I tried HHC and HHC-O. Do they actually get you high?

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As the hemp-derived cannabinoid market continues to flourish, hexahydrocannabinol—commonly known as HHC—has become one of the buzziest compounds around. 

Less potent than other hemp-derived cannabinoids, HHC nonetheless offers a variety of positive effects. And for consumers seeking a more potent experience, HHC’s lesser-known cousin, HHC-O—also known as HHC acetate—has started to make waves as well.

Do HHC and HHC-O live up to the hype? We tried out a couple of products from Delta Extrax, one of the best reviewed HHC manufacturers in the country, to find out.

What are HHC and HHC-O?

Manufacturers typically derive HHC from hemp, which Congress made legal via the 2018 US Farm Bill.

The legality of HHC, however, remains murky. Until HHC comes under a state-regulated system, consumers will need to weigh the risks and benefits of possessing and consuming these compounds for themselves.

To create HHC, you first need to extract CBD from raw hemp. From there, things get a little more complicated. 

Kyle Ray, chief operating officer of Colorado Chromatography, described the production of HHC as a proprietary process that takes place inside a chemical reactor. “Think about the reactor as a black box,” Ray told Leafly. “In goes CBD, out comes HHC.”

To create HHC-O, on the other hand, manufacturers add the chemical compound acetic anhydride to the HHC. The acetic anhydride helps the molecule bind more thoroughly to the body’s cannabinoid receptors to induce a more potent effect.

Manufacturers claim that HHC-O is anywhere from 1.5 to up to three times the strength of HHC.

HHC delivers a gentle and soothing high

My own HHC journey began with the Delta Extrax Sour gummies—each one contains 10mg of HHC. 

One afternoon, on a pretty empty stomach, I popped half of a blue raspberry gummy in my mouth and began to chew. I could feel my eyebrows go up in surprise: These were tasty.

A note of warning to fans of Haribo gummy bears, Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, and all other tougher, dense gummies: The Sours deliver a ton of satisfying, sumptuous chewiness. I could chomp on non-infused bags of these all day. 

The high arrived about forty five minutes later—not too different from a conventional edible.

It set in gently; there was no herky-jerk “Oh shit, I’m high now” moment. 

outstretched hand holding mutli-colored bite-size gummies, with gummy jar in background, against white backdrop
So many gummies, so little time. (Max Savage Levenson for Leafly)

The HHC gummy acted similarly to, say, a 1000mg edible of full-spectrum CBD: I became extremely calm, and maybe a tad sluggish and spacey. My muscles untensed, and it felt really good to plop down in a chair. 

I’m also pleased to report that I didn’t feel any anxiety, experience any mental raciness, or find myself sliding down any existential wormholes—a recurring theme of my edibles history writ large.

Bonus points: No dry mouth!

Some consumers and businesses estimate that HHC delivers roughly three-quarters the potency of conventional THC (delta-9). Others say it’s on par with delta-8 THC. Personally, I found these HHC gummies to be even less psychoactive. 

Cooking dinner while coasting on the HHC gummy was easy and mellow. It didn’t cause any significant munchies, either. 

The gummy impacted me for much less time than a conventional THC gummy of the same strength—roughly two to three hours.

A couple of days later, I ate a full gummy. Honestly, I didn’t notice any elevated psychoactive effects, but it definitely knocked me out for a night of blessedly deep sleep.

Is HHC-O actually stronger than HHC? 

black and blue bag of Mango Madness gummies, against a white background
(Courtesy of Delta Extrax/CBD Savage)

Next, I tried the company’s HHC-O “Mango Madness” gummies. Each gummy contains 15 mg of HHC and HHC-O, but the package doesn’t specify how much of each compound is in the gummies.

Unfortunately, these didn’t taste nearly as good as the Sours. I found them to be way too sweet, and strangely chalky in texture.

Buuut, if you’re looking for a psychoactive experience, HHC-O definitely packs more of a punch than conventional HHC. The gummy induced a mild and buzzy cerebral high that lasted for an hour or so. I would ballpark the HHC-O at half the strength of a conventional cannabis edible, or comparable to delta-8 THC.

But in contrast to delta-8, the HHC-O definitely provided more muscle relaxation and soothing effects.

To wrap up, if you’re in the market for a chill and mellow hemp-derived cannabinoid, HHC may be a good choice for you. Its cousin, HHC-O, certainly provides more psychoactive effects. But at the end of the day, the acetate cannabinoid doesn’t offer much that you can’t get from other hemp-derived cannabinoids like delta-8.

Max Savage Levenson's Bio Image

Max Savage Levenson

Max Savage Levenson likely has the lowest cannabis tolerance of any writer on the cannabis beat. He also writes about music for Pitchfork, Bandcamp and other bespectacled folk. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.

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