As more and more products flood the legal hemp and cannabis markets, it gets harder and harder for people to really get a handle on all the different cannabinoids, infusions, products, and effects available to them. For those of us who are only able to purchase and consume hemp-derived products, it can be even more confusing particularly when these products claim to produce psychoactive effects; with HHC and THC-O typically being the most confusing between the two. We’ve done a few deep dives on THC-O and its effects; so let’s take a look at HHC and discuss why it’s causing so much confusion.
What is HHC?
Hexahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as HHC, is a newer cannabinoid that’s made waves lately due to its availability in states where cannabis is illegal. This naturally-occurring cannabinoid is found in trace amounts in both hemp and cannabis plants. Due to its scarcity, brands synthesize the minor cannabinoid in a similar fashion to how Delta-8 THC and THC-O are created – through isomerization.
HHC-infused products, like our Peaches and Cream disposable, are gaining massive popularity likely due to its reportedly gentle and euphoric high. The effects of HHC are milder than that of Delta-8, giving you a lighter, more-calming head high that helps keep both focus and productivity throughout the day.
Natural vs. Synthetic vs. Naturally-Derived
Before we can really determine if HHC is natural, synthetic, or naturally-derived, we need to be clear about what each of these words means in this context. According to Scientific American, natural chemicals are produced by nature without any human intervention; synthetic chemicals are “made by humans using methods different than what nature uses and these chemical structures may or may not be found in nature.” A synthetic chemical that is made from a natural product is commonly referred to as naturally-derived. To summarize, natural is made by nature, synthetic is made by man in a way nature does not, and naturally-derived is made by man using natural processes.
Extracted or Synthesized?
The process of refining different cannabinoids varies depending on the cannabinoid you are working with. All cannabinoids can be found naturally in different varieties of hemp and cannabis plants; otherwise, we wouldn’t know they existed to create them synthetically.
The simplest answer to whether HHC is natural or not is yes, it is. The chemical structure of this cannabinoid is found in nature without human intervention. And while the abundance of HHC exists in trace amounts, it’s still natural nonetheless.
Producers can develop larger, commercial volumes of HHC through a process called hydrogenation. This process adds hydrogen atoms to the chemical structure of CBD extracted from hemp and distilled down to its pure oil called ‘distillate’. After the hydrogen atoms are added to the chemical structure, the CBD becomes HHC.
This process differs from how HHC is created in nature, where it simply grows and develops on its own. Based on our definitions of natural, synthetic, and naturally-derived chemicals, HHC is created using natural products – hemp and CBD. Therefore, HHC is considered a naturally-derived cannabinoid.
Is HHC Natural or Synthetic?
The answer is this: it’s both a natural and naturally-derived minor cannabinoid. It may sound confusing, but we’ll clear it up. HHC is natural. It can be found in hemp plants without human intervention during the growing process.
HHC you buy online, however, is not made with the same natural HHC that grows from hemp plants. The cannabinoid can be found in hemp plants without farmers or cultivars needing to do anything to the plants themselves.
Unfortunately, there’s not enough natural HHC to be able to formulate it into products to bring to market. The source of confusion for this particular cannabinoid is that there are really only two types of HHC in existence: natural and naturally-derived. Unfortunately, there is simply not enough natural HHC to be enjoyed by consumers, so producers use naturally-derived HHC instead. Structurally and functionally, the two are effectively the same product in every way, other than how its created.
Like all new cannabinoids, HHC has been popping up in new products all over the market. Two of the most popular products you would find with HHC are edibles and disposable vape pens, like our White Series HHC Disposables. Made with premium quality HHC distillate, our rechargeable disposables are offered in three delicious flavors: Gush Rush, Nilla Mint, and Peaches & Cream.
Have you tried HHC or other hemp-derived infusions? Which one was your favorite? Check out our extensive line of THC-O infusions, Delta-8 infusions and edibles, and HHC infusions; we’ve got something for everyone!