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Medically Reviewed By:

Nidra Sidhu, M.D. Integrative Medicine

HHC Vs Delta 8: Properties, Benefits, and Side Effects

Hhc vs delta 8 illustration

With the vast number of choices lining physical and digital shelves, differentiating one cannabinoid from another can be a headache. 

Delta 8, delta 9, and delta 10. And now, another rising star has entered the market, HHC. But what are the key differences between them?

We'll dive into the properties of HHC vs delta 8, including their benefits, side effects, legality, and safety. 

Understanding their similarities and differences will allow you to pick one over the other based on your desired experience. 

What Is HHC?

HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid.

The plant contains not just ten but hundreds of different chemical compounds, one of which happens to be HHC. You can expect these compounds to exert varying effects, many of which have yet to be fully explored by scientists and experts.

Though HHC is naturally present in hemp plants, it can only be found in minute concentrations. Having products made entirely from 'natural' HHC is not exactly feasible, as doing so will give such products exorbitant price tags. 

Companies will have to synthetically manufacture HHC in labs via chemical processes to supply sufficient quantities of HHC products at reasonable costs.

Thus, manufacturers utilize a process known as hydrogenation to make HHC in an economically-viable manner.

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What Is Delta 8?

Before we explore the features and properties of HHC vs delta 8, let's take a quick look at what delta 8 really is

Similar to HHC, delta 8 is a rather new player in the market. Delta 9 is somewhat the friendly neighborhood kid you've known for a while.

On the other hand, HHC and delta 8 are like the cool new kids on the block. And the current rage about delta 8 is no surprise.

The Hemp Plant

Delta 8 is also found in the hemp plant. Despite being another naturally-occurring compound, delta 8 is typically found in minimal quantities in the hemp plant.

If delta 8 were to be solely extracted, you'd be looking at astronomically-priced products reserved only for those who can afford to cash out a fortune. 

Luckily, most companies synthesize delta 8 in the lab.

So you won't have to worry about breaking the bank to get your hands on a bag of delta 8 edibles.

Effects And Benefits Of HHC Vs Delta 8

HHC, delta 8, delta 9 from cannabis plants, and other cannabinoids display varying effects. But we'll need to dig a little deeper into their molecular and chemical structure to understand why.

Chemical Structure of HHC vs Delta 8

Let's do a quick run-back of our high school Chemistry classes. Chemical compounds consist of different elements, and in cannabinoids, you'll be looking at three elements—carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. 

The way these different elements link up affects the structure of the compound. For instance, delta 8 has a carbon-carbon double bond on its eight carbon.

Meanwhile, its popular cousin, delta 9, carries a carbon-carbon double bond on the ninth carbon (see where they get their names from?). And that's the only structural difference between delta 8 and delta 9.

Now, if we were to compare the molecular structures of HHC vs delta 8, you'll also notice one single difference. HHC does not possess a carbon-carbon double bond at the eighth or ninth position. 

Aside from this, everything else is virtually similar. 

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Effects of HHC vs Delta 8

Let's first start by addressing this common question—is HHC stronger than delta 8? 

Yes, HHC is slightly stronger than delta 8 but still not as powerful as delta 9. This is the most obvious difference between both cousins. Both have psychoactive effects (and some have even reported therapeutic benefits) like the marijuana plant.

To put things into perspective, delta 8's strength is about 50% of delta 9's, while HHC lands at around 80%. Hence, the high you experience from HHC vs delta 8 may be harder-hitting and more noticeable. 

HHC may be better enjoyed by those craving something a little more intense.

But if you're keen on a more mellow, prolonged, and smoother lift, delta 8 is definitely the one to go for.

Its psychoactive effects are also recommended for casual users and those relatively new to the scene.

This difference in effects between HHC and delta 8 is due to their molecular structure and how the cannabinoids interact with the body. Despite the only difference being the double bond on the eight carbon, this changes how delta 8 and HHC interact with the receptors in your body.

Of course, the effects you experience may differ from someone else. They're also influenced by how you consume delta 8 and HHC and the dose you take. 

What about HHC-O?

Just bear with us. Understandably, with all these different names, things can get rather confusing. HHC-O is made from HHC in the lab by adding acetic anhydride, which basically doubles the strength of HHC. Because of its extra power, HHC-O is nicknamed "Super HHC." 

From this, you could probably also guess the main difference between HHC-O vs delta 8. HHC-O will be much stronger than delta 8, thus leading to a more intense high. Ultimately, HHC-O is better reserved for highly-experienced veterans who know what they're getting into! 

Alright, let's move on before you get nightmare flashbacks of your Chemistry lessons. 

Benefits of HHC Vs Delta 8

Overall, the effects and benefits you experience from delta 8 and HHC may overlap, resulting in a lift that isn't as intense as delta 9. 

At lower doses, HHC is more likely to lead to a relaxing and calming high, similar to delta 8 gummies. But at higher doses of HHC, you may notice more energizing and euphoric effects.

