What Is HHC vs Delta-8: The Differences You Shouldn't Ignore

by Kat Austin April 18, 2024 8 min read

What Is HHC vs Delta-8: The Differences You Shouldn't Ignore - Vida Optima™

Currently, Delta-8 is holding the hemp market spotlight while HHC remains somewhat of an enigma–but not for long. HHC's promising legal atmosphere and potent effects may give it an advantage over many of the hemp products on the market today.

Still, HHC is poorly understood, mostly because it has a totally unique configuration and is made using very different manufacturing techniques, making it a bit more difficult for consumers to grasp what it is, how it's used, and what effects it may have on the body.

We won't keep you in the dark. Let's break down the basics about HHC vs Delta-8 and the differences between the two that you need to know before you try it for yourself. 

Key Takeaways

  • HHC is a hemp-derived cannabinoid with psychoactive effects similar to THC.
  • HHC is slightly more potent than Delta-8. 
  • Many reports suggest that it may have increased therapeutic benefits for promoting relaxation.
  • HHC is commonly found in vape form, but its popularity (and accessibility) is expected to grow as we learn more about it.
  • Because HHC is federally legal, it’s easy to find and buy online.

Quick Breakdown: HHC vs Delta-8

HHC and Delta-8 have many similarities. Their differences are where you need to pay close attention. The differences between Delta-8 vs HHC are substantial, affecting everything from their legality, effects, dosing methods, accessibility, and more. 

We’ll thoroughly cover all of the HHC details you need down below, but here’s a quick look at how Delta-8 and HHC stack up:





Federally legal & legal in most states

Federally legal and not subject to regular THC laws, so legal in nearly all states.


About half as potent as traditional THC products. Less potent than HHC.

HHC is more potent–about 20-30% stronger than Delta-8-THC.


Mildly relaxing but not usually sedating

More sedating than Delta-8 with increased body euphoria


Widely accessible

Limited accessibility due to being newer than Delta-8

Dosing Methods

Wide variety of traditional and non-traditional dosing methods

Mostly available as vapes and edibles for now. 


10-15 mg for beginners; Up to 50 mg for experienced consumers

5-10 mg for beginners; 20-30 mg for experienced consumers


First, What is HHC?

HHC, chemically known as “11-Hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol” or just “hexahydrocannabinol” is a hydrogenated THC analog that was discovered in the 1940’s by renowned cannabis researcher Roger Adams–the same American chemist who isolated CBD.

Although it takes a form similar to THC, it also includes a hydrogen atom, so it’s not technically classified as a THC molecule. It is, however, a naturally occurring cannabinoid, although it’s usually found only in natural cannabis material in trace amounts.

Luckily, it can be 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.

Read "HHC vs THC" to learn more. 

Is HHC similar to Delta-8?

Yes, HHC is chemically similar to both Delta-8, though it has a few key differences that give it its own unique therapeutic profile.

In general, HHC differs from THC molecules because it lacks double bonds.

During the hydrogenation process, its double bonds are broken down and replaced with hydrogen molecules. Although understanding these hydrogen bonds can be pretty complex, the most important thing to know is that HHC may have a slightly different affinity for both the CB1 and CB2 receptors than any THC product, including Delta-8.

In general,HHC is thought to be about 20-30% stronger than Delta-8-THC (or about 70-80% as strong as Delta-9-THC).

Will HHC get me higher than Delta-8?

Yep! We mentioned that HHC was a bit more potent than Delta-8, and it does have significant psychoactive effects worth noting.

Although it interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors in a manner that’s similar to most THC molecules, it has it’s own range of therapeutic effects that are usually described as being more relaxing and sedating than Delta-8.

Actually, when it’s all said and done, HHC may have several benefits compared to more traditional THC dosing methods. Let’s take a look:

Benefits of HHC vs Delta-8

The way that HHC is made poses several significant advantages compared to traditional THC products, and even to the many hemp-derived THC products that are currently populating the cannabis market.

First, HHC is not technically a THC product, so it’s not restricted at the federal level. It’s also not always subject to the umbrella of laws created by states to try to inhibit the sale of Delta-8 made from hemp. In other words, HHC may be legal on a more stable basis, and in more areas, including many where hemp-derived THC may be prohibited.

Its molecular structure also makes it more shelf-stable than traditional THC products, so many experts believe it may have increased potential for medical applications. Some anecdotal reports suggest that it doesn’t stimulate the appetite in the same manner as THC, so it may be able to provide therapeutic benefits without increased hunger.

To recap, some of the benefits to HHC over Delta-8 (and traditional THC products) may include:

  • Balanced psychoactive effects/potency
  • Increased potential for relaxation or sedative effects
  • Longer shelf life (5+ years)
  • Increased potential for medicinal applications (pending future research)
  • Less potential to incite paranoia or anxiety
  • More stable legal atmosphere

HHC vs Delta-8: How Long Does a High Last?

Before you can determine if the benefits of HHC really weigh out, you’re probably wondering–how long will the effects of HHC last? And how does the duration of HHC’s effects compare to Delta-8’s?

In general, the time frame for HHC’s effects and Delta-8’s effects are similar. The effects of both HHC and Delta-8-THC can last 2-6 hours. 

The actual duration of effects for either cannabinoid is dependent on the dosing style used. For instance, inhalation methods may have shorter-lived effects than edibles.

