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1. What is HHC?

HHC, also known as hexahydrocannabinol, is derived through a process that begins with hemp. It was created in 1944 when American chemist Roger Adams added hydrogen molecules to Delta-9 THC. This process isn’t limited to cannabinoid production, as a similar process is used to turn vegetable oil into margarine.

HHC is typically used for pain relief and relaxation. Like other cannabis products, HHC comes in several forms and can be inhaled or ingested. HHC is sold at marijuana dispensaries and cannabidiol (CBD) retailers.

2. What are the benefits of HHC?

HHC has some great health benefits. Since HHC is a cannabinoid, it contains CBD and THC. When inhaled or ingested, HHC releases dopamine in the brain, which is the hormone responsible for positivity and joy. Other benefits of taking HHC include:

  • Pain relief
  • Stress reduction
  • Better quality sleep
  • Reduced feelings of depression and anxiety

3. What are the side effects?

Like THC, HHC has side effects. Severity of side effects entirely depends on each individual. This is because some users are more susceptible to side effects, while others are not. How often a person uses cannabis products, weight, age, mental health, physical health, and environmental factors all play a role in how the body processes cannabinoids.

Potential side effects of HHC include:

  • Anxiousness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Sensitivity to temperature
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Hunger
  • Red eyes

Some of these side effects can be alleviated through movement, changing your environment (i.e. moving to another room), adding or removing layers of clothing, and drinking water or eating food.

There are more severe side effects, but these are rare. Severe side effects include paranoia and psychosis, and THC has been linked to schizophrenia, though more research still needs to be completed on this connection.

4. How does this cannabinoid work?

HHC works similarly to other THC products because it binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. HHC, like THC, mimics anandamide–the neurotransmitter responsible for sending messages from the brain to the body. It also encourages the body to release dopamine, the hormone responsible for feeling joy and relaxation. While not as potent as Delta-9 THC, HHC still contains enough THC to cause psychoactive effects on the user. HHC contains more CBD than THC, and users have compared the relaxation effects of HHC to Delta-8.

5. What is the dosage for this cannabinoid?

Every person reacts differently to cannabinoids, and HHC is no exception. The correct dose for any substance, including THC, depends on various factors, such as age, weight, and tolerance levels. A low dose of HHC is 10-20 mg per serving, while a heavy dose is 50-100 mg per serving. People with chronic pain, for example, may use higher doses of HHC because they may be using it more often than a recreational user. Frequent use and metabolism speed can greatly affect the dosage of HHC.

6. How should HHC be taken?

HHC can be inhaled or ingested. HHC is available in vape cartridges, edibles like cookies and gummies, tincture, wax, and distillate. The type of HHC you choose can be full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate. Full-spectrum HHC contains the maximum amount of helpful native phytochemicals, including THC, extracted from the cannabis plant. Full-spectrum extracts are typically dark-colored and have an earthy flavor. 

Broad-spectrum extracts contain the same phytochemicals and CBD without THC. Broad-spectrum extracts are better for pain relief than full-spectrum extracts, but they do not contain enough THC to cause psychoactive effects. While broad-spectrum extracts are usually derived from hemp, they can also be created by adding terpenes, flavonoids, and minor cannabinoids to CBD isolate, or by removing THC from full-spectrum extracts through distillation.

7. What is the duration of HHC?

The effects of HHC cannabinoids can last approximately 2-8 hours, depending on how much the user consumes and the method of consumption. Edibles take longer to enter the bloodstream because the cannabinoids must pass through the stomach first. However, many HHC users have felt a more intense, longer-lasting high with edibles than with other forms of consumption.

8. What are the interactions?

Taking too much HHC can cause an increase in side effects, such as anxiety, dizziness, dry mouth, increased appetite, and paranoia. Overuse can also inhibit your body’s natural production of anandamide and dopamine, which can cause dependence on the substance. 

9. What are the contraindications for taking this cannabinoid?

THC products are not recommended if you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication that interacts with cannabinoids. Please see question 13 for a list of drugs that interact with cannabinoids.

10. What are the warnings?

Like THC, HHC can cause psychoactive effects. Some users may experience heightened anxiety or paranoia, and in rare cases, psychosis.

11. How does the HHC cannabinoid work?

HHC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the body and is 70% to 80% of the strength of THC. Users may experience feelings of euphoria associated with Indica strains of marijuana, and the relaxing and sedating qualities of Delta-8 THC.

12. How is HHC metabolized?

HHC is metabolized much the same way THC is metabolized. 50% of the initial dose metabolizes within the first half-hour. After another half-hour, another 25% metabolizes, leaving the other 25% to metabolize over the course of a few weeks. If a user smokes or ingests HHC daily, HHC can take as long as 90 days to fully leave the system. This is because cannabinoids linger in tissues, fat, and other areas of the body.

