HXC vs THC: Effects, Legality, and Benefits Explained

by Team Content April 24, 2024 7 min read

HXC vs THC: Effects, Legality, and Benefits Explained - Vida Optima™

Among the most well-known compounds derived from cannabis are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), but a new cannabinoid called hexahydrocannabinol (HXC) has recently emerged. Its mysterious formulation and alleged similarities to traditional THC have sparked interest and raised questions about how the two compare. 

So, we're here to weigh in on a common question–how do HXC vs THC stack up in terms of effects, legality, and potential benefits? We’ll start with some basics like “What is HXC?” and then we’ll dig a bit deeper into the details you need before you can safely consume this hemp cannabinoid treasure. 

Let's jump in:

Table of Contents
What is HXC??
HXC vs THC: Comparing Crucial Details
Compound Structure
Extraction Process
Risks and Benefits

HXC vs THC: Key Takeaways

  • Origins: HXC (hexahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid synthesized from CBD, often derived from hemp. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is primarily extracted from traditional cannabis plants.
  • Effects and Potency: Both HXC and THC are psychoactive, but HXC is generally less potent, providing a milder high. THC's effects are typically stronger, ranging from euphoric to relaxing.
  • Legality:THC is federally controlled in the U.S., though many states have legalized it for medical or recreational use. HXC's legal status is unclear due to its semi-synthetic nature, creating ambiguity in some regions.
  • Benefits and Risks:THC is known for benefits like pain relief and appetite stimulation but carries risks like addiction and psychological effects. HXC's benefits are less documented, with less research backing its safety.

What is HXC?

HXC concentrate, a condensed and potent form of HXC that is used to make standard HXC products, like gummies.

HXC, also known as hexahydrocannabinol, is a cannabinoid that naturally occurs in cannabis but in very low concentrations. To make it commercially viable, HXC is usually synthesized from CBD, often extracted from hemp. This process places HXC in a legal gray area, similar to other semi-synthetic cannabinoids like delta-8 THC.

The scientific documentation of HXC dates back to the 1940s, but it has only recently gained popularity due to its increased availability. Despite this, there's limited clinical research on HXC's effects on the human body. Early studies suggest that HXC's chemical structure is similar to THC, indicating that it might interact with the endocannabinoid system in a comparable way. 

How is HXC Made? 

Hexahydrocannabinol (HXC) is essentially a hydrogenated form of delta-9 THC, with an extra hydrogen atom on its carbon tail. When synthesized from hemp, it's made from CBD, which is bountifully available in natural hemp material and legal to produce in mass quantities. 

CBD is hydrogenated, meaning hydrogen atoms are added, until it transforms into an HXC molecule. Because HXC is made without Delta-9-THC it is classified as a legal hemp product and isn't subject to the same strict laws that regulate high-THC cannabis products. 

Furthermore, this hydrogenation process gives HXC greater chemical stability, making it more resistant to light, heat, humidity, and oxygen, which can degrade delta-9 THC over time. As a result, HXC can maintain its potency longer, offering a durable alternative for those interested in stable cannabinoid options.

Does HXC Get You High?

Yes, HXC has psychoactive effects that will get you high, just like THC. Thanks to its similar molecular structure, it has many of the same effects as THC, with similar benefits and drawbacks. 

Let's really dig into the difference between the two with a side-by-side comparison:

A THC pre roll, flower nugs, and THC infused edibles to show examples of different ways that THC can be used

HXC vs THC: Comparing Crucial Details

Let's examine HXC vs THC across a few key areas:


HXC is generally less potent than THC, but the difference is miniscule. Although HXC has a similar structure to Delta-9 THC, its additional hydrogen atom may influence its psychoactive effects, creating a unique euphoric experience that's slightly milder, but still potent and therapeutically significant. 

Unfortunately, research has not yet been able to quantify the difference in HXC vs THC potency.


The effects of HXC vs THC can vary based on individual tolerance and dosage. 

THC is well-known for its strong psychoactive effects, typically providing a robust high that can range from euphoric to relaxing, depending on the strain and user. 

HXC, on the other hand, tends to offer a more subdued experience, often described as calming but less intense.

In general, you should choose THC if you want a more intense psychoactive experience, while HXC may be preferable for those seeking a milder, less overpowering effect.

Compound Structure

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are cannabinoids with similar cannabinoid skeletons, both featuring a central ring and a carbon tail. The main difference is that HHC is hydrogenated, meaning it has additional hydrogen atoms that convert THC's double bonds into single bonds. 