Hemp flower and HHC concentrate made from raw hemp material

Safety: Are HHC and Delta-8 Both Safe?

For now, research regarding the safety of hemp-derived cannabinoids is limited, especially regarding long term use. 

That said, many experts believe that the risk and benefit profile of both HHC and Delta-8 are similar to that of traditional THC. In other words, both HHC and Delta-8 may be safe when used responsibly and in moderation.

The most significant risks come from purchasing low-quality, contaminated products. Because regulations are inconsistent from state to state, it’s crucial for consumers to do their due diligence when shopping for HHC, Delta-8, or other hemp products.

A Note About HHC & Delta-8 Quality

When shopping for hemp-derived HHC or Delta-8, look for a company that uses clean, high-quality hemp material and safe manufacturing procedures. A trustworthy hemp manufacturer will always provide third-party lab test reports for their products, and you can use those tests to verify the absence of pesticides, mold, and other contaminants and to verify the potency as presented on the product label.

Is HHC Legal? What About Delta-8?

For now, HHC and Delta-8 often exist in a legal gray area. Generally speaking, both HHC and Delta-8 are federally legal under the umbrella of federal hemp laws. In other words, they both exist as a THC analog that contains less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC, meaning they both match the definition used to legalize hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill.

The text defines hemp as as “Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers…with no more than a 0.3 percent concentration of THC.”

Of course, hemp derivatives are still subject to state laws and may be illegal on a state level in some areas. You can read “Is Delta-8 Legal?” to learn more about Delta-8’s legal status in every state. 

HHC’s state-by-state legality is a bit trickier to decipher:

HHC May Be Legal Even Where Delta-8 is Not

That’s right! Although it’s more difficult to find state laws that specifically reference HHC, its legal environment is not usually as harsh. That’s because HHC products aren’t technically THC products, and therefore are unaffected by laws that focus on THC. 

Many state laws designed to regulate Delta-8, Delta-10, Delta-11, and other psychoactive hemp derivatives use the term “hemp-derived THC” or similar terminology. Since HHC does not fall in this category, it may be legal even in many states where Delta-8 is not. 

Read "Will HHC Show Up On a Drug Test?" to learn more about how HHC differs from THC products. 

How are HHC and Delta-8 Used? 

Delta-8 has become a very common and accessible addition to the modern hemp market, and you can find a wide variety of product styles. Delta-8 products include all of the traditional dosing styles–tinctures, edibles, capsules, vapes–as well as some unique products, like Delta-8-infused drinks, sublingual edibles, concentrates, and more. 

Like Delta-8, HHC poses unlimited potential for different dosing forms, but it’s still very new to the market. For now, the most common way that you’ll find HHC is in vape form, but there are some other forms available as well. Here are the most common ways that HHC is used:

HHC Vapes

HHC vaporizers are an instant delivery method, which means the effects should begin to creep on only minutes after each dose. You should feel the full effects of your dose after approximately 20 minutes. This also offers the benefits of stackable doses, meaning you can slowly stack on small doses until you reach your desired level of lift.

HHC Edibles and Tinctures

HHC edibles are less common, but may become a more popular dosing method in the future because of their extended shelf life.

Jus like all hemp edibles, some (like cookies and other infused foods) are designed to be processed by digestion, while others are designed to dissolve slowly in the mouth for sublingual absorption. Digested edibles may take over an hour to kick in, while sublingual edibles (including tinctures) could take effect in around 30 minutes.

Where to Buy HHC vs Delta-8

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. 

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

For now, HHC may be more difficult to find than Delta-8 or other hemp derivatives, but both hemp cannabinoids are available online (and in stores in states where they are legal).

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. OurHHC vapes offer a potent dose of HHC coupled with strain-specific terpenes to offer a sativa-fueled boost, indica-heavy euphoria, or balanced hybrid lift. 

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-8 stronger than HHC?

No, Delta-8 is a bit less potent than HHC, making it a good starting point for new THC consumers. In general, the difference is minimal and the actual effects you will experience from either cannabinoid are dose-dependent. 

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. 

Is HHC more sativa or Indica?

HHC, primarily derived from hemp, doesn't fit neatly into the Indica vs. Sativa categorization typically associated with marijuana strains. However, its effects tend to lean towards the relaxing and calming experience often associated with Indica strains.

Is HHC sedating?

HHC is known to produce a high similar to delta-9 THC, but it also possesses sedating and relaxing properties similar to delta-8 THC, which is nearly identical to delta-9.

Is HHC or delta-8 better for sleep?

Delta-8 THC is more commonly available on the market and is known to be half as potent as delta-9 THC. HHC falls somewhere in between the potency of delta-8 and delta-9 THC. Many people prefer delta-8 THC for nighttime use and relaxation due to its milder effects.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Cannabis Encyclopedia

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

by Team Content April 24, 2024 7 min read

HXC may fill THC's shoes better than most THC alternatives. Here's why:
Read More
THCO vs THCP: Detailed Comparison Guide - Vida Optima™
THCO vs THCP: Detailed Comparison Guide

by Kat Austin March 28, 2024 6 min read

Slight differences between these two cannabinoids produce very unique effects.
Read More
HHC vs Delta 8: Key Differences Explained - Vida Optima™
HHC vs Delta 8: Key Differences Explained

by Kat Austin March 20, 2024 6 min read

Everything you need to choose between the two:
Read More