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  • Alternative Cannabinoids

March 15, 2023

HHC vs Delta 9

Estimated Read Time: 9 min

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By Valerie Orta on March 15, 2023

If you're looking for a hemp cannabinoid to help you unwind or get creative, HHC and delta 9 THC are two go-to's. Find out how they compare in potency, effects, legality, etc.

Key takeaways:

  • HHC and delta 9 are each naturally occurring hemp-derived cannabinoids with elevating effects.
  • Delta 9 tends to deliver stronger elevating and relaxing results compared to HHC. HHC is appreciated for offering a relaxation sensation without any cerebral fogginess.
  • Both are legally available at the federal level in the United States when derived from hemp.

Gone are the days when the only thing you thought hemp had to offer was CBD. Anyone looking to feel and function better with the help of hemp NOW have a wide range of options to suit their needs.

While this variety of cannabinoids and their benefits are exciting, let's be honest: It can be pretty confusing when first hearing about them. Deciphering the differences between CBD, Delta 8, Delta 9, HHC, THC-O, and many others can be hard.

If you're looking for hemp to help you relax or to spark creativity, HHC and delta 9 are two such cannabinoids you'll want to consider. And as is the case with other cannabinoids, HHC borrows heavily from delta 9, which might lead you to ask, what is the difference between delta 9 and HHC? Here, we compare them to help you figure out which should be your go-to.

What is Delta 9?

Delta 9 THC, most often referred to as simply THC is the most popular and well-recognized cannabinoid in cannabis. It's most known for its noticeably elevating effects that can help you relax, quiet busy thoughts, soothe body tension, and more.

Delta 9 is one of many cannabinoids in cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana. The plants are, in fact, home to over 100 identified cannabinoids and more than 400 compounds altogether.

Delta 9 THC is far from new. It's been used for centuries and is recognized as the plant's principal psychoactive component.

Delta 9 THC is short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. You'll find it in all cannabis plants but in lower concentrations in hemp varieties. You can find hemp-derived delta 9 in mostly ingestible products, often as delta 9 gummies or other delta 9 edibles.

Learn more: How does delta 9 differ from delta 8 and delta 10 THC?

How is Delta 9 Made?

Delta 9 is made by the cannabis plant itself. It's a naturally occurring compound in the growing plant - in the stems, leaves, and stalks. But mainly, it's concentrated in the plant's flowers.

However, delta 9 is only produced in tiny amounts in hemp, no more than 0.3%. So, in the case of hemp-derived delta 9 products, the delta-9 compounds are created by converting hemp-derived CBD using acids and filtration.

Grabbing for Delta 9 Gummies

What is HHC?

HHC doesn't nearly have the same acclaim as delta 9, but it's more than worthy of your attention. Also a naturally-occurring cannabinoid, HHC produces similar effects to delta 9, but likely at a milder intensity. HHC is often described as THC-like but with added mental clarity.

While some elevating cannabinoids can make you feel cloudy, HHC keeps your mind clear. That's why it's often used by artists looking to tap into their creativity without losing focus or anybody relaxing on the weekend that wants to be still able to converse with others. While researchers have investigated delta 9 thoroughly, studies still need to be done on HHC.

HHC comes in various forms, including HHC gummies and HHC vape cartridges.

Learn more: What is HHC?

How is HHC Made?

HHC occurs naturally in the hemp plant, just like delta 9. But like hemp-derived delta 9, it's also commonly created through a process that starts with naturally occurring CBD.

The first HHC molecule was discovered and named in 1947. Scientists made it by combining THC variants with other chemicals.

HHC has a molecular structure that lacks double bonds. This is because, during the conversion process, the THC double bonds are broken and replaced by hydrogen atoms.

During the formation of HHC, a THC byproduct called  CBN is also created with the extra double bonds. The differences might be minor but could make a whole world of difference.

Comparison Between Delta 9 and HHC Differences

As you can see, delta 9 and HHC share many similarities. HHC even has its roots firmly set in delta 9.

However, these are two different and unique compounds. Once you know how each cannabinoid might affect you, you'll be ready to choose the right one for the right moment and in a better position to customize your experience to your personal preferences.

Table comparing HHC and Delta 9


If you're accustomed to delta 9 THC and open to considering other compounds, you might wonder if HHC will deliver the same potent effects.

Potency is one of the best distinctions between HHC and delta 9. While effects can vary person-to-person, HHC tends to fall in the middle between two popular types of THCs: more potent than delta 8 but not as powerful as delta 9.

So, HHC can be a quality choice if you've used delta 8, but you're looking for something with a heavier punch. At the same time, it can also be an excellent compound if you're looking for something less intense than delta 9.

