Hexahydrocannabinol, HHC for short, is another of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant that is now coming to the forefront of the cannabis scene in 2022. Although this cannabinoid is inherent to the plant, its fame has slumbered for a long time - presumably because it is only found in trace amounts in cannabis and it was not realistic to study it on its own. It is only today, thanks to the cannabis revolution and the visibility of other cannabinoids such as CBD , that we are finding a way to effectively extract this cannabinoid from the cannabis plant.
As it is a new trend, it still remains shrouded in many mysteries. The information so far suggests that the effects are very similar to THC, but unlike THC, HHC remains legal in most states, which is its main advantage today.
Origin of HHC
The HHC molecule was first synthesised in 1944 when American chemist Roger Adam added a hydrogen molecule to delta-9 THC. This process is called hydrogenation and is widely used in the food industry. Hydrogenation improves stability and resistance to thermo-oxidative decomposition, meaning that HHC has a longer shelf life and is less susceptible to UV and heat.
HHC occurs naturally in trace amounts in the cannabis plant. However, extraction of HHC directly from the plant would be economically disadvantageous, so the above-mentioned hydrogenation process is used. Nowadays, for practical reasons, HHC is produced from CBD as the concentration of this compound in the plant is not limited by laws as is the case for THC. In practice, this means that today's HHC products are produced in such a way that the cannabinoid is first extracted from the CBD-rich plant and then converted to HHC by hydrogenation. This HHC extract is ultimately used to enrich the CBD flowers that we find in stores today.
Effects of HHC and differences with THC
Most information about HHC is still speculative, with no verified scientific studies on the effects and safety of use.
However, information to date shows that HHC, unlike CBD, is a psychoactive cannabinoid with effects very similar to THC. After use, there is usually a rush of euphoria, a change in auditory and visual perception - consciousness is expanded, and states of creativity, inspiration and deep relaxation can occur. Therapeutic uses are also similar to THC - analgesic effects relieve pain of all kinds, a deep state of relaxation relieves anxiety, stress and helps improve sleep quality. HHC also has anti-inflammatory effects.
Side effects include anxiety, dizziness, insomnia, paranoia, red eyes, rapid heart rate.
In terms of efficiency, vaporization of whole flowers seems to be the most suitable form. Vaporization is a process in which cannabis is heated to the desired temperature using a vaporiser. HHC is then released from the flowers in the form of vapour which is inhaled by the user. The advantage is that the whole flowers contain other cannabinoids besides HHC, such as CBD, trace amounts of THC and other substances that work synergistically to produce far more complex and therapeutic effects on our bodies than pure HHC. Dried flowers can of course also be smoked. However, the fact that the optimum temperature condition is not met makes this method less effective.
An alternative to vaporizing whole flowers are the very popular HHC Vape pens - pocket vaporizers with HHC liquid. However, if you want the full experience of this method of application, it's a good idea to make sure that the HHC liquid is enriched with the other medicinal cannabis substances mentioned above.
HHC edibles - candy and other foods containing this cannabinoid - are also popular, as are HHC oils. The discretion and simplicity of these application options will be appreciated by individuals who are not comfortable with smoking or vaping.
The long-term effects of HHC on the human body have not yet been investigated. However, it is a substance that is part of the cannabis plant, so as humanity we have been in contact with it, at least in low doses, since time immemorial. Only time will tell whether products with a high content of this substance will have any negative effects in the long term.
What can be mentioned for the time being in terms of safety is that the short-term side effects are similar to THC - dry mouth, nausea, panic, paranoia, sweating... These effects occur especially at higher doses, so it is best to handle this cannabinoid with caution.
The future of cannabinoids - a wellness supplement and medicine in one
Cannabis has served man as a medicine since time immemorial. Today, thanks to new technologies, science is beginning to reveal the effects and properties of the plant's individual cannabinoids in minute detail. The original complex tangle of cannabis' effects is now broken down into a clearer picture. If we become familiar with and understand the individual properties of each cannabinoid, it is possible that we may eventually be able to work with different combinations, set up precisely for our needs ... whether as a wellness supplement or as a medicine.... if we grasp the riches that the cannabis plant gives us correctly, we can have both.