Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is a semi-synthetic compound that was first discovered in the 1940s by American chemist Roger Adams. Through a process called hydrogenation, Adams added two hydrogen molecules to delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis, to convert it to HHC. Hydrogenation is not only used for the production of cannabinoids, but also for the conversion of vegetable oil to margarine. There are several isomers of this hydrogenated form of THC, such as Delta-8, THC and HHC, which have recently appeared on the market.
These cannabinoids are made by starting with THC or some other cannabinoid and changing it slightly in a chemical laboratory. However, information on its safety and usefulness is very limited, and there are some reports of serious side effects. HHC is more stable than THC in the long term and impairs its ability to bind to several receptors in the body. Any isomer of THC can be used to produce HHC by hydrogenation, including THC delta 8, delta 9 and delta 10. Because HHC is synthetic, people may even experience additional unwanted side effects.
Several structurally related analogs of HHC have been found naturally in cannabis, such as cannabiripsol, 9α-hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol, 7-oxo-9α-hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol, 10α-hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol, 10ar-hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol and 1′S-hydroxycannabinol, 10α-hydroxycannabinol -506 (9.1) - hexahydrocannabinol and 9β,10β-epoxyhexahydrocannabinol. There have even been some animal tests that have shown that beta-HHC has remarkable analgesic effects when tested in rats. Regarding potency, Gerdeman said in an email that HHC is less powerful than delta-9 and potentially less powerful than delta-8; however, that varies “because the chemistry created by HHC is inconsistent across methods”. While there are no federal regulations that set the minimum age required to purchase HHC-O, there are state regulations that require consumers to be 18 or older to purchase. Most HHC products you'll find on the market will have approximately equal portions of (R) and (S) HHC. Many users report that the effects of HHC are similar to those of THC delta 8 in that they lean more toward relaxation than stimulation. It is possible to concentrate the active (R) -HHC (called a racemic mixture), but the process is very complicated and cost prohibitive in most cases.
In the presence of alcohol, methoxy or ethoxy analogs such as 9-methoxy-HHC, 10-methoxy-HHC, 9-ethoxy-HHC and 10-ethoxy-HHC can be formed.