HHC is one of the latest hemp derivatives to hit the market, and it’s being compared to THC thanks to its unique intoxicating effects. It's federal legal status makes it possible to order HHC products right to your doorstep–an exciting feature–but there's still lots to learn about HHC before you can integrate it into your life.
For instance–does HHC show up in a drug test? Are there drug tests for HHC specifically? And can HHC interfere with employment or have legal restrictions at the state level even though it's technically legal by federal standards?
These are details that can't be overlooked, and that are still highly debated among experts. Many people believe that HHC is a better dosing option for THC-restricted consumers because it's less likely to trigger a positive drug test result, but what's the truth about HHC drug testing? Here's what you need to know to decide for yourself:What is HHC?
Before we can really touch on how HHC may appear on a drug test, let's make sure we have a form understanding of what HHC is.
HHC, also known as “hexahydrocannabinol” is a hydrogenated THC analog that takes a form similar to THC. It has similar effects, although they may be a bit less potent than the effects you’ll experience from traditional THC products.
HHC is a naturally occurring molecule that can be found in cannabis’ pollen, although its usually found in trace amounts that are not viable for extraction. For that reason, it’s usually synthesized from other cannabinoids and can even be made from legal hemp material, meaning it can be produced in a manner that makes it legal by federal guidelines.
During this process, it’s made using a technique called “hydrogenation,” which sets it apart from the isomerization techniques used to make Delta-8, Delta-10, and other hemp-derived THC products. In other words, HHC is not a THC molecule, and therefore may not register the same way on a standard drug test.
Let’s break down why:
There’s no legitimate evidence to help us understand whether HHC can be detected on a standard drug screen, meaning no research exists to definitively to answer this question. Anecdotal reports and an understanding of HHC metabolism helps us better understand the possibility of HHC showing up in a drug test, but first we need to understand how a drug tests works.
Drug tests generally screen for THC metabolites and not THC itself. This is because THC is quickly converted in the body, but THC metabolites stick around much longer. Primarily, drug tests screen for 11-hydroxy-THC, a metabolite that can be present in your system for up to 90 days after ingesting THC.
Because HHC is not a THC molecule, we don’t know that it converts to 11-hydroxy-THC in the gut. However, limited evidence suggests that it does convert to a similar metabolite. Still, most sources suggest that pure HHC will not yield a positive drug test result. Unfortunately, discerning whether or not HHC products will make you fail a drug test is not that easy.
Anecdotal reports are conflicting, with plenty of people claiming that HHC products have not made them test positive on a drug screen. However, many reports also reveal another issue–many HHC products contain at least trace amounts of Delta-8 or THC-O. That’s because these molecules naturally occur in the process used to make HHC.
While pure HHC products may not cause you to fail a drug test, an HHC product containing even trace amounts of Delta-8, Delta-10, THC-O, or another THC molecule can cause a positive drug test result.
In other words, HHC may not be worth the risk if you are subject to drug testing for employment or legal purposes. Choosing an HHC product that is pure and contains 0% added THC may minimize this risks, but products with 100% purity are hard to come by.
So, HHC products, especially those that contain trace amounts of THC-O or Delta-8, can absolutely cause a failed drug test. But why does that matter if all of these compounds are federally legal?
Well, as we mentioned previously, a drug test only looks for THC metabolites. In other words, the test doesn't differentiate between THC-O and Delta-9-THC or other types of THC. It all looks exactly the same on the drug panel, and there's no way for you to prove what form of THC you've consumed. That means that even if you consume only legal forms of THC, you’re going to have a hard time fighting a positive drug test result that looks exactly the same as if you had consumed traditional Delta-9-THC products.
We still have a lot to learn about HHC, but we have some indication of how long it may stay in your system based on the half life of similar hemp-derived compounds. It's probably safe to assume that it lives in the body for about the same amount of time as hemp-derived THC products, although the exact amount of time is dependent on several unique factors, including:
Additionally, the drug testing method used to detect THC metabolites may also play a role in how long HHC products (especially those containing trace amounts of THC molecules) are detectable. Let’s break it down:
Again, there are no HHC specific drug tests on the market, but some HHC products contain THC that may pop positive on standard drug tests. Different testing methods have different detection periods. Some drug testing methods only detect THC for a few days, while others can detect it for several months.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
As we mentioned, you may already be in the clear if you took an HHC product that’s made from pure HHC and does not contain trace amounts of THC. Of course, if you only found out about your drug test after the fact and want to take extra precautions, you should consider these tips for passing a THC drug test:
It may go without saying, but you should immediately stop consuming THC/HHC products when you learn about your drug test. The longer you have to detox your system, the better your results will be.
In the days before your test, increase your hydration. Typically, you'll get better results if you drink water or other hydrating beverages as opposed to soda and other sugary drinks. Just keep in mind that if you drink too much water on the day of your test, your urine will be diluted. In some cases, this may be cause for a retest. If you’re testing for legal purposes, such as probation, this may be considered fraudulent.
Some sources suggest that a diet high in antioxidants and fiber can help cleanse your system more quickly than a diet high in trans fats and processed sugars. Try increasing your fruit and vegetable intake during your detox period to help move things along.
If you’ve determined that you aren’t at risk of failing a drug test and are looking to test some of the latest intoxicating compounds to hit the hemp market, check out our Elev8 Collection. We offer a selection of different hemp-derived THC products in a range of potencies and formulas to help you reach your perfect lift level, whether you’re new to THC or an experienced connoisseur.
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