What is HHC (hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol)?

As the race to discover and develop new, more potent cannabinoids. It seems like HHC (hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol) is the newest novel compound to be hitting center stage. 

The available information on HHC (hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol) is extremely limited at this point.  Let’s start with whether it’s natural or synthetic – technically, it can be both. There is a biologically active naturally occurring (−)-hexahydrocannabinol, as well as its synthetic enantiomer (+)-hexahydrocannabinol. The synthetic HHC, which can be found in spice, has the chemical formula: 9-Nor-9β-hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol, and the natural variety, found in trace amounts in cannabis pollen, goes by the formula: 6aR,9R,10aR-Hexahydrocannabinol.

As the name suggests (Hexahydrocannabinol vs Tetrahydrocannabinol), HHC has many similarities to THC. It’s basically a simplified version of Delta 9 THC. Both HHC and THC have very similar molecular structures and comparable effects. It was discovered during research in the 1960s and 70s in which the goal was to find the most basic cannabinoid-like substances that could still bind to CB receptors.


HHC is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid, an isomer of THC. This type of structure means that the HHC molecule has a minor difference from the one of THC. This difference lies in one of the double carbon bonds of THC that breaks during the hydrogenation process to result in HHC. The change in the molecule structure is similar to the alterations in the other cannabinoids when they go through the hydrogenation process.


The psychotropic effect of the “high” is the most distinctive effect of THC. Besides it, there are many other effects of THC in the body, most of them beneficial. This substance shows remarkable efficacy as a pain reliever, appetite regulator, anxiety suppressant, and very promising glaucoma treatment.

While the hydrogenation process changes some of the properties of the THC, others even get enhanced. Some health benefits and side effects are still unknown, but researchers are looking into them to ensure a safe experience for its users.

The well-known “high” of THC stays pretty much the same when it becomes HHC. Some people that have tried it report a sensory enhancement very similar to the one they get from THC, with tingling in their limbs, visual and hearing alteration. The psychotropic effects of HHC take a longer time to set on than THC. On the other hand, these effects last longer when using HHC.

The effect of HHC on medical conditions like pain and inflammation is stronger than the not hydrogenated THC. The same happens with its anti-tumor properties, more effective than the ones from THC. While other effects are yet unknown, these results are promising for their application in medicine.

HHC & Drug Test

Does HHC show up on a drug test or not? Short answer, we don’t know yet. If you have anything important riding on your drug test, it’s best to abstain from all cannabis products to be on the safe side. 


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