Published September 27, 2022
H4CBD vs. CBD - Secret Nature

H4CBD is the newest cannabinoid phenomenon to erupt online. We still know very little about this strange and potent version of CBD, though, which makes it important to compare H4CBD and the cannabinoid’s original version in considerable detail.

In this guide, we’ll briefly recap what H4CBD is before comparing it with CBD across 10 different categories. Then, we’ll help you choose between the two cannabinoids and answer any related questions you may have.

What is H4CBD?

H4CBD is the hydrogenated form of CBD. It does not occur naturally in cannabis or hemp buds, and it is instead made via a process very similar to producing hydrogenated vegetable oil in a food factory.

The effects of H4CBD are considered to be quite a bit stronger than those of CBD. Still, though, H4CBD remains within CBD’s general range of effects and doesn’t reach the intoxication threshold of THC.

Is H4CBD the same as CBD?

No, H4CBD is certainly not the same thing as CBD. These compounds have entirely different chemical structures, and H4CBD has considerably different effects in the body compared to what CBD consumers expect. That’s only the beginning of how these cannabinoids are different — it’s also much harder to get H4CBD products compared to the CBD equivalent, and product variety is greatly diminished.

H4CBD & CBD compared

How, exactly, are H4CBD and CBD different? Find out in the following comparison section:

1. Source

Both CBD and H4CBD come from hemp, but only one cannabinoid can be derived from hemp flower directly. Unlike CBD, which is the second most-abundant cannabinoid in Cannabis sativa, H4CBD is not naturally occuring in hemp or cannabis at all.

Instead, H4CBD must be made from CBD using hydrogenation. As a result, H4CBD is inherently a synthetic cannabinoid while CBD is usually entirely all-natural.

2. Chemical structure

Hydrogenation does not commonly change the chemical structure of substances profoundly, but it always changes them to some degree. In the case of H4CBD, the CBD molecule (C21H30O2) has been imbued with four more hydrogen atoms, resulting in a new structure (C21H34O2). Chemically speaking, H4CBD is still more similar to CBD than it is to anything else, but it’s undeniably a unique chemical in its own right.

3. Potency

This is all speculation based on a single 2006 study and limited anecdotal reporting, but H4CBD appears to be considerably more potent than CBD. The study, led by Shimon Ben-Shabat, determined that H4CBD may exert as much as 100 times the potency of CBD at the CB1 receptors.

There’s a problem here, however — CBD isn’t normally known to stimulate the CB1 receptors to any considerable degree. One hundred times nothing is still nothing, so whatever activity H4CBD may exert at the brain’s CB1 receptors is still likely to be far below the threshold reached with even a small THC dose.

4. Effects

Experienced effects may be the category in which CBD and H4CBD are the most different. Otherwise, these cannabinoids are quite similar despite coming from very dissimilar sources.

Where CBD will simply relax you with no sensation of intoxication whatsoever, though, using H4CBD will feel like using CBD in conjunction with a low dose of THC. It will still feel like you used CBD, but it won’t feel like you only used CBD.

5. Legality

Based on the most recent indications from the FDA, there doesn’t appear to be a considerable difference in legality between CBD and H4CBD. Since the advent of the delta 8 boom, producers have been worried that the FDA might view altered cannabinoids as exempt from the protections provided by the 2018 Farm Bill, but it appears that delta 9 THC remains the only cannabinoid targeted by the 1971 Controlled Substances Act.

As a result, H4CBD should most likely be viewed as industrial hemp, making it eligible for sale online. In fact, H4CBD products are appearing online as we speak.

6. Availability

There’s a considerable difference between CBD and H4CBD when it comes to availability. CBD drinks and snacks are even found on the shelves of conventional grocery stores these days while H4CBD can be hard to find even if you consider yourself a sleuth at tracking down rare apothecary items online.

What once were hundreds of CBD products have become thousands. You have your pick between practically every product type imaginable, and the massive growth of the CBD industry has led to quality-improving competition. At least half of the top 10 suppliers of H4CBD, on the other hand, are still bulk chemical suppliers, starkly exposing the availability differences between these two cannabinoids.

7. Product quality

The CBD industry has been around long enough now to offer a reliable level of product quality. Even in the absence of meaningful federal regulation, competition has naturally forced subpar hemp producers to improve or exit the market. As a result, you have your pick between dozens of excellent CBD products regardless of the category you selected.

