What is HHC? thumbnail image
  • Alternative Cannabinoids
  • Relaxation

December 28, 2021

Estimated Read Time: 7 min

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By Valerie Orta on December 28, 2021

HHC is a federally-legal compound derived from hemp with unique euphoric properties. This newcomer to the hemp scene has clear-minded, uplifting effects regularly compared to THC.

The two most in-demand hemp-derived cannabinoids today, CBD and delta-8 THC, are far from all that hemp have to offer.

The truth is, hemp is a source of more than 150 different naturally-occurring cannabinoids. And now, there’s a whole new series of alternative cannabinoids with exciting potential. All thanks to forward-minded scientists who discovered how to make hemp cannabinoids found in the plant in small amounts.

That’s the case with one new hemp cannabinoid-- hexahydrocannabinol (HHC).

While HHC doesn't have nearly the same awareness or attention as CBD or THC, it has garnered much buzz as of late because of its unique effects. We predict you will begin hearing much more about it as more become aware of its benefits.

In This Article:

In this article, we’ll get you more familiar with HHC. Learn about what HHC is, where it comes from, HHC effects and benefits, and whether HHC is legally accessible.

HHC Educational Infographic

HHC Basics: What is HHC?

Koi HHC Gummies and Koi HHC Vape Cartridges are now available, so it's a great time to learn about this unique cannabinoid and what it can do for you.

HHC, short for hexahydrocannabinol, is a federally legal, naturally-occurring cannabinoid that comes from hemp. It’s often described as THC-lite, because it produces similar effects but is milder in intensity.

While it’s a naturally-occurring compound, HHC is produced by the plant in only small amounts. So to obtain enough HHC to make HHC products, companies need to create this relatively newly discovered compound from either THC or CBD.

It may be new to the market, but HHC was first created in 1944. American chemist Roger Adams added hydrogen molecules to delta-9 THC, transforming THC to HHC. After the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived compounds like HHC, demand for it and cannabinoids like it has surged. Today, companies can produce HHC by converting hemp-derived CBD.

HHC effects are described as THC-like, but with added mental clarity. Despite their clear connection, HHC has become an attractive option for consumers looking for a THC-like experience but who prefer or need to avoid THC.

How is HHC Made?

HHC does appear naturally in cannabis plants like hemp, but only in small quantities. Early research suggests that as THC breaks down, a small concentration converts to other cannabinoids, including delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, and of course, HHC.

Because the natural concentration of HHC is so low, the HHC products you find on the market today are made using HHC that’s been created by converting it from a more abundant hemp cannabinoid, like CBD.

When done correctly, this process to make HHC involves several steps that start with naturally occurring hemp-derived CBD. Using a proprietary method involving acids and filtration, and then hydration, scientists in a well-equipped laboratory can safely transform hemp CBD to THC, and then into enough HHC to infuse into products like HHC gummies, tinctures, vape cartridges, and more.

This hydrogenation process used to make HHC is commonly used to create other everyday products. Margarine, for example, is created using a very similar hydrogenation process.

What are the Benefits of HHC?

So what’s the deal with HHC? What does HHC do for you, and why has it grown so popular?

Primarily, it has to do with its unique effects.

Users of HHC have shared that the compound offers a pleasant, mild relaxation sensation without any cerebral fogginess.

It’s generally considered a good choice for those times when you’re hoping to take the edge off while staying mentally sharp.

With these unique mellowing effects, HHC can be beneficial for:

  • Enhancing hangouts with friends
  • Getting lost in a book
  • Spurring creative thoughts
  • Powering through household chores

Researchers have yet to fully understand the full positive impact HHC can have on your body. They do know though, that like all cannabinoids, HHC elicits its effects by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Your ECS is a major regulatory network that’s responsible for restoring and maintaining balance. By managing the release and breakdown of neurotransmitters and hormones, the ECS works to keep your body running at its best.

HHC Effects: How Does HHC Make You Feel?

What HHC does to you will depend greatly on how much HHC you take. Other factors, like your body type, genetics, age, and personal tolerance, will also play a role.

HHC is regarded as having similar, yet milder, elevating effects as compared to conventional delta-9 THC. This is of course due to their similar chemical makeup.

Those who use HHC regularly say it delivers a clear calming feeling while at the same time leaving your mind clear. You can expect to experience:

  • A heightened sense of calm and overall relaxed feeling
  • An elevated mood
  • Slightly altered reflexes and perception

Take a look at what actual Koi customers say about their experiences with HHC:

Is HHC Strong?

