HHC vs THC-O: Comparing Benefits, Side Effects & More

by Kat Austin September 29, 2023 5 min read

HHC vs THC-O: Comparing Benefits, Side Effects & More - Vida Optima™

HHC and THC-O, two psychoactive hemp cannabinoids, are making waves in the hemp market. These THC isomers offers enhanced accessibility compared to traditional THC products since they are derived from hemp, which is federally legal

But, just like all THC isomers, both THC-O and HHC have unique effects that set them apart from traditional THC products and from each other. 

In this comprehensive comparison, we will delve into the distinctions between HHC and THC-O, exploring their effects, legal status, safety profile, dosages, and more. Then, it’s up to you to decide which route to take for your THC experience. 

Ready? Let’s start with the basics:

Table of Contents
What is HHC?
Is HHC the Same as THC-O?
THC-O vs HHC Comparisons
Drug Testing
Where to Buy HHC vs THC-O

Key Takeaways

  • HHC is less potent and more relaxing than THC-O, which brings on an energizing, creative high. 
  • Both THC-O and HHC are federally legal and legal in most states. 
  • Buying a high quality hemp THC product is the first step to ensuring a safe, positive THC experience. 

What is HHC?

Cannabis flower and cannabis HHC concentrate displayed on a table to show examples of HHC products.

HHC, chemically known as "11-Hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol" or "hexahydrocannabinol," is a hydrogenated THC analog discovered in the 1940s by cannabis researcher Roger Adams. It's a naturally occurring cannabinoid, though typically found in trace amounts in natural cannabis material. 

Most HHC available in the market today is synthesized from other cannabinoids derived from legal hemp material. This synthesis process makes HHC federally legal, despite its potent psychoactive effects, similar to Delta-8-THC.

Is HHC the same as THC-O?

Although HHC shares a structural similarity with THC-O, the two cannabinoids are different and come with different effects. 

Still, they have more similarities than differences–namely that they both interact with the CB1 receptor responsible for inducing psychoactive effects, similar to THC. They are also both legally made from hemp material, making them legal and accessible across the nation. 

For more info, you may want to read “Where is THC-O Legal?

THC-O vs HHC: A Look at the Differences


HHC is approximately 70-80% as potent as traditional THC (Delta-9-THC). This places HHC in a middle ground between the mild effects of Delta-8-THC and the stronger effects of traditional Delta-9.

THC-O, on the other hand, is around 3 times more potent than traditional THC. 


HHC induces a range of therapeutic effects, usually described as relaxing and sedating. Compared to traditional THC, HHC is milder, making it less likely to induce negative side effects such as anxiety and paranoia.

THC-O is much more potent and brings on uplifting, energizing effects. It’s thought to provide a heady, creative high. Because it is much more potent, it may be slightly more likely to induce side effects in inexperienced consumers. Some people prefer to pair THC-O with Delta-8, a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid, to balance it’s effects. 

You may want to read the following to learn more about the beenefits, risks, and side effects of these cannabinoids:


Both THC-O and HHC fall under the definition of legal hemp products outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, making it legal at the federal level. However, its legality may vary at the state level, with some states explicitly banning psychoactive hemp products. 

Despite this, HHC often evades state laws, which primarily focus on "hemp-derived THC products," due to its distinct chemical structure.

Drug Testing

One appealing aspect of HHC is its potential to bypass triggering a positive drug test, unlike THC. It’s thought that HHC does not produce the specific THC metabolites that are evaluated during a drug screening. However, research on HCC is limited and this claim is mostly based on anecdotal reports. 

THC-O, however, does produce THC metabolites and will show up on a drug test similarly to Delta-9-THC. 

Read “Does THC-O Show Up on a Drug Test?” and “Does HHC Show Up on a Drug Test?” to learn more. 


Both HHC and THC-O are more accessible than traditional Delta-9-THC products as they can be purchased online and shipped directly to consumers. However, the variety of HHC products may be limited compared to THC-O products, given its relatively new introduction to the market. The demand for THC-O is slightly higher, meaning there are more products available. 


A manufacturing tech fills a THC-O vaporizer with THC-O concentrate.

HHC is synthesized through a hydrogenation process, transforming THC by breaking down its double bonds and replacing them with hydrogen molecules. This differs from THC-O, which is made thorough isomerization, a process that rearranges the Delta-8 molecule to create other THC isomers. 

Still, both are covered by the umbrella definition used to legalize hemp and hemp products, so both are legal by federal standards and are NOT classified as synthetic cannabinoids. 

Read “How is THC-O Made?” To learn more. 


Currently, there's no evidence suggesting that either THC-O or HHC are unsafe. HHC’s slightly lesser potency compared to traditional THC could make it a safer option in terms of the potential for overuse. THC-O may be more likely ot lead to side effects linked to overconsumption. 

Research regarding the safety of hemp THC isomers, particularly in the context of long-term use, is limited. Like other hemp-derived cannabinoids, it is advisable to use THC products responsibly and in moderation.

To ensure safety, choose reliable manufacturers who provide third-party lab test reports, verifying product quality and purity.


The average dosage of HHC is comparable to that of THC, typically around 10-20 milligrams. THC-O, being much more potent, is often consumed in smaller doses, around 5-10 millgrams. Individual dosage requirements may vary based on factors like tolerance, body weight, and desired effects. It's advisable to start with small doses and adjust based on personal experiences.


Comparing prices between HHC and THC-O is challenging due to the variability in THC product prices dictated by the state market. Both THC-O and HHC products are generally competitively priced and often more affordable than high-THC cannabis products available in dispensaries. The online accessibility of hemp THC products also facilitates price comparison and ensures consumers get quality products at reasonable prices.

Vida Optima THC-O Vape

Where to Buy HHC vs THC-O

HHC is federally legal and accessible in many U.S. states due to its hemp source. However, it may still be relatively harder to find compared to THC-O and other hemp derivatives. Prioritize sourcing from reputable hemp manufacturers that provide third-party lab tests for quality assurance.

For reliable, high-quality hemp THC products, check out our Elev8 (Delta-8-THC) and Cloud9 (Delta-9-THC) Collections

All Vida Optima products are 100% Farm Bill compliant and made from high-quality, pesticide-free hemp material. Try our Delta-9 gummies, sublingual Delta-8 edibles, and THC-O vapes for a smooth and steady lift into space.

Frequently Asked Questions

How strong is HHC?

HHC is about 75% as potent as Delta-9-THC, offering deep euphoria and purportedly more relaxing and sedating effects.

Is Delta-9 stronger than HHC?

Yes, Delta-9 is slightly stronger than HHC, although the dosage threshold for both is similar.

How strong is THC-O?

THC-O is nearly three times more potent than traditional Delta-9-THC.

Is HHC better than THC?

HHC may last longer on the shelf and has more stable legal parameters than THC products. Current evidence does not suggest that HHC  is less safe than traditional THC.

Is HHC illegal?

HHC is fully federally legal and is legal in most states, including some states that have banned hemp-derived THC. Its distinction from THC often places it in a different legal category.

Is THC-O Legal?

THC-O is federally legal when derived from hemp. State laws vary.

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