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HHC vs Delta-8: Which One Should You Choose?

If you've been following the recent growth of the hemp industry, you're most likely aware of the influx of Delta-9 THC alternatives that are popping up in the market. A combination of variables related to cannabis legality and market saturation have resulted in a number of retailers and online magazines racing to capitalize on the next best cannabinoid that hits the market. Although many of these hyped up cannabinoids don't stick around for long, two that have stood their ground and have made a name for themselves among this boom are both Delta-8 THC and HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol.

If you're new to the world of cannabinoids, it can be tricky to understand why these two are so heavily discussed, and what the difference is between these two. Today, we’re going to break it down and help you understand which one is better for you from a consumer standpoint.

Time to Learn Cannabinoids

The Cannabinoid Crash Course

Before we dive into that, we have to talk about the basics. Cannabis plants, like 100's of others on the planet, contain a variety of molecular compounds. The ones in cannabis are known as cannabinoids. These are chemical substances that can bind to our body's endocannabinoid system, each having their own unique effects. Some are psycho-active, some are soothing, and some do nothing at all!

For those new to this space, the most popularized cannabinoid is Delta-9 THC, also called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It's widely known due to it's presence in cannabis plants, along with the strict regulation that comes with it across the globe.

THC, however, is not the only popularized cannabinoid found in hemp. There are a couple others that are especially well-known. One is called cannabidiol (CBD), and the other is called cannabigerol (CBG).

CBD is a compound that can have a calming effect on the body, and can help reduce anxiety and other symptoms. The amount of CBD in hemp varies from plant to plant. The same applies to CBG.

Each cannabis strain can have varying levels of cannabinoids in their flowers. and this plays a big part into how you feel. High THC, and you feel "stoned". High CBD, and you feel relaxation and pain relief. Today, we're seeing an alarming amount of hemp-derived cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids hitting the market.

So, what is HHC?

HHC has recently gained popularity as the holy grail of Delta-9 THC substitutes. HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive cannabinoid derived from hemp that shares many of delta-9's features. The key difference that separates it is its molecular structure, where the double bond that you typically see in recreational cannabinoids, has been replaced with hydrogen molecules. It is even said that it has a superior shelf-life due to said molecular structure that comes from its manufacturing process. This means it will stay potent longer than traditional cannabis when stored for extended periods of time.

The amount of research outside of occasional forum chatter is limited, but it's seeming that it's holding up to its name, for now.

Making choices

What is Delta-8?

Delta-8 is one of the original alternative cannabinoids that gained popularity early on. It's naturally found in hemp in small forms, and is only different from Delta-9 due to the placement of the double bond in its molecular structure (on the 8th chain instead of 9th). It's known for it's similarity to delta-9 in terms of effects, and is a go to for many cannabinoid enthusiasts looking for a buzz.

The conception of Delta-8 and its popularity is an interesting story, to say the least. Following the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD saw a huge boom. Unfortunately, for hemp capitalists, the surge of CBD-related products created a crowded market, with an oversupply of CBD products. This was also in conjunction with a demand that was, well, disappointing.

As expected, CBD prices fell. In line with this, every store had started offering low quality CBD products on their shelves, seemingly in a fashion of just to have it due to prices being so low.

Following this, hemp retailers had scrambled to find ways to recoup margins and "make hemp great again".

Eventually, it was realized that CBD had been used for research purposes to create alternatives to Delta-9 THC via methods similar to decarboxylation. Hemp manufacturers in the cannabis industry caught on quickly and they began working on a consistent and profitable method for turning excess hemp into Delta-8 THC to use in future production. The concept caught fire and Delta-8 had officially kick started the Hemp Derived Delta-9 THC alternative frenzy we see today. It's almost like the commercial version of decarboxylation on a macro scale!

Which is better, Delta-8 or HHC?

Better is a subjective term that will most likely differ between industry experts, consumers, and even distributors. So, to come up with a concrete answer that everyone can agree on isn't likely. If you're reading this, chances are you are either a consumer, or a competitor doing competitive research.

With that in mind, we'll be looking at the differences in these hemp-derived cannabinoids strictly from a consumer standpoint. As a result, the questions we'll be addressing are fairly simple.

