March 20, 2024 6 min read

In the vibrant and evolving world of cannabinoids, a unique battle unfolds in the HHC vs Delta-8 THC arena. These two fascinating compounds are stirring up the cannabis scene with their distinct characteristics and effects. 

So, what’s the difference? We’ll take a deep dive into both, revealing the substantial differences in their chemical makeup, effects, and availability. 

Which is best? Let’s compare:

Table of Contents
What is HHC?
What is Delta-8?
Safety and Side Effects: HHC vs Delta-8
Comparing Availability and Accessibility
How to Choose: Delta-8 vs HHC

Key Takeaways

  • HHC is around 70-80% as potent as Delta-9 THC, while Delta-8 THC is roughly 50% as potent, offering milder psychoactive effects.
  • Both HHC and Delta-8 THC are federally legal under the Farm Bill, but caution is advised due to varying state laws and limited safety research.
  • Delta-8 THC products are widely available and established in the market, while HHC products are newer and gaining momentum, both accessible online beyond state-licensed dispensaries.

What is HHC?

HHC vape cart filled with HHC oil

HHC, short for hexahydrocannabinol, is a hydrogenated derivative of THC, the well-known psychoactive compound found in cannabis. HHC occurs naturally in trace amounts in certain high-potency cannabis strains, but what's commonly used in HHC products is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid created through a lab process called hydrogenation.

Origins and Synthesis Process

HHC was originally isolated in 1944 by American chemist Roger Adams, a renowned cannabinoid researcher who has been credited with the discovery of many hemp cannabinoids, including Delta-8. 

Hydrogenation of THC molecules involves a chemical maneuver that elongates the shelf life of THC and enhances its ability to bind to CB1 receptors within the endocannabinoid system (ECS). In other words, HHC may be an even more stable version of hemp THC, though it falls into a classification of its own. 

HHC Legality

HHC is technically not THC, so it isn’t usually subject to the same THC laws as some hemp THC derivatives, like Delta-8 or Delta-9. However, HHC is federally legal because it falls under the Farm Bill's umbrella. However, caution is advised as it may still result in a failed drug test. 

Also consider that state laws vary, so you should be familiar with hemp laws in your state before buying or consuming HHC. 

HHC Effects

HHC induces psychoactive effects that are similar to that of traditional Delta-9- THC, but it’s only roughly 70-80% as potent. Though it is milder than Delta-9, it’s still a bit more potent than Delta-8. In other words, the high isn’t quite as intense, but it still offers a robust and long-lasting experience, appealing to consumers seeking potent effects.

Some experts believe that HCC has its own therapeutic spectrum, though more research is needed to understand how HHC can be used medicinally. It’s sometimes associated with enhanced pain relief and improved sleep.

What is Delta 8?

Delta-8 THC, an isomer of Delta-9 THC, shares a similar chemical structure but with a slight variation. It's known to be less psychoactive than Delta-9 THC, with effects that are only around 50% as potent, providing a milder, more manageable high.

Delta-8 hemp flower, one of the many different types of Delta-8 products available

Natural Occurrence and Extraction Methods

Delta-8 exists in minuscule quantities in the raw cannabis plant, which is why most Delta-8 products are derived through a chemical conversion process called isomerization. This process effectively transforms the molecule into Delta-8 THC, creating an exact replica of the Delta-8 naturally present in the hemp plant.

Delta 8 Legality

Delta-8 THC products are derived through a chemical conversion process that's covered under hemp manufacturing laws. In most states, it's classified in the same manner as CBD–as a hemp-derived cannabinoid. 

So, Delta-8 is federally legal, but THC laws vary by state. Still, it is legal in most places, making it popular as an alternative way to experience the marijuana high, especially in states where recreational marijuana use remains illegal.

Read “Where Is Delta-8 Legal?

Delta-8 Effects

Delta-8 THC is about half as potent as traditional THC, so it offers a milder psychoactive experience. Its effects are also slightly different than traditional Delta-9, leaning more towards relaxing, sedative effects. 

Compared to HHC, Delta-8 is slightly less potent, with more body-high effects. Because its psychoactive effects are so mild, it offers a potential therapeutic avenue for consumers who want to avoid an intense high. 

