HHC vs Delta 8: Which is Better for Your Needs?

HHC and delta-8 are two semi-synthetic THC analogs that are receiving a lot of attention for their ability to produce a milder high than delta-9 THC while often being legal even when delta-9 isn’t.

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hhc vs delta 8

Move over delta-8 THC, there is a new psychoactive semi-synthetic cannabinoid known as (hexahydrocannabinol) HHC on the block that’s said to deliver a high that’s much closer to delta-9 THC, the main active compound in marijuana strains. In our guide, we’ll explore which cannabinoid is right for you: HHC vs. delta-8.

HHC vs Delta 8: Definitions

Originally synthesized in 1940 by Roger Adams and later discovered in Cannabis sativa seeds by The de Las Heras group in 2020, HHC has garnered a lot of attention lately due to its close resemblance to delta-9 THC. Like delta-8 THC, this semi-synthetic cannabinoid is believed to produce effects similar to delta-9 THC, but doesn’t have the same legal restrictions on it. 

Continuing in their similarities, while having molecular structures similar to delta-9, allowing them to activate CB1 receptors, hemp-derived CBD is most often used as the basis when synthesizing delta-8 and HHC. That’s because cannabis plants produce these THC analogs in just traces. They produce so little that many mistakenly think both are fully synthetic cannabinoids.   

Both HHC and delta-8 are nearly identical to delta-9 THC. In fact, there is just a single difference between them. Where delta-9 has a double bond on its ninth carbon atom, delta-8 has it on the eighth carbon atom. HHC differs in that it has no double bonds in the cyclohexyl ring like D8/D9. 

HHC vs Delta 8: Comparing the Effects

Research on HHC and delta-8 is lacking, to say the least, forcing us to largely turn to user reports when looking to accurately compare their effects and benefits. This isn’t preferable, but the lack of research isn’t stopping many from trying out both HHC and delta-8 THC. This is evident by all the user reports I spend hours going over. So what do they say? 

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If you have used both delta-9 THC and CBD products before, you’re going to be in a much better place understanding the difference between delta-8 and HHC. Anecdotally, delta-8 effects are going to be closer to the CBD side. Now, unlike CBD, you will probably feel high from delta-8, however, it will most likely feel very minor, whereas some find that HHC’s high matches delta-9 THC’s high.

Because it appears both cannabinoids mainly target CB1 receptors (to different degrees) while targeting CB2 receptors to the same degree delta-9 does, their range of effects and benefits will be nearly identical. However, the degree you feel them will vary since HHC cannabinoids appear to have a greater affinity for CB1 receptors than delta-8, which when activated, produce a variety of physiological and psychoactive effects (stimulate appetite, modulate pain, generate a euphoric state, etc.).  

Now, because it’s always fun to make cannabinoid science even more complex than it is, you should know there are two versions of HHC cannabinoids: HHC-9R and HHC-9S. While the “R” version binds to CB1 receptors, the “S” version may not. This means you may find discrepancies in HHC products if using different brands. 

As laws around the world have lightened their restrictions on the cannabis plant as a whole, attention has turned to lawmakers focusing on delta-9 THC. While cannabis plants produce over 500 varying compounds that all appear to technically produce psychoactive effects, delta-9 is pretty much solely responsible for that notorious intoxicating high. 

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All of this means that if delta-8 is legal in your area, then most likely HHC products will be as well. However, because HHC produces a high that some find matches delta-9’s high note for note, there is a chance HHC products are banned where delta-8 stays unrestricted

In regards to safety, both HHC and delta-8 cannabinoids are created in the lab, and due to lack of a regulatory oversight, many experts have expressed concerns that unexpected health issues may arise if the solvents and other chemicals used during the manufacturing process aren’t properly removed. 

Consumer Choices: Which One to Opt For?

So should you opt for delta-8 or HHC? If you’re looking for a mild high at best, allowing you to medicate throughout your day unhindered, delta-8 is a great option. If you are only familiar with CBD and have never consumed marijuana or delta-9 before, delta-8 is the logical next step when you’re looking for a little more oomph or pizzazz out of your cannabis item. 

If you love delta-9 THC but want a slightly dilated down high, then HHC may be more up your alley. As with any cannabis items that use solvents and other chemicals for synthesization, I highly advise only buying from reputable companies that are completely transparent over the practices they use while additionally providing COAs for their items.

Nicholas McKenzie - Cannabis Research Specialist

Nicholas McKenzie - Cannabis Research Specialist

Nicholas has spent the last ten years teaching gardeners, businesses, and enthusiasts how to succeed in the exciting and ever-changing world of cannabis. Whether he’s in the field getting his hands dirty or in the lab studying cannabinoids and their uses, Nicholas is passionate about bringing well-researched, factual, and concise information to an industry that very much needs it.

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