This difference in structure has a few implications:

  • HHC is more shelf stable: HHC's additional hydrogen atoms give it greater resistance to light, heat, oxygen, and humidity, resulting in a longer shelf life compared to THC, which is more prone to degradation.
  • THC double bonds make for increased potency:  Both HHC and THC are psychoactive, but THC, particularly delta-9 THC, has double bonds that contribute to its strong psychoactive effects. HHC's altered structure might interact differently with cannabinoid receptors, potentially resulting in a milder or varied experience.

Overall, HHC's hydrogenated structure leads to increased stability, while THC's double bonds contribute to its potent psychoactive effects but make it more susceptible to environmental factors.

Extraction Process

HXC is typically made from legal hemp, while Delta-9-THC is usually naturally derived from traditional cannabis material (although hemp-derived Delta-9 is growing in popularity). That means that the extraction and manufacturing processes differ.

Here's a run down (though there are many variations to the cannabinoid manufacturing process):


HXC is created through hydrogenation, where hydrogen atoms are added to the THC molecule, or (when made from hemp) the CBD molecule. 

Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how HXC is made:

  • CBD is extracted from hemp using one of several common extraction methods such as CO2 extraction or solvent-based extraction.
  • Extracted CBD is converted into delta-8 THC through isomerization, a process that involves rearranging the atoms in the CBD molecule to create delta-8 THC.
  • Hydrogen atoms are added to delta-8 THC to create Hexahydrocannabinol (HXC). This hydrogenation process saturates the double bonds in the carbon tail, transforming them into single bonds, resulting in HXC.
  • The resulting HXC is purified to remove any residual chemicals, catalysts, or impurities.
  • The final product is tested to ensure it meets quality and safety standards.


Traditional Delta-9-THC can be extracted directly from the flowering buds of traditional cannabis plants (or, more commonly, the flowers can be dried and smoked to reap the effects of THC). This process involves more traditional extraction methods like CO2 extraction or solvent-based extraction, which isolate cannabinoids from the plant material.

Here's what that may look like:

  • High-quality cannabis plants with high THC content are selected for extraction.
  • THC is extracted from the cannabis plant using methods such as butane hash oil (BHO), supercritical CO2 extraction, or ethanol extraction. These methods isolate THC from other plant materials.
  • The extracted concentrate may undergo winterization, a process that involves using cold temperatures and solvents (like ethanol) to remove lipids, waxes, and other impurities. This step results in a purer THC concentrate.
  • The concentrate is further purified to ensure that no residual solvents, plant material, or impurities remain. This may include additional filtration and distillation steps.
  • The purified concentrate is tested for THC potency and other cannabinoids to ensure consistency and quality.

Risks and Benefits

THC has a well-established profile of potential risks and benefits. Its benefits include pain relief, appetite stimulation, and relief from symptoms such as nausea and insomnia. However, it also carries risks, such as the potential for addiction, psychological effects, and long-term cognitive issues, especially with heavy use.

The benefits of HXC are less well-documented, but early reports suggest that it may share some of THC's therapeutic properties, albeit with less intensity. Given the limited research, there's a higher degree of uncertainty around HXC's safety profile. 

Additionally, because HXC products are less regulated, there's a risk of contamination or inconsistency in product quality. It's important to always choose hemp products that are Farm Bill compliant and third-party safety tested.

Legality and Availability

The legal status of THC and HXC varies widely depending on the region

THC is a controlled substance under federal law in the United States, but many states have legalized it for medicinal or recreational use. This creates a complex legal landscape where THC products are widely available in some areas but strictly controlled in others.

HXC's legality is less clear. Since it's derived from CBD, which is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill if it contains less than 0.3% THC, HXC may be considered legal in some jurisdictions. However, its semi-synthetic nature and similarity to delta-8 THC mean that its legal status is still uncertain. This ambiguity can affect its availability and accessibility, with some regions allowing its sale while others do not.

To learn more about HXC legality, it may help to understand the details of legality surrounding similar hemp derivatives, like Delta-8. Read “Where is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8 Laws” to learn more. 


The emergence of HXC adds an intriguing dimension to the evolving cannabis landscape. While THC remains the most recognized cannabinoid with a well-established profile of effects, HXC's recent popularity hints at untapped potential. However, due to the limited research on HXC and its unclear legal status, consumers should approach it with caution.

Both THC and HXC offer potential benefits, but they also carry risks. As with any cannabinoid, it's essential to stay informed and consult with healthcare professionals when considering their use, especially in a medical context. As cannabis research continues to expand, we can expect a better understanding of these compounds and their potential applications in the future.

Looking for potent hemp THC products?

The Vida Optima Elev8 Collection delivers premium hemp-derived THC to give you the lift you need. Experience safe, high-quality blends that elevate your energy and optimize your life.

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