Chemical structure

HHC and delta 9 have a similar chemical structure comprised of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. But how these components bond together distinguishes HHC from delta 9.

Delta 9 THC has a double bond at the ninth carbon in the core ring structure, whereas HHC has no double bonds. The remainder of the molecules is virtually identical.

Although the molecular distinctions between these cannabinoids are minor, the difference in effects and feeling is significant.


Because of their similar chemical structure, HHC and delta 9 THC share a similar effect profile. As a result, both deliver noticeably elevating effects that can naturally boost mood, enhance relaxation, and stimulate creativity.

Some fans of these cannabinoids consider the effects of HHC almost as potent as delta 9, while others say HHC tends to be milder and closer to those of delta 8. It's generally accepted that delta 9 is more potent overall.

But where the two compounds differ most when it comes to effects is the type of elevating experience they can deliver. HHC provides these relaxing benefits, but with a sense of mental clarity, so you can better say, focus on a creative project or stay engaged in conversation with a friend.

Also, if you're finding the effects of delta 9 too powerful, HHC is an excellent alternative. For truly clocking out at the end of the day, delta 9 has superior uplifting effects.

Legal status

HHC products and delta 9 products are federally legal in the United States, provided they come from hemp and contain no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight.

Since the 2018 Farm Bill came into effect, hemp and its derivatives, like HHC and delta 9, have become legal at the federal level. However, states can and have implemented laws regulating cannabinoids, so it's essential to review the current rules where you live.


You can find HHC and delta 9 legally available in nearly every state. They're also available to order online.

Generally, you'll have more options with HHC products. For example, HHC comes in gummies, vapes, and more.

Hemp-derived delta 9 products are more limited because not all product forms allow them to fall under the federal mandate of 0.3% THC by dry weight. That's why you'll find delta 9 mainly in heavier products, such as delta 9 gummies.

Friends enjoying HHC gummies

Benefits of Delta 9

As the plant's most well-known and widely-used cannabinoid for centuries, delta 9 has been the focus of analysis and studies for a long time. From research findings, experts believe it has a lot of promise for many wellness benefits.

Relaxing effects

Delta 9 has excellent unwinding benefits that can help you calm your mind and encourage feelings of happiness. Delta 9 can relax your body and mind at a smaller serving size, so you feel better overall. If you inadvertently take too much, however, there are chances it can make you feel more on edge and tense.

Healthy appetite support

Delta 9 has long been associated with supporting a healthier appetite. Because it interacts with your body's CB1 receptors, it provides a sense of joy when eating. In addition, there's evidence that it may also positively affect a hormone closely associated with your appetite.

Benefits of HHC

While research into HHC's wellness potential is still very much in need, anecdotal reports suggest  HHC is safe and can also be helpful in many ways, as delta 9. However, it's also important to note that, as is the case with delta 9 and any other cannabinoid, the effects that you experience from HHC may vary from someone else.

Relaxing effects

HHC tends to deliver similar relaxing benefits as delta 9. People use HHC when dealing with stressful situations and need help quieting busy thoughts. People have shared that HHC tends to do this while keeping your mind clear. This benefit is why HHC has become a popular option for artists who want to shut out unwanted thoughts to focus on their creative projects entirely.

HHC Vape Cartridge

Is it Wise to Mix Delta 9 and HHC?

If you're a fan of delta 9 and HHC, could you add them both to your relaxation routine? Is it even a good idea? How will these cannabinoids interact with the body when combined?

There's not much to share about how the body will interact with both cannabinoids when combined. However, it's reasonable to assume that the combination would be safe.

Throughout human history, people have consumed the entirety of the compounds found in the cannabis plant together. HHC and delta 9 are just two of the plant's more than 100 cannabinoids.

There's evidence to suggest that these compounds work synergistically to enhance their benefits when they're consumed together.

Still, it would be best always to be cautious when adding any new cannabinoid to your routine, and we recommend speaking to your doctor first. And when you start, set yourself up for a good experience by beginning with a small serving and gradually working your way up over time. This way, you'll reduce the risk of taking too much and having unwanted side effects.

Also, if you work in the public sector or are a competitive athlete, please remember that delta 9 and HHC will show up on a drug test. If this is the case, you'll want to refrain from using any cannabinoid products. Signs of using HHC and delta-9 stay in your system for up to 30 days or longer.

More About HHC and Delta 9

You can learn more about HHC, delta 9 THC, and the many other hemp cannabinoids available today by visiting the Koi blog. Do you have questions about a particular product? Please reach out to our customer service team at customerservice@koicbd.com.

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