Safety and Side Effects: HHC vs Delta-8

HHC, being relatively new to the cannabinoid market, requires careful consideration of potential risks and side effects. Delta-8 THC, while milder in its psychoactive effects, still warrants attention regarding potential risks and side effects. 

HHC Safety

Currently, there is no research to help us understand HHC’s full safety profile. However, it's often compared to that of traditional THC. That means that HHC may be safe when used responsibly, but side effects are still possible.

Delta-8 Safety

Again, safety research is limited. However, one clinical study found that Delta-8 was a safer alternative with fewer side effects when compared to Delta-9 in pediatric patients. More specifically, Delta-8 was found to be 100% safe for pediatric cancer patients compared to traditional THC therapies. 

Side Effects

Side effects of HHC and Delta-8 are similar. In many cases, side effects are mild and rare and are linked to overconsumption. In some cases, poor product quality may also cause more significant, severe side effects. Side effects of THC and related products may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Decreased reaction time
  • Memory impairment
  • Altered judgment
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Hallucinations (at high doses)
  • Increased appetite (commonly referred to as "the munchies")
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting (in some cases)

Understanding the safety profiles of both HHC and Delta-8 THC is crucial for consumers to make informed decisions about their usage.

Delta-8 flower and HHC vapes positioned on a wood table top

Comparing Availability and Accessibility

HHC products are gaining momentum but are still relatively new, with availability varying across different markets. Delta-8 THC products, on the other hand, have established a strong presence in the market, boasting a wide variety of products catering to diverse consumer preferences.

Luckily, both hemp products are available online, which makes it easy for consumers to access them outside of state-licensed dispensaries. 

How to Choose: Delta-8 vs HHC

When deciding between HHC and Delta-8 products, consumers should weigh several factors to ensure they make an informed choice. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Take into account desired effects, legal status, and personal preferences when choosing between HHC and Delta-8 THC products.
  • Consider your individual tolerance levels and sensitivity to cannabinoids. Some may find one compound more suitable for their needs based on their personal reactions to different cannabinoids.
  • Make sure to gather as much information as possible about both HHC and Delta-8 THC before making a decision. Research the potential effects, safety considerations, and legal regulations surrounding each compound to make a well-informed choice that aligns with your preferences and needs.


Understanding the distinctions between HHC and Delta-8 THC is crucial for consumers in navigating cannabinoid products effectively. As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, staying informed about the latest developments and regulations is essential for making informed choices. 

Whether you're drawn to the robust effects of HHC or the milder experience of Delta-8 THC, exploring the diverse world of cannabinoids offers a wealth of possibilities for enhancing your well-being and enjoyment. Embrace the journey, stay informed, and elevate your cannabis experience with confidence.

Vida Optima™ Elev8™ Disposable Delta 8 THC + THC-O Vape (1mL) D8 Vape

Where to Buy HHC vs THC

Thanks to its natural hemp source, HHC is federally legal and legal in many U.S. states, which means it's far more accessible than traditional cannabis products. It's important that you source from trustworthy hemp manufacturers that provide third-party lab tests for every batch. 

For now, HHC may be more difficult to find than THC-O, Delta-8, or other hemp derivatives. If you’re looking for legal hemp-derived THC you can order online that meets the most stringent quality standards, check out our  Elev8 Collection

Frequently Asked Questions

How strong is HHC?

HHC is thought to be around 75% as potent as Delta-9-THC, but a bit more potent than Delta-8. It’s effects are different than both, providing a deep euphoria that’s supposedly more relaxing and sedating than the other two cannabinoids. 

Is Delta-9 stronger than HHC?

Yes, Delta-9 is stronger than HHC, but only slightly. The dosage threshold for both products is similar, although you may need a slightly smaller dose of Delta-9 to reach your desired lift level. 

Is HHC better?

HHC last longer on the shelf and may have more stable legal parameters than THC products. There is more to learn, but there is currently no evidence to suggest that HHC is any less safe than traditional THC. 

Is HHC illegal?

HHC-O is fully federally legal and is legal in most states, including some of the states that have banned hemp-derived THC. Because HHC is not technically a THC product, it’s not often subject to the same legal restrictions. For now, HHC is thought to be legal in at least 40 states.

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