HHC vs. THC: Understanding the Differences and Effects

Digging deeper into the world of hemp-derived products unveils a rich tapestry of compounds, called cannabinoids, each with its own unique properties and effects. Among these cannabinoids, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has long held the spotlight for its psychoactive properties. It’s the “classic” psychotropic cannabinoid. But various newcomers have emerged on the scene, like Hexahydrocannabinol (or HHC for short), and are quickly becoming all-stars.

Embark with us on a journey to unravel the distinctions between HHC and THC, exploring their chemical makeup, effects, and more! Here, we’ll navigate the intricacies of these cannabinoids and shed light on their similarities and differences, as well as the implications for those considering adding one (or both) to their rotation of legal psychoactive substances. 

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids, like THC, HHC, and wellness-favorite CBD, interact uniquely with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). These unique interactions lead to a host of therapeutic benefits that affect mood, appetite, and more.** But what is the ECS exactly? The ECS exists in humans and all animals. It’s a sprawling network of receptors. These receptors span from organs to other systems, working around the clock to maintain homeostasis, or balance, in the mind and body. The ECS regulates essential functions, such as sleep, pain, mood, energy, and more. When this system is out of sync, these functions are, too. 

After you take a cannabinoid-rich product, the cannabinoids filter through your body, navigate through your bloodstream, and enage your ECS receptors, bolstering the system’s overall function, which leads to a wide range of wellness-based benefits.** This is how cannabinoids like HHC, THC, and CBD offer a wide range of benefits for sleep, mood, and appetite (we call ’em the munchies).

What Is THC?

THC is the cannabinoid that gives users that elevated boost of bliss and mind-altering effects. This compound interacts with the body’s ECS, binding to cannabinoid receptors, particularly in the brain and central nervous system.** This interaction can lead to a range of effects like altered perception, mood changes, and increased appetite.** In addition to their recreational use, THC products have potential therapeutic benefits, including relief of minor aches and pains, stress relief, and more.**

What Is HHC?

So, what is HHC? HHC, a lesser-known cannabinoid, is a hydrogenated form of THC. While that may sound like fancy, complex science, hydrogenation is the same process that converts vegetable oil into margarine. Scientists simply take two stable hydrogen atoms and chemically bind them to THC’s molecular structure, creating a completely different compound—one that shares a striking resemblance to THC, no doubt. Because of this similar, though altered structure, HHC creates similar effects to THC. However, many users agree that HHC delivers a milder head-heavy experience, one that feels slightly more euphoric than standard THC. But, like with every other cannabinoid, experience varies from person to person. How you respond to HHC is going to be different from others. So, keep this in mind before your first rendezvous with this trippy compound.


With the definitions out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: weighing the differences between these two bantamweight compounds. HHC and THC are both cannabinoids that offer euphoric, psychoactive effects, but they have distinct chemical structures that cause slightly varied effects. 

THC is the compound that produces the psychotropic effects that lead to a mind-body sense of euphoria—what we call the classic “high.” HHC, on the other hand, is a minor cannabinoid with a similar chemical structure to THC. So, HHC reacts similarly to your body’s ECS, creating a range of psychoactive effects. But those subtle differences in the compound cause the effects to lean in a different direction, one that many say isn’t as overwhelming, while being slightly more euphoric than standard THC. 

HHC & THC Compared: What Are the Differences?

HHC works much like THC but with less intensity; the compound’s extra hydrogen atoms are thought to be the cause for this. While research into HHC is still evolving, two other notable differences are that HHC resists heat and UV radiation better than THC, and THC is more effective in relieving discomfort.** 

Let’s break down the main key differences between HHC vs THC.

Feature HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol) THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
Psychoactive Mild to moderate effects Relatively strong effects
Chemical Structure Hydrogenated form of THC Naturally occurring compound
Intensity May vary, but potentially milder than THC May vary, but typically stronger than HHC
Therapeutic Uses Potential benefits being studied Known benefits for stress relief, treating minor aches and pains, etc.**
Availability Found in gummies, vapes, carts, and syrups Found in gummies, vapes, carts, and syrups

HHC Effects

HHC users often report a sense of relaxation, mild euphoria, and potential relief from stress or minor discomfort.** These effects may be less potent than THC, but HHC’s effects are ideal for those who want a subtle, yet potent euphoric experience. 

THC Effects

THC is most known for its strong psychoactive effects, but it is also popular for stimulating appetite and relieving minor aches, nausea, and more.** However, high doses of legal THC may be too intense even for those with stronger tolerances, so responsible use is paramount. 

Final Thoughts: Which Is Right for You?

Deciding between HHC and THC ultimately depends on your individual preferences, needs, and, of course, local legal restrictions. If you’re looking to check out something tried and true, THC may be the right choice for you, But, if you’re hankering for something with potentially milder psychoactive effects and want to explore a newer cannabinoid, HHC could be worth your while. 

As with any cannabis product, it’s essential to approach either option with an understanding of your own tolerance and desired outcomes, as well as the legal status in your area. Whichever you choose, always prioritize safety, start with a low dose, and monitor how your body reacts before increasing your intake.