What Is the Cannabinoid HHC?

In the 2019 study that revealed the just-discovered cannabinoid THCP, an agonist called CP55940 was used as a baseline for the effects of this ultra-strong, ultra-rare cannabis compound. This same man-made cannabinoid receptor agonist has its parent in HHC, one of the first synthetic forms of THC ever made.

HHC has suddenly enjoyed a comeback as “legal” forms of THC have proliferated on the internet like, well, weeds. What is HHC, is it sketchy, is it safe, is it legal, and can I buy it today? Let’s answer all those questions and more.

What is HHC?

HHC is officially known as 11-Nor-9β-hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol. If just the name isn’t enough to give you the willies right off the bat, we’re concerned for your mental well-being. For contrast, the scientific name of CBD is just cannabidiol, and even THC is simply called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol in even the swankiest of scientific settings.

All those Greek letters and super-long hyphenated chemical names are surefire signs that HHC is synthetic. Sure enough, HHC is widely known as the first synthetic form of THC ever made, and it’s the basis of many other synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists that have branched significantly away from the cannabinoid family tree.

HHC is sort of like the first Frankenstein that other scientists then used as the blueprint for more Frankensteins (Frankenstein’s Monsters, for the seriously literal). It’s not so bad in itself, but HHC is the synthetic seed that was used to make everything from CP55940, an extremely useful clinical endocannabinoid stimulant, to (C8)-CP47497, the primary component of the just as extremely dangerous “fake weed” drug Spice.

HHC overview

  • First usable form of synthetic THC ever made
  • Wildly different chemicals structure from THC
  • Was used to make CP55940, a very useful clinical tool
  • Was also used to make ultra-dangerous Spice and K2
  • A mixed bag with limited utility
  • Fully synthetic and potentially dangerous
  • Nonetheless sold on the internet

How is HHC different as a cannabinoid?

HHC has a fundamentally different structure from THC while still being very similar. Natural variants of THC, such as delta 8 and THCV, feature changes in the tail or very minor tweaks to the body of the molecule, but even a layman can see that HHC is shaped very differently from THC.

The back halves of the molecules are structurally identical. The front halves, however, are completely different. As a result, HHC and THC interact with your body differently while still exerting similar experienced effects. 

Is HHC synthetic?

Yes, HHC is fully synthetic, and there is no potential of this cannabinoid ever being bred in cannabis. HHC has been fundamentally chemically altered to become a different substance to the extent that we wonder if the term “cannabinoid” even adequately describes it.

HHC is the foundation of Spice and K2, the worst stains in the history of cannabis. At its core, HHC is a perversion of natural cannabinoids and has led to much harm. Cannabinoid research would have been held back considerably without the development of HHC-based CP55940, but we wonder if it was really worth it.

What is HHC used for?

HHC is no longer used in cannabinoid research. Useful derivatives of HHC can now be synthesized directly, so up until recently, production of this synthetic cannabinoid had essentially reached a standstill.

Noticing the rise of delta 8, however, HHC was recognized as yet another form of “legal THC” capable of being sold to the masses. No matter how much marketing material you read, however, delta 8 and HHC will never be the same or even similar. One is a synthetic cannabinoid that does not naturally occur in cannabis and the other is a natural substance that does.

We can’t say the current uses of HHC are pure. With delta 8, THCV, and even delta 10 available, why resort to the synthetic stem cell that gave birth to K2 and Spice?

Is the cannabinoid HHC legal?

The cannabinoid HHC does not appear to be particularly legal. Synthetic cannabinoids are the least-protected of the cannabis derivatives named under the 2018 Farm Bill, and despite what you might have heard, this bill didn’t even make CBD strictly “legal” in the sense that we can declare it loud and clear.

The DEA would probably consider HHC illegal since it is a modified cannabinoid, and hemp cannabinoids are considered to be unregulated drugs already. All we can say for certain is that HHC is not specifically listed in the Controlled Substances Act, so it isn’t a Schedule I drug like delta 9 THC.

Can I buy the cannabinoid HHC online?

Whether it’s legal or not, people are selling HHC online. It’s one of the rarer THC derivatives, but you can find it. Since the molecular “plans” to HHC have been around for decades, it’s reasonable to assume that producers are finding it relatively easy to synthesize this cannabinoid.

HHC is no safer than it was to start, however, and for that matter, we’ve never had any idea how safe HHC is. All we know is that derivatives of HHC like Spice have the potential to cause great harm, and we can’t forget that the underlying purpose of this synthetic cannabinoid is to maximize activation of your CB1 receptors.

In that regard, HHC is a failed experiment that was replaced by CP55940, one of HHC’s own children that achieved full CB1 activation when it could not. Even from the perspective of the international scientific community, HHC is a useless reject.

Any substance offering 100% CB1 receptor activation must be at least somewhat dangerous. Even if HHC didn’t quite get there itself, it gave rise to two terrifying progeny: on the one side, we have a synthetic neuroreceptor agonist (CP55940) that completely overloads your brain’s THC centers, and on the other side, we have a dangerous, illegal drug (Spice) that has besmirched the name of cannabis and landed thousands of ignorant young people in the emergency room.

Where to buy HHC for sale

We would strongly recommend against ever buying any HHC of any kind. This is a meritless synthetic cannabinoid offering no advantages over natural alternatives and posing great potential to harm. Consider natural or at least naturally derived cannabinoids instead.

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Tyler William, Founder and Ceo