The cannabis industry has changed quite dramatically as popular new derivatives hit the market. For decades we heard the word “marijuana” and understood it meant one thing – THC. Today, our baseline is Delta-9 THC but there is an array of terms, acronyms, and phrases to describe an entire continuum of cannabis strains, analogs, and products.
Two of the most popular newcomers are Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) and Delta-8. Both compounds offer unique psychoactive effects and potential therapeutic benefits. In this article, we compare HHC and Delta-8, examining their psychoactive effects, legality, availability for purchase, potencies, and extraction methods. Understanding these aspects will help you make informed decisions about their features and potential use.
What is the Difference between HHC and Delta-8?
Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is a natural cannabinoid derived from the cannabis Sativa plant. For reference, the most commonly known cannabinoids are Delta-9 THC and cannabidiol (CBD). Delta-8, however, is an analog of THC, able to be synthesized from CBD, and is a derivative of Delta-9 THC. Pure HHC is a rare cannabinoid without a lot of widespread availability and information. HHC can be achieved by adding hydrogen to CBD, but the commercial production process is still evolving. On the other hand, delta-8 is currently widely available to consumers.
From a chemical perspective, both HHC and Delta-8 are made up of identical carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen building blocks. Both of their structures are nearly identical except for Delta-8’s double bond at its eighth carbon ring. Because of this, HHC has a longer shelf life and can withstand elements like sun and heat better than Delta-8.
Can HHC and Delta-8 Get Me High?
HHC is known for its euphoric and energizing effects. Users often describe HHC as uplifting, promoting focus, creativity, and an overall sense of well-being. It is believed to possess a milder psychoactive potency than traditional THC, making it an attractive option for those seeking a more manageable experience.
On the other hand, Delta-8 is a close cousin of Delta-9 THC, the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Delta-8 offers a unique mind-altering experience, providing a balanced blend of euphoria and relaxation. Users often report experiencing a clear-headed high, with reduced anxiety and paranoia compared to Delta-9 THC. Its effects are considered more subtle and less intense, making it appealing to individuals seeking a more moderate experience.
How Potent Are Delta-8 and HHC?
HHC and Delta-8 products will vary in potency, and this is often indicated on their packaging or product descriptions. In regard to “psychoactive potency”, as an analog of the more commonly known Delta-9 THC (the “OG” THC), Delta 8 is known to be less potent, producing a milder high. We often say it’s potency is about half of what a D9 product would be – so if you have a 20mg delta-8-thc gummy, that’s probably about equivalent to a 10mg delta-9-thc gummy.
HHC is known to have a less psychoactive effect than delta-8. It’s effects are often described as “very relaxing, and noticeably euphoric.” This is why HHC can be a great option if you are looking for something that you can “feel more” than a CBD product, but is not going to have a risk for anxiety or paranoia, which delta 8 can sometimes cause (depending on the general THC tolerance from person to person.)
In regard to potency from product to product, D8 and HHC potencies can range from low to high, depending on the concentration of the compounds in the product. Make sure you read the label carefully. If you are new to Delta 8 or HHC it is advisable to start with lower potency products and gradually increase the dosage to assess individual tolerance and desired effects.
The extraction methods used to obtain HHC and Delta-8 can also influence the quality and purity of the final products. Common extraction methods include distillation, solvent-based extraction, and isomerization. Each method has its advantages and potential drawbacks, and it is crucial to purchase your products from manufacturers that have an advanced understanding of extraction methods that will produce the highest quality products.
But Are They Legal?
The legal status of HHC and Delta-8 still varies from state to state. Local jurisdictions may also impose specific regulations on their use. Delta-8 has gained popularity because it is federally legal whereas Delta-9 THC remains federally prohibited. By researching and understanding the laws specific to your location before purchasing or using Delta-8, you can stay proactive.
As for HHC, its legal status is also dependent on federal, state, and local regulations. HHC was legalized with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill so long as it is derived from hemp plants. But, as we have already discussed, naturally occurring HHC is rare and difficult to produce commercially.
As of 2023, HHC is illegal in Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Utah, and Washington. Since it is a relatively new cannabinoid, the legality of HHC may not be explicitly outlined in all jurisdictions but its use could be subject to penalties. As with any cannabis derivative, it is advisable to consult local laws and regulations before purchasing or using HHC products.
So Where Do I Buy HHC and Delta-8?
Given HHC’s higher federal and state restrictions, products containing it are harder to come by, even in states where cannabis is legally sold. The commercial production process is also still evolving. But there are online options for HHC products including gummies, vapes, pre-rolls, and more.
Delta-8 products are sold widely and can be found in a variety of forms, including tinctures, edibles, vape cartridges, concentrates, and even Delta-8 drinks. Your preferred delivery method is a personal choice, one you may want to experiment with. However, it is important to purchase your products from reputable sources that adhere to quality control and safety standards. HHC and Delta-8 products are both typically purchased through licensed dispensaries, online retailers, and authorized distributors.