HHC potency tends to fall in the middle of other euphoric hemp cannabinoids. The more you take, of course, the stronger these euphoric HHC effects will be.

But, the average experience suggests that HHC is felt more strongly than delta-10 THC, and less intensely than delta-9 THC.

Learn more: Discover what delta-8 is and its benefits, or learn about delta-10 and its effects.

How Much HHC Should I Take?

When it comes to the proper serving of HHC, no one answer applies to everyone. The amount of HHC that’s best for you largely depends on:

  • The intensity of effects you’d like to experience
  • Your tolerance

With that caveat in mind, this general guide on HHC servings can help get you started:

  • Low serving: 5-10 mg
  • Moderate serving: 10-20 mg
  • High serving: 20+ mg

If you’re new to HHC, always start on the low end (no more than 5 mg) until you have a better understanding of how the compound will impact you. You can always gradually work your way up as needed, but it’s best to avoid the sometimes unenjoyable effects that can come with taking too much.

How HHC Compares to Other Cannabinoids

There are notable differences between HHC and other commonly-used cannabinoids like CBD and THC. All three compounds provide benefits by stimulating the body’s endocannabinoid system. However, they interact with the system’s receptors in different ways for varying effects.


The main difference between HHC and CBD and how it works is that HHC will provide you with sometimes powerfully-felt uplifting sensations, while CBD is non-intoxicating and used for general wellness. HHC binds with the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptor, while CBD indirectly influences the system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors.


When it comes to HHC and THC, they share an almost identical molecular structure. THC has one double bond in its top ring structure, while HHC has two additional hydrogenated carbons. Both bind directly to CB1 receptors, so they share similar effects, but HHC has a weaker affinity than THC, explaining why it's not as potent or strongly felt by most users.

How Safe is HHC?

With HHC so new to the scene, there have yet to be any safety studies for the compound completed. However, anecdotal reports indicate that it shares a similar safety profile to THC.

Many people use HHC regularly, and there have yet to be any reports of adverse effects from using HHC or HHC products. Those who have used HHC have shared that HHC side effects are comparable to those you would experience with THC.

To help ensure your HHC is safe, make sure that the products you buy are third-party lab-tested products and come from a reliable manufacturer. All cannabinoid products should be created using cGMP practices and then examined at an independent lab to confirm HHC safety and quality.

As with any new hemp cannabinoids, there is no standard serving size for HHC. As you first start out using the compound, begin with a small serving and wait at least one hour to see how HHC impacts you. Then, if you’d like, you can gradually increase your intake until you determine the amount of HHC that works for you.

HHC is legal to sell, buy, and use throughout the United States, thanks to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Per federal law, products made from hemp and its compounds are legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. HHC comes from hemp.

This means that you can legally buy HHC online or in local stores, in nearly all cases.

States can establish laws related to HHC and other cannabinoids. Some states have placed restrictions on the sale and use of cannabinoid products in the past. Some may elect to do the same with HHC.

In short, HHC is legal at the federal level, but it’s a good idea to check the laws of your state, as they can change quickly.

Does HHC Show Up on a Drug Test?

Whether HHC shows up on a drug test is still unclear.

There is anecdotal evidence from HHC users that the compound can evade drug tests. Some have argued that the compound never converts into 11-hydroxy-THC, the common metabolite detected by most drug tests.

It's important to point out that there is no hard evidence showing that HHC does not register on conventional 12-panel drug tests. So, it's better to err on the side of caution and avoid using HHC if you're subject to drug testing.

Where Can I Buy HHC Online?

You can buy HHC products like HHC gummies, HHC vape cartridges and more from Koi CBD, your trusted brand for cannabinoids since 2015.

Regardless, when shopping for HHC and other cannabinoids, take a little extra time to make sure that the products you buy are safe and reliable.

Jars of Koi HHC Gummies

Check for the following three quality and safety standards when buying HHC:

  1. The product comes from a reputable, trustworthy company with positive verifiable reviews from other consumers.
  2. The company follows current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP).
  3. The products have been third-party tested by an outside, independent laboratory.

Reliable HHC companies will also provide you with access to the product’s Certificate of Analysis, or COA. This document by a third-party independent lab verifies that the product is free of toxins and that it meets advertised specifications, such as HHC concentration.

More on HHC and Other Hemp Cannabinoids

There are many more beneficial cannabinoids in the hemp plant. Learn even more about new alternative cannabinoids like HHC, delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, delta-10 THC, and THC-O, as well as well-known CBD, through the Koi CBD blog.

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