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Now that legal hemp and cannabis have taken the country by storm, the most obscure compounds and cannabinoids are becoming household names.

In 2017, CBD may as well have been an engineering acronym or someone’s initials, but by the end of the following year, the acronym itself had taken on a life of its own, aside and distinct from its fellow cannabinoid THC.

Nowadays, even your dog takes CBD.

Knowledge is power, and there is no doubt about that. The more we know about hemp and its compounds and the cannabis plant more broadly, the more we can find ways to make our lives better and our bodies in check. 

In today’s blog, we will cover some more obscure cannabis compounds.

HHC and Delta 8 are both cannabinoids present in the hemp leaf plant.

While Delta 8 has seen some market exposure, HHC is still in the early stages of establishing itself as a standalone compound; both possessing both characteristics have helped many

These compounds are closely related to the very famous THC but operate in ways familiar to CBD and/or THC users and are also very mysterious and novel.

Below, we will give you an overview of both compounds to understand their distinct roles in the body. 

What is HHC?

So, what kind of cannabinoid could HHC be exactly? First and foremost, HHC is the shortened name for Hexahydrocannabinol, which occurs naturally inside the hemp plant, but in quantities often too small to economically harvest and extract.

What does this mean for HHC as a viable product? It means that artificial, lab-made versions of it are likely the best and only way to create HHC products en masse.

This presents some marketing challenges, but there are many workarounds with so many of these challenges already present with compounds like CBD. 

To keep this illustration of HHC concise, imagine the difference between butter and margarine; margarine is simply vegetable oil artificially infused with hydrogen molecules.

HHC, at least when produced to turn into a consumer good, is simple THC infused with different hydrogen molecules. 

With a nearly identical chemical composition but for the infusion of the hydrogen molecules, HHC functions similarly to THC in the body, albeit with varying degrees of intensity and less of an intoxicating or psychoactive effect.

In essence, HHC aids with restful sleep and calming the digestive system and painkilling effects.

In addition, the hydrogenation process gives it longer shelf life, making this product a solid investment for those curious to try it. 

What Is Delta 8?

To better understand what Delta 8 is, it helps to acknowledge that its more famous counterpart, THC, sometimes goes by Delta 9 THC.

Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol is its full name, and it possesses some psychoactive properties like its cousin THC, though at a much lower level of activity.

Indeed, users who have experimented with Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC have reported that Delta 8 has a more subtle effect, perhaps about half as potent as THC in terms of psychoactivity and side effects. 

Delta 8 has its fair share of uses and purposes in the cannabis market.

Among these is its widespread appeal since it is not nearly the level of intensity of potency as THC and allows users to function pretty normally after consuming it.

It begs the question, though; is that it? Definitely not. Delta 8 has been shown to assist with the calming of nausea, appetite increase, managing pain relief, and some level of elevated mood.

It can be used as a vape or tincture or ingested as an edible.

Side effects could be similar to THC’s, including anxiety and increased drowsiness. Delta 8, being more well known than HHC, has had its fair share of controversies, to be honest.

We will get into some of the safety and legal issues surrounding these compounds below. 

Safety and Drug Tests

HHC is still a seldomly studied, remotely understood cannabinoid.

Therefore, there is no set consensus on a safe dose, what long-term effects could be, and whether it is suitable for humans in the long run. However, because it is a part of the 100% legal hemp plant, its production has no limits.

Although, the potential for HHC to be mass-produced in the same way CBD is will likely present its own set of controversies, as any production of HHC will have to be synthetically done in a lab. 

Indeed, Delta 8 has attracted its fair share of controversy for this very reason.

Because the production of Delta 8 also necessitates synthetic procedures, there is some haziness cast on how viable and safe it is for regular recreational use.

In addition, synthetic forms of cannabis (like “Spice”) are not federally legal because of reports of adverse effects and contamination.

Finally, there is a concern about the safety of both HHC and THC for their status as synthetic cannabinoids. 

To add to their status as an “on the fence” cannabinoid, both HHC and Delta 8 are likely to cause a failed drug test due to their near-identical molecular structure to THC. 

Legality

So here we are, with two THC-Esque compounds that *may* be psychoactive or may not be, maybe safe or may not be, and are under-researched and not fully understood the way more popular cannabinoids like CBD and THC are.

You can probably imagine what controversy and headache this has caused for the FDA and state agencies. 

Colorado has banned Delta 8 from its shelves, and so have New York state and Vermont, despite THC being completely legal in these states.

Nevada has regulated it despite having a legalized cannabis market, and so have Michigan and Connecticut.

This is a patchwork situation, and at some point, federal guidelines will have to give us more insight into what is legal and what isn’t for all cannabinoids like these. 

Sources:

What is HHC? Hydrogenated Cannabinoids & Apocalypse-Ready THC

What Is HHC?

HHC: Frequently Asked Questions

Boston Hemp Explains HHC

HHC: A cannabinoid with potent antinociceptive activity

Why Is Delta 8 Illegal in Colorado?

Is Delta 8 Legal In Your State

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