscle and joint soreness, soothe feelings of disorientation and uneasiness, and promote a sense of wellbeing in your mind and body. Then Delta-8 THC came along, offering a smoother and more subdued high in comparison to the overwhelming high from Delta-9 THC.
But some users craved a stronger and more pronounced high than what the former cannabinoids could offer. This demand for a more powerful high brought forth two lesser-known cannabinoids that are swiftly growing in popularity with each passing day: HHC and THC-O. These two psychoactive cannabinoids are unique in that they require chemical processing in order to be viable, a fact that is cause for concern amongst lawmakers and inexperienced users alike. Let’s take a closer look at both of these compounds and see what all the hype is about, as well as whether or not they are right for you.
Cannabinoids: What Are They?
You may have seen the term “cannabinoids” and been able to figure out what it means based on the content. Cannabinoids are the individual compounds found in the cannabis plant. We mentioned in a previous article what cannabis, hemp, and marijuana are (feel free to check out that article here) but simply put, cannabis is the plant. Both marijuana and hemp are classifications of the cannabis plant; hemp contains 0.3% THC or less whereas marijuana contains substantially more THC.
There are over 100 known cannabinoids that have been identified, but the most important cannabinoid is THC. All cannabinoids are classified as either psychoactive (gets the user high) or non-psychoactive (does not get the user high). The more familiar non-psychoactive compounds include CBD, CBG, CBN, and others. The psychoactive cannabinoids include the popular Delta-8 THC, Delta 9 and 10 THC, and more. All of these cannabinoids have the remarkable ability to alter the user’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being and manifest their effects in different ways, but we’ll be focusing on the HHC and THC-O cannabinoids in today’s article. More research is needed to fully understand these cannabinoids, but here is what we know about these two cannabinoids today.
HHC: What Is It?
In the 1940s, a Harvard-trained chemist by the name of Roger Adams was able to successfully saturate a THC molecule with two hydrogen molecules. The hydrogenated THC compound was dubbed Hexahydrocannabinol, or HHC for short. The hydrogenation process is comparable to how butter is hydrogenated to create margarine, thus resulting in a more stable product. On a side note, this more stable form of THC allows HHC-infused products to have a longer shelf life. Some experts argue that HHC exists in very small quantities within the hemp plant, much like Delta-8 THC. Others vehemently deny the existence of HHC at all, stating that since HHC is simply hydrogenated THC, it is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid. While the classification of HHC is still unclear, it helps us differentiate between a fully synthetic cannabinoid, which brings us to our next topic…
What is THC-O?
THC-O, short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, is also called THC-O Acetate. It is one of the newer cannabinoids and is classified as completely synthetic. That is, it is not naturally found in the hemp plant and is completely manufactured in a lab. The process to create THC-O is highly specialized and requires a compound known as acetic anhydride. This highly inflammable and colorless liquid is combined with freshly extracted Delta-8 THC, resulting in the extremely potent THC-O. The synthetic compound is then infused into a variety of products that include both inhalables (pre-rolls and vape cartridges) and edibles (gummies, tinctures, and capsules).
Legalities of HHC and THC-O
Due to their synthetic classifications, both HHC and THC-O fall into a legal gray area throughout the United States. The 2018 Farm Bill allows for the sale and consumption of cannabinoid-infused products, provided they are derived from federally legal hemp and contain less than 0.3% THC. Yet some lawmakers argue that these cannabinoids are dangerous since they do not naturally exist in the hemp plant. Both cannabinoids require specialized scientific processes in order to exist: HHC requires hydrogenation of the THC molecule and THC-O requires acetic anhydride combined with Delta-8 THC.
As long as HHC and THC-O are created using federally legal hemp and contain less than 0.3% THC, they are considered compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill. However, there are some states that have created their own laws in regards to not only these cannabinoids, but hemp products as a whole. You’ll need to check with your state’s local legislation to prevent any legal issues that may arise from your purchase and consumption of any HHC or THC-O product. Lastly, you should always confirm that the cannabinoid product you’ve selected has verified lab results from a third-party independent lab to confirm the ingredients, potency, and purity is the same as what is advertised.
HHC vs. THC-O: Which Is Stronger?
In order to understand the potency of HHC and THC-O, respectively, you should have a basic understanding of some of the more popular cannabinoids. Delta-9 THC, the active component in marijuana, is usually the basis of these tests since most people have at some point tried weed. The next level of comparison is Delta-8 THC, the basis being that you may have been scarred by marijuana and prefer the more subdued high with Delta-8 THC.
- HHC is reported to be comparable to a Delta-8 THC high, if not slightly stronger. In comparison to marijuana, many users claim that an HHC high is identical to a Delta-9 THC high.
- THC-O is reported to be 3x stronger than traditional marijuana and up to 5x stronger than Delta-8 THC. THC-O may take significantly longer for the effects to kick in, so be sure to keep track of when you first consumed it.
This short breakdown insinuates that THC-O is considerably stronger than HHC. Exactly how much stronger is difficult to pinpoint due to the user’s individual tolerance to THC, along with other factors (age, weight, gender, metabolism, etc.). Reputable manufacturers will often list the recommended dosage of each, and these recommendations should be explicitly followed (and even lessened) until you have an accurate assessment of how your body reacts.
Taking too much of either HHC and THC-O are not life-threatening, it can result in an unpleasant high with increased uneasiness, can cause bouts of hallucination and extreme discomfort, disorientation, and more. Remember that you can always take more HHC or THC-O in your next session, but once the effects kick in, all you can do is wait for the effects to finally pass. Now that we’ve touched on some of the unpleasantness associated with taking too much, it’s time to check out some of the more enjoyable side effects of both HHC and THC-O.
What Are The Effects of HHC and THC-O?
There are a plethora of benefits associated with consuming HHC and THC-O products. Many manufacturers choose to incorporate other cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, and CBN into the product. This idea behind enjoying multiple cannabinoids at once is known as the “entourage effects” where the body gleans more benefits from several cannabinoids rather than just one isolated compound.
You can expect to feel an increased appetite (food and drink taste better), rich euphoria, and improved cognitive functions. Some users report feeling an enhanced sense of touch, sharper focus and creativity, better memory recall, and stimulation of the body (i.e., tingling sensation throughout the body).
If you’re looking to experience a powerful high without the couchlock associated with traditional indica strains, THC-O is a better choice in terms of overall euphoria and psychoactive effects. If you prefer a more stable high and a more relaxed high, HHC might be the better option.
By now you should have a much better grasp of both the THC-O and HHC cannabinoids, but let’s do a quick recap. THC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid whereas HHC is considered semi-synthetic. As long as the Delta-8 THC in the THC-O and the Delta-9 THC in HHC are derived from federally legal hemp and contain 0.3% THC, these two cannabinoids are considered compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill. Always make sure to consume the recommended dosage and wait the appropriate amount of time before increasing your dosage, and make sure that the product you’re consuming has been tested to confirm purity and potency.
The cannabinoid market is chock-full of enticing products and abbreviated letters that can feel overwhelming to new or inexperienced users. Here at Erth Hemp, we understand that choosing the right cannabinoid shouldn’t be a stressful experience. That’s why we offer a variety of HHC vapes, peach-flavored HHC gummies, and passionfruit THC-O gummies. Each of our products have been thoroughly vetted by independent third-party labs and the results are proudly displayed on our website. If you have any questions about the information about this article, would like to learn more about hemp-derived cannabinoids, or wish to share your experiences with our products, feel free to leave a comment below! We look forward to hearing from you and sharing our wealth of information on the exciting world of hemp-derived cannabinoids with you!