Cannabis Science

HHC vs THC vs Delta 8

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Marijuana is made up of around 100 cannabinoids and other compounds. A cannabinoid is a compound that interacts with your endocannabinoid system. Most cannabinoids aren’t of interest to the general public. However, as research continues and more cannabis products hit the market, people are introduced to other cannabinoids. For example, delta 9 THC was the main focus for stoners. However, delta 8 THC products and HHC products have recently become available. Here’s our HHC vs. THC vs. Delta 8 analysis to clear up any confusion you may have.

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HHC vs THC vs Delta 8

In this section, we’ll introduce you briefly to each of the cannabinoids. Before we get into it, we want to point out that HHC and Delta 8 are forms of THC. Also, when people often use THC and delta 9 THC interchangeably. 


HHC stands for 9-Hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol and is a naturally occurring hydrogenated tetrahydrocannabinol derivative. However, according to WebMD, HHC is “made by starting with THC or some other cannabinoid and changing it slightly in a chemical laboratory.”

However, if you’re wondering how to create it, CFAH says you add hydrogen atoms to THC at high pressure with a catalyst like nickel or palladium. This is not something you do at home; trained people do this in labs. If you want HHC, you can check out online stores or vape shops.  

One important distinguishing feature of HHC is its stability compared to delta 9 THC and delta 8 THC. According to CFAH, “Unlike THC, HHC doesn’t lose potency as quickly when exposed to environmental factors such as light, heat, and air.”

The reason behind this is the fact that HHC is hydrogenated. Hydrogenation makes THC more resilient to things like oxidation. When THC is oxidated, it becomes CBN (cannabinol) which is only 10% as potent as THC, according to CFAH.

You may be wondering about the legality of HHC. According to WebMD, it’s unclear whether or not it’s legal. Technically, you can make HHC using hemp, which is legal. However, since it’s often made in a lab, that may make it illegal. 

CFAH says, “until a court offers an opinion on HHC’s legal status, it’s impossible to say it’s 100% legal or illegal.”

Let’s get into the crucial information, the effects of HHC, and how it will make you feel. HHC will get you high. It provides similar effects to THC and Delta 8. Therefore, you’ll likely get munchies, an increased heart rate, and euphoria. 

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According to CFAH, “Some HHC users put HHC somewhere between delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC, describing them as more relaxing than stimulating.”

THC and Delta 8

Again, when we say THC in this section, we’re referring to delta 9 THC. THC is a cannabinoid that’s a carbon compound, just like HHC. The main difference between delta 9, delta 8, and HHC is that HHC is hydrogenated, and the others aren’t. 

All three cannabinoids often result in euphoria or a high. They bind to CB1 and CB2, which are endocannabinoid receptors. Interestingly, due to the slight difference between HHC and the others, HHC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors better, according to CFAH. CFAH also mentioned that HHC binds better to TRP pain receptors.

One difference we would like to point out is the high itself. Delta 9 is believed to give the most potent high, and delta 8 gives a less powerful high and less anxiety. 

In addition to feeling high, delta 9 and delta 8 may be responsible for relieving ailments such as pain. WebMD says people also use HHC for medical reasons, but there isn’t a lot of research to back up its medical uses. 

At the same time, all three cannabinoids may cause some adverse side effects such as: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Impaired memory
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes

However, these side effects are pretty much the same for Delta 8 and HHC.

While they have similar side effects, they may differ in how they appear on tests. This is anecdotal evidence; however, there is talk that HHC doesn’t show up on blood tests while delta 8 and delta 9 do. CFAH says, ‘Early research suggests that HHC doesn’t convert into 11-hydroxy-THC in the liver, which is the main THC byproduct that can result in a false-positive test.”

But this claim is unverified so if you have a test coming up, avoid all three. 


To summarize:

  • HHC, THC (delta 9), and delta 8 are all different forms of THC.
  • There is not much research on the medical uses of HHC, but people use it for medical reasons, just like delta 8 and 9.
  • Delta 9 may give a more potent high, but all three will provide a high. 
  • HHC is more stable than the other two.
  • All three have similar side effects, whether pleasant or unpleasant. 


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].