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HHC vs. THC: Everything You Need to Know


By now, you’ve probably heard of HHC — or THC-lite.

Considering HHC’s minor psychoactive effects, it’s no wonder hemp enthusiasts are rushing to buy HHC products online at a stunning rate. From how HHC is made to its effects and legal status, you’re about to discover everything you need to know about these two exciting cannabinoids below.

The Chemistry of HHC and THC are Similar — But Not the Same

HHC and THC are both cannabinoids, which means they have a similar chemical structure. The main difference is that HHC contains an extra hydroxyl group (–OH) on its carbon chain. This makes it slightly more water soluble than THC and, therefore, easier for your body to digest.

Both act as neurotransmitters in our brains and have pain-relieving properties. However, only THC is currently approved by the FDA as an effective treatment for certain conditions like Crohn’s disease or multiple sclerosis (MS).

THC and HHC are Made Differently

HHC is a natural cannabinoid found in hemp plants.

However, the concentration of naturally-derived HHC is minimal and practically impossible to extract at a commercial rate. Therefore, researchers found an improved and safe method to create ample amounts of hemp-derived HHC.

HHC is synthesized during the hydrogenation of THC molecules to produce a processable oil containing high concentrations of HHC with minimized psychoactive effects.

In other words, HHC is a semi-synthetic compound because it begins as THC and converts to HHC with the introduction of the hydroxyl atom.

Like THC, HHC Produces a Wide Range of Effects

HHC is a psychoactive cannabinoid found in hemp, and it has been shown to have many therapeutic properties.

Overall, HHC is known to assist a wide variety of mental and physical issues, such as inflammation, anxiety, depression, and lack of focus. Additionally, HHC may assist in reducing seizures, a primary effect recognized in THC.

Potential side effects of HHC

Side effects of HHC include the following:

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Confusion

Potential side effects of THC

There are some potential side effects to consider before using THC, such as:

  • Anxiety

  • Increased appetite

  • Red eyes

  • Dry mouth

THC and HHC Have Different Legal Statuses in the United States

THC is illegal at the federal level, but HHC is legal in many states.

Ultimately, the federal government still classified THC as a Schedule 1 drug. Although most states have implemented legal medical marijuana or recreational cannabis laws — there still isn’t an overarching legal framework that protects marijuana producers and consumers at the federal level.

Alternatively, HHC is technically federally legal, given the wording of the 2018 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill notes explicitly that all hemp-derived products are permitted as long as the THC content does not exceed 0.3%.

However, a handful of states have sought to bar the sale of HHC. A clear example of where HHC is illegal is in Idaho, which considers HHC a Schedule I drug because its base ingredient before hydrogenation is THC.

How HHC Compares to Other Novel Cannabinoids

Next, let’s discuss how HHC compares to other popular cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBN, and CBG.


HHC and CBD are known to interact with the endocannabinoid system to assist mental and physical aspects.

However, HHC is better suited for facilitating increased awareness, focus, and an overall euphoric mindset. Alternatively, CBD is heavily relied on in regard to depression, anxiety, pain, and stress.

Furthermore, CBD is much more widely available than HHC because it is easier to produce and does not have the same legal implications associated with HHC. Ultimately, HHC is a complementary cannabinoid to CBD due to its overall therapeutic nature.


In a natural setting, THC breaks down over time into CBN.

CBN is the sleepy cannabinoid because it generally makes users drowsy. As time and other natural elements wear down CBN, small amounts are converted to HHC.

As we mentioned previously, natural HHC concentrations are very small, making it costly and difficult to extract large quantities. Therefore, it’s unlikely that you’ll find completely natural forms of HHC that are not hydrogenated.

As for effects, HHC produces euphoria, energy, and increased focus. In other words, HHC is practically the exact opposite of CBN, which is more likely to produce a heavy dose of relaxation than stimulation.


CBG, also known as cannabigerol, is another minor cannabinoid found in small quantities in hemp plants.

CBG produces a wide number of effects, such as assisting with depression, insomnia, pain, and glaucoma. Similar to CBD, CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that can even block CB1 and CB2 receptors from binding with THC molecules.

On the other hand, HHC has a stronger affinity with THC because it does produce minor psychoactive effects. Furthermore, HHC is more prone to elevating the senses, which may benefit users who want to stay active during the day and night.


Overall, HHC and THC are different once you break them down by the intensity of effects and legal status.

HHC is marketed as THC-lite because it is, in fact, psychoactive. However, users will quickly discover that HHC does not produce the same mind-bending and body-numbing effects as THC.

Instead, HHC is a novel cannabinoid that may assist with increased focus, energy, and overall euphoria. Depending on where you live, you may have easy access to HHC flowers, edibles, and concentrate.

If you’re ready to experience the buzz HHC offers, head to Simply Crafted for an unbeatable selection of HHC products. Simply Crafted carries lab-tested and top-shelf HHC products, such as HHC edibles, HHC vapes, HHC flowers, and HHC extracts — an offering you don’t want to miss!

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