What is HHC really?
What is HHC really?

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC)

HHC is a phytocannabinoid which occurs naturally in the cannabis sativa plant in trace amounts, and has intoxicating effects similar to THC. It does not appear in international narcotics legislation however (and rarely in national legislation, if ever), because it was not sold commercially until several years ago, when it first hit US markets. HHC is often referred to as a synthetic or semi-synthetic cannabinoid, because to reach any commercially relevant quantity of HHC requires chemical processing - i.e. it is not possible to just extract it and isolate it from the plant in the same way as it is done with CBD and THC. It is possible, however, to take CBD or THC and convert it into HHC via a relatively simple chemical process. Virtually all of the HHC in European markets was created by producers in the USA in this manner, using CBD as the starting material. HHC has been a feature of the cannabis industry in some states in the USA for a number of years.

CBD is preferred over THC as a starting material by US producers because of a legal loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill - that a cannabinoid can be legal if it:

1. Naturally occurs in hemp

2. Is not made from ‘non-cannabis materials’

3. Contains under 0.3% THC

Since HHC does naturally occur in hemp, is technically made from ‘cannabis materials’, and does not contain THC, HHC made in this way seems to be technically legal under this bill. However, it is difficult to prove the origin of HHC, so precisely what starting materials are used for any given HHC product is difficult to know.

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