The hemp-derived THC lift can help maintain a sense of calm and get you focused on crossing out your to-do list. And this is why many people incorporate delta 8 into their daily health and wellness routine. If you're keen to enjoy a 'clear-headed' delta 8 high, opt for high-quality delta 8 products.

Delta North’s delta 8 gummies 1000 mg are among the best-tasting and highest-quality hemp-derived cannabinoids on the market.

Each product is made in a cGMP-certified facility and third-party tested in a lab.

Side effects of HHC Vs Delta 8

Some people may experience side effects from consuming HHC and delta 8. 

Both these compounds share more or less the same set of side effects, but you're more likely to experience side effects from HHC compared to hemp-derived THC. That's because HHC is the stronger cousin.

Some side effects from both compounds include:

  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Dizziness  
  • Confusion

Not everyone who consumes delta 8 or HHC will experience side effects. It also depends on what dose you opt for—the greater the dose, the greater your risk of side effects. 

Currently, there isn't much research about the safety of HHC. It's a new member of the group, so experts and scientists have yet to determine much about its uses, side effects, and safety. 

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HHC Vs Delta 8 Legality

You'll be pleased to know that HHC and delta 8 are considered federally legal. Under federal law, you can legally buy and possess products containing HHC or delta 8.

The 2018 Farm Bill changed the legal landscape in a monumental way.

According to this Farm Bill, the concentration of delta 9 THC must be less than 0.3% for it to be considered legal. Since delta 8 and HHC aren't the same as delta 9, they are permitted—as long as the concentration of delta 9 THC in the product does not surpass 0.3%. This effectively made HHC legal and other hemp-derived cannabinoids legal.

State Legality

Despite this, delta 8 cannot be purchased, sold, or possessed legally in every state. Ultimately, state laws also play a role in determining the legality of delta 8 products. If a state has deemed delta 8 as an illegal substance, this overwrites its federal legality.

On the other hand, there aren't any hard-and-fast rules for HHC products, simply because this compound is one of the newest players in the market. This means that no current state laws dictate HHC as an illegal substance, but the concentration of delta 9 in the product has to be less than 0.3%. 

Nonetheless, to err on the side of caution, it's best to assume that delta 8 laws also apply to HHC products. Many experts believe that HHC will receive similar regulations and restrictions to alternative cannabinoids like delta 8 as soon as it gains more popularity. 

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How Are HHC And Delta 8 Made?

As mentioned earlier, both HHC and delta 8 can be found naturally in hemp plants. But there's a significant problem. They are found in low concentrations in the plant. If manufacturers were to derive these compounds via extraction alone, such products would fetch exorbitant prices. 

Because of this, the manufacturing process of HHC vs delta 8 typically involves production in a lab. Commercial HHC is usually made via a process known as hydrogenation—which is conducted under pressure and exposure to a catalyst like nickel or zinc. 

Where It Is Made

Delta 8 is also usually synthesized in a lab. Manufacturers typically convert other compounds like delta 9 and CBD to delta 8 through a process called isomerization.

It's important to purchase any delta 8 and HHC products from a reliable vendor. Improper techniques and procedures can lead to impurities accumulating in your product.

In other cases, some low-quality products could be illegal. Since they don't undergo stringent testing, the amount of delta 9 present in them may exceed the 0.3% cap deemed acceptable by the law. 

Delta North’s delta 8 gummies have undergone rigorous manufacturing standards and procedures to ensure their safety and quality. Furthermore, these gummies have been third-party lab tested. They do not contain any detectable traces of delta 9 THC, which means they're legal, as long as your state law permits delta 8. 

Availability Of Delta 8 Vs HHC

HHC is challenging to find in the current market simply because it's still a relatively new compound. Many sellers and vendors may not carry this product, even though it's deemed federally legal. 

Both HHC and delta 8 share a similarly relaxed legal status, but delta 8 is not as new as HHC and is currently more popular. Since there's a great demand for delta 8 online, many manufacturers and vendors have tapped into the market, making delta 8 products much easier to attain and purchase. 

Because of the limited availability of HHC products, it is typically more expensive compared to delta 8 products. 

So if you're looking for something budget-friendly, widely availably, and federally legal, delta 8 is your best bet!

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Final Takeaway

It's hard to say.

Ultimately, it falls back on your preferences. If you're looking for something a little more intense, HHC is the better option. But say you prefer a more mellow high. Or perhaps, you value convenience and affordability. In those cases, delta 8 trumps HHC.

If you're curious about the unique effects of different delta 8 strains, feel free to check out our guide on does indica make you sleepy or hyper

Legal Disclaimer: You should still consult an attorney for the best legal advice regarding Delta 8 in your state, as the material shared here is for informational purposes only.

author avatar
Clayton McCall

Clayton is a Senior Content Specialist, researcher, and holistic healthcare practitioner. Having been in the supplement industry for more than 15 years, Clayton brings a wealth of experience to the delta 8 space. His publications include alternative therapy, stress and coping, and alternative health.

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