The same is not the case for H4CBD. Cannabinoids purchased from chemical manufacturers are not safe for human consumption, and in the absence of competition, fledgling H4CBD producers are tempted to offset the cost of acquiring this rare cannabinoid by reducing overall product quality. Check for independent lab reports or contact customer service to verify the quality of any H4CBD products you’re considering.

8. Product variety

With CBD, you have your pick between tinctures, gummies, topicals, drinks, lip balms, vape cartridges, and even all-natural hemp flower. The H4CBD market, however, mostly consists of by-the-gram distillates and vape cartridges, significantly limiting the ways you can use this promising new cannabinoid.

9. Potential benefits

There’s no denying that H4CBD and CBD aren’t the same cannabinoid. While we can expect the benefits of H4CBD to closely approximate those offered by CBD, it’s too soon to speculate regarding the potential applications scientists may discover for this promising new hemp substance.

If it holds true that H4CBD gently stimulates your CB1 receptors while otherwise mirroring the effects of CBD, it’s possible that this cannabinoid might become very popular among people suffering from chronic pain or other conditions for which a combination of CBD and THC are often desired. Whatever the case may be, it’s a fact that we know next to nothing about H4CBD compared to conventional CBD.

10. Safety

When it comes to safety, CBD is a known variable while H4CBD remains a wildcard. Generally speaking, it takes a lot of tinkering to make a synthetic cannabinoid dangerous, and hydrogenation is one of the simplest and least-impactful forms of chemical synthesis. So, H4CBD is very unlikely to be harmful, but its safety is far less-established than that of CBD, which is almost universally regarded as having a very desirable side effect profile.

The bottom line: Should I use H4CBD or CBD?

If you want to stick with what’s known even if it’s somewhat boring, CBD is the right path to take. If you’d rather brave your way into the unknown and experience the potential of everything CBD might be, though, H4CBD is the right choice.

It’s true that we know far less about H4CBD than we do about conventional CBD. For some of those who love cannabis, though, that might be precisely the allure — we’ve always strayed somewhat past the edge of the conventional, and H4CBD is an opportunity to push the limits once again.


— Is H4CBD or CBD better for pain?

People like CBD for pain primarily because they’ve read studies indicating that this cannabinoid acts at your TRP and 5HT receptors, which are critically involved in pain. While H4CBD might be stronger at your CB1 receptors than CBD, though, it doesn’t appear to show any increased activity at your TRP and 5HT receptors. The only way H4CBD might be better than CBD for pain is if it genuinely stimulates your CB1 receptors, which produces a pain-numbing dopamine rush.

— Is H4CBD or CBD better for sleep?

There’s no reason to suspect that H4CBD might be more useful than conventional CBD for sleep. People mainly like CBD for sleep because it makes them feel relaxed and calm at night. While H4CBD might make you feel slightly high, it’s unlikely to improve upon the relaxing qualities of CBD to any considerable degree.

— Is H4CBD or CBD better for anxiety?

People with anxiety often report that a combination of CBD and THC works wonders. If it’s true that H4CBD activates your CB1 receptors, it might exert effects similar to those offered by CBD and THC together but in a single cannabinoid, potentially making this rare cannabinoid better for anxiety than CBD.

— Is H4CBD the same as HHCP?

No, H4CBD and HHCP are completely different cannabinoids. HHCP isn’t actually a cannabinoid at all: It’s simply hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) that has been produced using “phytocannabinoid” hemp-derived CBD instead of fully synthetic substances. Brands add the “P” to the end of “HHC” to distinguish it from normal HHC and advertise the cannabinoid’s natural origins.

— Is H4CBD the same as HHCPO?

No, H4CBD is not the same thing as HHCPO, a cannabinoid made by hydrogenating hexahydrocannabinol that was derived from phytocannabinoid sources. It’s true, though, that these cannabinoids are similar in that they’re both created via hydrogenation.

— Is there H4CBD flower?

No, we are not aware of any hemp or cannabis flower products containing H4CBD. This cannabinoid is not naturally occurring in cannabis, so to make H4CBD flower, you would need to spray H4CBD distillate onto hemp flower containing a different cannabinoid. As H4CBD becomes more popular, it’s possible that hemp flower products containing this cannabinoid will begin appearing.

— Is it worth learning how to make synthetic CBD at home?

No, there is generally no benefit to synthesizing CBD or any other cannabinoid in your home. The process of transforming CBD into a different chemical requires highly complex processes and expensive lab equipment. We wouldn’t even recommend that you extract CBD from hemp at home, so chemically transmuting this cannabinoid into another substance is definitely off the table.

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