The past few years have witnessed an explosion in the popularity of HHC. If you’re a seasoned cannabis user, there’s a high chance that you’ve considered adding this compound to your wellness routine at some point.
But before you do, it would help to familiarize yourself with adequate information about HHC, including its potential benefits and interactions with the body.
Fortunately for you, we’ve prepared a definitive guide to HHC, focusing on HHC effects and benefits.
What Is HHC?
HHC is an abbreviation for hexahydrocannabinol. It refers to a hydrogenated form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the most famous cannabinoid in marijuana, best known for its psychedelic properties. The compound accounts for the bulk of cannabis’ mind-altering effects.
How Is HHC Extracted?
Having mentioned that hexahydrocannabinol is a tetrahydrocannabinol derivative, and bearing in mind that THC is a naturally-occurring cannabinoid, you probably think that HHC is a natural too. Well, that’s not entirely true.
Hexahydrocannabinol is classified as a semi-synthetic cannabinoid. The compound is present in several cannabis varieties, usually in trace amounts. However, much of the industrially-prepared HHC comes from artificial chemical processes involving adding hydrogen molecules to THC solutions.
How Does HHC Impact the Body?
HHC impacts the body in the same way as regular THC – by altering the performance of the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a complex cell-modulatory system involved in numerous biological functions. The system plays a key role in maintaining hormonal balance, transmitting pain signals across the body, regulating circadian rhythms, aiding cardiovascular activities, etc.
Now, the endocannabinoid system comprises neurotransmitters called endogenous cannabinoids or simply endocannabinoids. It also includes a vast network of receptors called endocannabinoid receptors.
When consumed, hexahydrocannabinol binds directly to CB1 receptors. These receptors are expressed around the brain and central nervous system (CNS), which explains why HHC induces mind-altering effects. In comparison, non-psychoactive cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) mainly impact CB2 receptors, widespread in peripheral organs and tissues.
What Are The Effects Of HHC On Brain Development?
Just like regular cannabinoids, long-term exposure to hexahydrocannabinol may have positive and negative effects on brain development. Hexahydrocannabinol is a stimulant at relatively small doses and a sedative at high doses.
As a stimulant, HHC may promote healthy brain development by relieving mental slumps and activating the thought process. Indeed, numerous reports link cannabis (and, by extension, its derivatives like HHC) with heightened mental creativity.
The euphoria induced by hexahydrocannabinol is also associated with feelings of happiness and optimism. These feelings may help combat stress and anxiety, leading causes of mental health problems.
But that’s not all; HHC may also improve sleep quality by reducing sleep latency – the duration it takes to slip from a state of wakefulness to deep sleep. According to research, adequate sleep is a proactive way of keeping various mental health problems at bay.
On the cons side, exposure to high amounts of hexahydrocannabinol may prove more harmful than helpful. The immediate adverse effects of HHC include hallucinations, paranoia, high heart rate, bloodshot eyes, drowsiness, and irritability.
The continued overdose of hexahydrocannabinol products may predispose you to long-term brain damage in various ways. For instance, the brain is naturally capable of controlling the signaling of essential neurotransmitters. Interestingly, HHC may affect your brain’s ability to signal certain neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in mental health, such as serotonin and dopamine. Over time, your brain may become dangerously dependent on HHC. It’s not unusual to see cannabis users confess to being unable to go about their daily routines before taking marijuana.
Infants usually bear the brunt of the adverse effects of hexahydrocannabinol abuse. There’s no shortage of research linking cannabis use during pregnancy with congenital abnormalities and behavioral disorders. Some studies also indicate that marijuana usage during early childhood is a significant risk factor for neuropsychiatric disorders in adulthood.
How Powerful Are The Psychedelic Effects Of HHC?
The best way to predict the effects of hexahydrocannabinol is to start by familiarizing yourself with the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol; the cannabinoid HHC comes from. Studies and anecdotal reports place HHC’s psychedelic effects at roughly 70-80% the strength of THC. That makes it way more potent than regular THC. Perhaps it’s also important to point out that the reference point here is delta-9 THC and not any other THC-derivatives.
Note that tetrahydrocannabinol exists in several isomers. Common ones include delta-9 THC, delta-10 THC, and delta-8 THC. However, the psychoactive effects of HHC and other synthetic THC-derived cannabinoids are generally expressed in delta-9.
Is HHC Legal?
Hexahydrocannabinol’s legality is not a black-and-white affair, considering that the compound can exist naturally and artificially. Naturally-sourced HHC is legal because the compound doesn’t contain more than 0.3% of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.
On the other hand, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other relevant agencies are yet to pronounce themselves on synthetic cannabinoids. DEA’s drug scheduling guidelines tend to focus more on naturally-obtained drugs. The conventional wisdom is to always check with your local cannabis regulators before using any HHC-based products.
Hexahydrocannabinol is the most potent tetrahydrocannabinol derivative. The compound is more than 70% more powerful than regular THC. That underscores the importance of consuming it in moderation. Remember that, like any cannabinoid, HHC is generally beneficial if used moderately and potentially dangerous if overdosed.