As earlier stated, although HHC is a hemp-derived cannabinoid, it occurs in trace amounts. Therefore, extracting it directly from hemp plants using typical techniques employed to extract most cannabinoids is impractical.
Consequently, hydrogenation is the standard HHC production method manufacturers use to derive HHC extract from the cannabis plant and convert it to premium HHC distillate. Hydrogenation is a chemistry reduction reaction between hydrogen and the molecules of a second compound in the presence of a catalyst.
The second compound loses atoms during hydrogenation and replaces them with hydrogen atoms, forming a new hydrogenated molecule. Therefore, the newly-formed molecules have a different chemical structure and physical properties, including enhanced stability and resistance to deterioration.
Industrial hydrogenation reactions to retrieve HHC from the cannabis plant entailed adding hydrogen molecules to delta-9 THC. However, delta-9 THC is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, and any products derived from it are illegal under the Federal Analogue Act.
Therefore, using THC in hydrogenation would limit the legal market for HHC products since THC and its analog derivatives are only permitted in 19 US states. Hence, HHC manufacturers use CBD, a hemp-derived cannabinoid, as a THC alternative in the hydrogenation process because CBD is federally legal.
Although hydrogenation is the industry standard for retrieving HHC extract from hemp, other techniques are available. These techniques include using artificial gastric juice rather than hydrogen to convert CBD to other cannabinoid products, including THC and HHC.
Second, it is also possible to conduct a hydrogenation reaction on cannabis-derived terpenes like citronellol in the presence of a catalyst and convert the terpene into HHC molecules. However, limited information on artificial gastric juice and terpene hydrogenation HHC extraction methods is available.
Is HHC As Safe As We Think?
“Is HHC safe?” is among the most prevalent queries on the hemp-derived cannabinoid. So, is HHC? Like with most cannabinoids, the answer to that question depends on multiple factors.
HHC is a new product in the hemp market, and most research on its effects is anecdotal or borrows from the effects of other psychoactive hemp-derived cannabinoids. Therefore, it is currently insufficient research to categorically assess its long-term effects. Nonetheless, below are a few considerations when weighing HHC’s safety.
First, Although HHC is among the legal cannabinoid products in the hemp market, there is no standard recommended HHC dose. The Food and Drug Agency does not recommend HHC for therapeutic or adult-use consumption. According to the FDA, HHC is a dietary supplement; the FDA does not regulate the number of active ingredients in nutritional supplements.
HHC and delta-9 THC share some chemical properties, including psychoactive properties. Although HHC has milder psychoactive properties than delta-9 THC, both compounds are biphasic, exerting a pleasant HHC high at low doses and undesirable side effects at higher doses.
Therefore, HHC’s safety depends on how much HHC distillate is in a product. Thus, the safest way to consume an HHC product for a pleasant but safe HHC high is to start with a low dose and adjust the dose gradually according to your previous experience.
Second, the FDA’s hands-off approach in regulating the cannabis industry means that not every HHC Kaufen vape pen, vape cart, or disposable vape is high-quality. Trustworthy brands like Astro Eight submit their HHC extract and all consumable products like an HHC cart, disposable vape pens, HHC gummies, and sour candy to government-certified labs for independent lab testing.
An independent lab test examines an HHC product to ensure it is free of contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, herbicides, and mold. Second, the lab test examines the HHC extract quality and potency to help you avoid purchasing overwhelming or underwhelming products.
Some lab tests examine the HHC vape pen or cartridge’s vape battery to ensure they meet the advertised capacity. Therefore, only purchase lab-tested HHC vapes and HHC gummies to avoid consuming impure, potentially toxic products.
Third, brand reputation matters when purchasing safe HHC due to the unregulated nature of the cannabis industry. Astro Eight attaches a certificate of analysis (COA) to all their lab-tested products. Therefore avoid brands that claim to sell lab-tested products but have no certificate of research attached to them.
On the one hand, no research categorically states whether HHC induces toxicity and its long-term effects. However, there are also no reports of adverse consumer effects associated with HHC consumption.