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What’s the Difference Between HHC & THC: A Comprehensive Comparison

Cannabinoids are a diverse group of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, with Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the most well-known due to its psychoactive properties. However, as research continues to uncover the potential benefits of other cannabinoids, new compounds such as hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) are gaining attention. This article will explore the differences between HHC and THC, examining their chemical structure, effects, and legality.

Chemical Structures of THC & HHC

  1. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. Its chemical structure consists of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. THC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system by binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, primarily found in the brain and immune system, respectively. The interaction with CB1 receptors is responsible for THC’s psychoactive effects.

  1. Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC)

HHC is a synthetic cannabinoid derived from THC by hydrogenating the molecule. The hydrogenation process removes the double bonds in the carbon chain, resulting in a fully saturated structure with six additional hydrogen atoms. The addition of these hydrogen atoms makes HHC more stable and less susceptible to oxidation. Although HHC shares some structural similarities with THC, its interaction with the endocannabinoid system differs.

Effects of THC & HHC

  1. THC

THC is well-known for its psychoactive effects, which can include euphoria, relaxation, altered perception of time, and heightened sensory experiences. However, THC can also cause less desirable effects, such as anxiety, paranoia, and impaired motor function. In addition to its psychoactive effects, THC has demonstrated potential therapeutic benefits, including pain relief, appetite stimulation, and anti-inflammatory properties.

  1. HHC

Research on HHC is limited, but preliminary studies suggest that it may have similar effects to THC, albeit with a potentially reduced psychoactive profile. This could make HHC an appealing alternative for those seeking the therapeutic benefits of THC without the strong psychoactive effects. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects and safety of HHC.

Legality of THC & HHC

  1. THC

The legality of THC varies depending on the jurisdiction. In the United States, THC is federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies it as a Schedule I substance. However, many states have legalized medical and recreational use of THC-containing cannabis products, creating a complex legal landscape. In other countries, the legality of THC also varies, with some allowing medical use, others decriminalizing possession, and some maintaining strict prohibition.

  1. HHC

As a synthetic cannabinoid, HHC’s legality is also complex and varies by jurisdiction. In the United States, HHC is not explicitly listed as a controlled substance, but it could potentially fall under the Federal Analogue Act, which regulates substances that are chemically and pharmacologically similar to controlled substances. The legal status of HHC in other countries is similarly ambiguous and subject to change as regulations evolve.


While both HHC and THC share some similarities in their chemical structure, they differ in terms of their effects and legality. THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis and has well-documented effects and potential therapeutic benefits. In contrast, HHC is a synthetic cannabinoid with limited research, but it may offer a reduced psychoactive profile compared to THC. As the legal  landscape surrounding cannabinoids continues to evolve, it is important to stay informed about the latest developments in terms of regulations and safety.