HHC, like other cannabinoids, leaves the body through urine and excretion. Staying hydrated can help metabolize cannabinoids quicker.

13. How doesthis cannabinoid interact with other drugs?

Cannabinoids can interfere with other drugs, like prescription medications and alcohol. As of 2022, there are 391 drugs known to interact with cannabis. Some of these drugs are alcohol, Lexapro, and Klonopin. To see a complete list, please visit this link:

Consult a doctor if you are taking prescription medications and considering using cannabis products.

14. How does HHC cannabinoid affect the brain?

HHC releases dopamine in the brain, the hormone responsible for feelings of joy or happiness. HHC can also provide pain relief. This is because HHC contains THC and CBD. THC causes psychoactive effects on the brain, which can affect other areas of the body, and CBD provides pain relief and relaxation. Some people experience anxiety or paranoia when they use HHC, while others experience relaxation and calming sensations. Frequency of use and several other factors can affect the longevity of the high associated with HHC. Therefore, each user’s experience with HHC and other cannabinoids will vary.

15. Who discovered it?

Roger Adams first discovered cannabinoids in 1942. He later created HHC in 1944 through the process of hydrogenation. In addition, Roger Adams and his students made many scientific discoveries about cannabinoids, including CBD’s connection to cannabinol and THC.

16. Who first isolated THC?

THC was first discovered by Raphael Mechoulam in Israel in 1964. “Dr. Mechoulam is best known [for] his isolation, elucidation, and synthesis of THC, for the isolation and identification of endogenous cannabinoid anandamide in the brain as well as for the 2-arachidonoylglycerol from the peripheral organs. Many people refer to Raphael as the father of cannabis for the major contributions he has made to the industry.”

17. Who are the main producers of cannabinoids?

Some major states, like Florida, California, and Nevada are the major producers of cannabis products.

18. Who are the main consumers of cannabinoids?

There are 3.6 million state-legal patients that use medical marijuana, and approximately 52 million marijuana users total in the U.S. Some of the main consumers of cannabis are located in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

19. Who are the main researchers of cannabinoids?

The main researchers of cannabinoids are scientists, medical professionals, and cannabis experts. NIH, CAS (a division of the American Chemical Society), and Cannabinoid Clinical are just a few of the organizations dedicated to researching cannabinoids and the cannabis industry as a whole.

20. What is the structure of HHC?

There are no double bonds in the cyclohexyl ring like Delta-8 and Delta-9, as those bonds have been removed and replaced with hydrogen. HHC has a similar structure to THC, in that it has 5 carbons in its alkyl side-chain, which allows HHC to quickly bond to cannabinoid receptors.

21. What is the synthesis process of HHC?

HHC cannabinoids are synthesized in a laboratory by making use of the condensation of phenolic ketones and aldehydes with citronellal in the presence of pyridine. This process is also known as hydrogenation. 

22. What is the pharmacology of HHC?

Properties of HHC cannabinoids that might be of therapeutic use include analgesia, muscle relaxation, immunosuppression, anti-inflammation, sedation, improvement of mood, stimulation of appetite, anti-emesis, bronchodilation, neuroprotection, and antineoplastic effects.

23. Where is HHC cannabinoid found?

HHC is found in hemp, as well as seeds and pollen from the cannabis plant. HHC is not highly concentrated in cannabis seeds and pollen, so HHC is typically derived from hemp. HHC can also be made by adding phytochemicals like terpenes to CBD isolate, or by removing THC from full-spectrum extracts.

24. Where is this cannabinoid produced?

HHC is typically produced in a laboratory. HHC is considered both natural and synthetic because it is naturally found in the cannabis plant, but it must be synthesized in a lab. It is then sold to various cannabis retailers and marijuana dispensaries in states with legal cannabis laws for medical and recreational use.

25. Where can I find HHC?

As of 2022, HHC is legal in the U.S. by federal law because HHC is derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC. However, because HHC must be synthesized in a laboratory, it is categorized as a synthetic substance. Due to the 2018 Farm Bill, each state is allowed to decide whether to make cannabis and hemp products legal or illegal. Therefore, HHC is legal in some states but not in all 50 states. HHC is similar to Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, both of which are illegal in several states, including Arizona, Alaska, and Colorado. The laws around cannabis, marijuana, and cannabinoids are ever-changing, so even if HHC is not legal in your state now, it may be legal in a few years. The best idea is to check with your state on what is currently legal and what is not. As laws on cannabis are currently influx from state to state the best method of knowing what is legal in your state is to look up cannabis laws for your state.

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