 

  • Is Delta-8 or HHC stronger?
  • Psychoactive effects of Delta-8 THC vs HHC
  • Which one is more affordable?

 

Is HHC or Delta-8 Stronger?

Of course, a driving factor of what hemp product you'll purchase sometimes really is this simple: potency levels. We understand that a lot of the time, people are looking for a hemp product that can bring a bit more to the table than the potential relief that comes from typical CBD flower

In terms of effects, if we're sticking to the basics and talking about in comparison to Delta-9 THC, we'll keep it simple:

HHC is said to be stronger than Delta-8 THC.

But, that's only the simple answer. The majority of reports from users are showing that neither are as potent as Delta-9 THC. Again, HHC is the new cannabinoid on the block, so we'll be keeping a close eye out for supporting evidence that says otherwise.

In terms of specifics, though, HHC is said to be just a notch under Delta-9 THC's potency (imagine 85%), while Delta-8 looks to be few more notches under Delta-9 THC's potency (we're looking at a 65% to 70% of the potency). Again - this is all anecdotal, and people have reported a wide variety of claims. Due to the variables that can come into play with this type of data such as dosage, sources, and extract percentages, we can't say for sure. 

So, throwing "potency" out of the window, we really have to discuss the key differences between HHC and Delta-8 in regards to their effects. Think more of how to they feel instead of how strong of the buzz you can get from them is.

hanging out

HHC vs Delta-8 Effects

HHC Effects - Sativa anyone?

HHC has become known for its cerebral leaning effects. In comparison to Delta-8, it's said that HHC will create more euphoric effects, leaning towards feelings of energy, and focus. It's said that this is closer to feeling like Delta-9 THC than other popular alternate cannabinoids due to this "head rush" feeling. It's even been said that it feels closer to Delta-10 THC than Delta-8 THC.

If you've ever smoked a sativa marijuana strain, it's close to how that feels. It has been said that the effects are a bit shorter in duration in comparison to other popular alternative cannabinoids.

Delta-8 Effects - Slow down and enjoy the ride

If HHC was a sativa, you could say that delta-8 THC is its equal as an indica strain. Hemp aficionados have said that Delta-8 THC and HHC are extremely similar, and the real core difference is that Delta-8 brings on indica feeling effects. Although similar to Delta-9 in a variety of ways, the majority of the effects will be more felt in your body. You'll feel more sedated and relaxed. 

Visual of Price increase

HHC vs Delta-8 Price

So, regardless of potency levels and different types of effects, we have to address a big factor that also plays into purchasing decisions: pricing. 

Although these are both minor cannabinoids, they're drastically different in price. As of now, you can expect to pay a premium for HHC products in comparison to Delta-8 products. In general, depending on where you purchase it from, HHC on average is 5 times more expensive than delta-8 THC. Obviously this will vary, but this is consistent from the chain of purchasing in a retail setting all the way to purchasing from a manufacturer directly.

Why is HHC more expensive?

In simple terms, it's because it's new and the manufacturing process is more complex. Like most minor cannabinoids being sold on the market, Delta-8 can be synthesized from CBD. This makes the initial barrier to entry fairly low, as getting hemp that you can extract CBD from is relatively cheap these days, especially when bought in large amounts.

The other factor that comes into play, is that the conversion process for Delta-8 isn't as complex as HHC's, in practice. HHC is done via multiple extractions and chemical reactions that add up to be a fairly costly process, whereas Delta-8 is just extracted from CBD, usually via a much more cost effective process.

Another thing to consider is how new of a product it is; for every new cannabinoid that hits the market, it's common to see an influx of media creating hype around it, as well as debates regarding legality. Unfortunately, this results in an influx of publicity whenever someone begins offering said new cannabinoid product to the market, and an increased demand is likely to follow it. With something fresh and new, it makes it simple to mark up from a business standpoint.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it really depends on what you are looking for. Why not try both? There's a unique aspect to each of them, and it never hurts to add a little variety to your hemp stash. As always, regardless of the cannabinoid you're looking at purchasing, always purchase from reputable suppliers that get their products tested and certified by a lab. You can always add the HHC to your stash. It is always better to try more than one type to get the best results.