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The 2018 Farm Bill changed the outlook of hemp in America forever. CBD immediately increased in popularity, and there are still hundreds of cannabinoids waiting for their moment in the spotlight.

After how successful Delta 8 THC proved to be a legal alternative to the more controlled Delta 9 THC. The cannabis industry started looking at other, lesser-known cannabinoids to compete in the diverse marketplace.

While plenty of other hemp-derivatives have emerged within the last few years, this article will discuss an exciting, new cannabinoid to the scene: hexahydrocannabinol, or HHC for short. 

HHC is produced synthetically by hydrogenating THC. The result is a cannabinoid similar to tetrahydrocannabinol, only without any double bonds in its chemical structure.

What is HHC?

HHC is a minor cannabinoid that occurs naturally in cannabis but only in small amounts. Because of this, it is usually more cost-effective to make it synthetically in a lab. 

Both THC and HHC have an almost identical structure on a molecular level. The main difference is that THC has a double bond in its top ring structure, which HHC does not.

Potency-wise, HHC is estimated to be 20% less potent than THC. However, this number can vary.

Users report that HHC produces feelings of euphoria and stimulation. In addition to heart rate and body temperature changes and altered headspace and cognition. 

Many users also claim the effects of HHC are similar to delta 8 THC in terms of being more heavily weighted towards relaxation than stimulation.

How is HHC Produced?

HHC was first discovered in the 1940s by chemist Roger Adams through hydrogenation

By adding hydrogen to THC, he effectively altered its composition, giving it a longer shelf life and making it much more resilient to heat and UV exposure.

This process is not limited to cannabinoid production. For example, a similar process converts vegetable oil to margarine.

Today, scientists use modern cannabis technology and chromatography methods to make HHC. First, CBD is extracted from raw hemp, distilled, and isolated in a powder form. 

Then, after the THC is hydrogenated, it is exposed to metal catalysts that speed up the process without damaging or tarnishing the product.

This chemical reaction gives the cannabinoid its chemical properties that would not otherwise occur in nature. This changes the molecule, as well as how our bodies absorb it.

Is HHC Safe to Make?

When it comes to HHC, it is essential to consider how it is produced. Because HHC is unregulated and the product of hazardous chemical processes, there is always a chance that toxic chemicals could end up in the final product.

For example, with professional THC and CBD concentrates, strict regulations and tests ensure the product is safe. However, since HHC is so new, there are no standardized tests.

Additionally, because HHC is produced using a chemical reaction, it can be dangerous to create. This is why it must be done in a well-equipped laboratory, as there is the potential for explosions. 

Richard Sams, scientific director at KCA Laboratories in Nicholasville, Kentucky, claims that HHC can be produced safely in a well-equipped lab. But if you scale up production, he warns, the risks rise, too: “The potential risk here is actually with explosions.” 

Is HHC Legal?

Because HHC is a hemp derivative, it is protected under the language of the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill legally defines hemp as “all parts of cannabis plants containing less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, including isomers and derivatives.”

Keep in mind that this does not necessarily mean that it is legal in all 50 states. Local governments can still decide to ban cannabinoids at the state level. 

In addition, the Federal Analogue Act protects substantial deviations in chemical structure and pharmacological effects, but specific State Analogue Act language or language targeting production methods may prohibit HHC under certain conditions. 

According to weed.com, HHC is legal to purchase in 38 states. In other words, HHC might be illegal in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Rhode Island, and Utah. 

However, it is legal in all other states. Still, it bears in mind that this is subject to change if state legislators determine it should be classified as a controlled substance. 

Therefore, before purchasing HHC, you should always check with state laws since cannabis laws are constantly changing.

Conclusion

As HHC gains more traction in the cannabis market, you will start seeing this cannabinoid popping up in wellness circles. 

Although semi-synthetic cannabinoids are not harmful or dangerous, how they are produced can be. For example, your chosen HHC product might carry more impurities due to poor production or hydrogenation techniques. 

Therefore, always make sure that you purchase from legal, credible, and legitimate HHC vendors that third-party test their products.

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