What is HHC (hexahydrocannabinol)?

Published Aug 20, 2021 10:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Viktoriia Oleinichenko

You’ve likely heard that HHC is going to be the next big thing, a story we’ve watched played out time and time again with other cannabinoids like delta-8, so it’s pretty safe to say that it’s not going to replace standard THC or CBD products that are widely available today. However, it is making leaps and bounds for now, as do all trendy unregulated recreational elements and substances, which is why it’s so important for consumers to know what they might be getting into.

What is HCC?

Hexahydrocannabinol (HCC) is a man-made molecule that is similar to THC. It is a synthetic derivative that was created in a lab by making modifications to the structure of THC in hopes of uncovering a new easier way to fulfill the binding requirements that are necessary to produce effects that are similar to those expected from cannabis.

What does it do?

There is not enough scientific evidence to show or prove everything that hexahydrocannabinol can do, but it is 100% psychoactive and reported to induce feelings and sensations that are similar, though often more intense than THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Most who consume HCC do so for recreational purposes.

How is HCC made?

The discovery of hexahydrocannabinolwas an impressive scientific feat, but how it is made remains terrifyingly unclear. From what we do know, chemicals such as formic acid or palladium are utilized to change the molecular structure, as they erode bonds to create a synthetic psychoactive cannabinoid. The exact process used to do this is hazy, likely due to its illicit status in most countries.

Is HCC safe?

This element is often referred to as a cannabinoid, THC alternative fake weed, or synthetic cannabinoid, which might lead some consumers to believe that it’s as safe to take as cannabis-derived chemicals when the truth is that though they might be structurally similar, the effects of HCC can be significantly more powerful and overwhelming than THC. According to research, the results of taking HCC are far less predictable and so much more dangerous than good old-fashioned THC or CBD. In some cases, the risks may even be life-threatening, which is why it was banned by most countries.

A direct connection to spice

Hexahydrocannabinol is just one of many dangerous components used to make spice, a product that quietly stayed in plain sight for many years, being sold online and in gas stations, novelty shops, and even black market dispensaries as a completely safe and legal way to get high, which made it wildly popular at a time prior to the legalization of cannabis. After a few poor souls took the drug and made headlines following violent altercations that resulted in several deaths, including those of at least a few innocent bystanders, the synthetic cannabinoid was banned from the market in both the United States and Canada.

Labs can’t test for it

One of the biggest concerns surrounding this dangerous element is based on the fact that most labs are not equipped to or capable of testing for it due to a lack of standardized samples and tools to do the job, and some experts believe that HCC could be used in the making of black market concentrates, unbeknownst to unsuspecting customers.

In the end, it’s safer to choose an all-natural cannabinoid

Cannabinoids have a lot to offer the world in terms of both recreational and medicinal benefits, but most who are well versed on the subject agree that synthetic versions are no laughing matter. Though it might be more convenient, affordable, or legal to indulge in the effects of HCC, the risk to your physical and mental health just isn’t worth it. Until we know more about these unexplored versions of cannabinoids, it’s safe to say that they should be avoided at all costs because we just have no idea how dangerous they could really be.

Competition for synthetic cannabinoids is at an alltime high


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