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What is HHCH, how is it produced, what are its effects and risks? What is the product range?

What is HHCH compound and how is it produced?

HHCH, or hexahydrocannabihexol, is a semi-synthetic derivative of a cannabinoid not found naturally in the cannabis plant. It was first synthesised by Roger Adams in 1942 and in his scientific study he states that hexahydrocannabidihexol is more potent than the pentyl and heptyl homologue or unsaturated analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, delta-9-THC). 

The HHCH compound is principally produced in laboratories, using a process called hydrogenation of the THCH distillate and converting it to HHCH

The hydrogenation process means that scientists add hydrogen to the molecular structure of the substance. This is usually done by adding hydrogen atoms to the double or triple bonds in hydrocarbons. This creates saturated bonds that replace the double or triple bonds with single bonds. This can affect the properties of the substance, such as stability or reactivity.

HHCH takes the form of a thick oil with a high viscosity. It becomes more malleable when slightly heated, and undergoes colour changes on oxidation without compromising efficacy or undergoing any chemical changes. It is recommended to store the distillate at room temperature, preferably in argon (an inert gas) jars to prevent degradation.

Chemical structure

The molecular formula of HHCH is C22H34O2. Like other hydrocarbon compounds (H4CBD, HHC) it consists of 2 different stereoisomers, viz:

  • 9(R)-HHCH, also 9(R)-hexahydrocanabihexol9β-hexahydrocanabihexol, 9β-HHCH
  • 9(S)-HHCH, also (9(S)-hexahydrocannabishexol (9α-hexahydrocannabishexol, 9α-HHCH

The isomer (9R) has a high affinity for CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and therefore has a psychoactive effect, whereas 9(S) carries the label of an inactive component, as evidenced by a 2023 study examining the cannabinoid HHC.

This study states that 9(R) binds more efficiently to CB1 receptors (in the nervous system, in the brain) and CB2 receptors (in the immune system, digestive tract and other organs) and that the activity of the 9(R) isomer is almost identical to that of THC, while 9(S) binds strongly in cannabinoid receptor studies but shows reduced activity in functional tests

The ratio of these isomers affects the potency and strength of the product. In practice, the 9(R) molecule, or a 1:1 ratio, is more often the dominant molecule in products.


Small bottles with thick HHCH oil


At the moment, there is a lack of research that has investigated in detail the effects of HHCH and its interaction with ECS.

Initial information suggests that HHCH binds more effectively to CB1 receptors, and also interacts with CB2 receptors. HHCH can be expected to have psychoactive effects similar to delta-9-THC. The effects appear to be milder than those of HHCP, but last longer compared to HHC. The effects of HHCH can persist for 2-8 hours, so it is essential to inform customers to take it in moderation and under no circumstances to drive or operate any machinery after taking it.

Some believe that it is roughly 10-15 times stronger than delta-9-THC and that the effects are slightly more intense than THCH. And since even Roger Adams, in the aforementioned 1942 study, suggested that hexahydrocannabihexol is more potent than the pentyl and heptyl homologue or unsaturated analogue of THC, the implication is that it exerts a more pronounced psychoactive effect on the body.

Like other psychoactive cannabinoids, it can affect perception, inducing feelings of euphoria or relaxation.

The intensity of these effects will depend on several factors, including health, age, body proportions, metabolism, tolerance and experience of the user, as well as the dose, the method of consumption and the composition of the product, or the ratio of 9(R) to 9(S) molecules.

Side effects and other possible risks

In general, (semi)synthetic compounds can be significantly more potent than natural cannabinoids, increasing the potential risk of overdose and intoxication. In general, the risks of using synthetic cannabinoids may include negative psychological effects such as panic, paranoia, anxiety and hallucinations.

Other possible side effects include:

  • Redness of the eyes.
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Headache

There is a lack of research at the moment, so it is possible that other as yet undetected side effects may occur. Again, the intensity of these effects will depend on several factors (health and metabolism of the user, dose, method of consumption and composition of the product, etc.).

Another risk is that (semi)synthetic cannabinoids often cannot be documented for their safety and purity, and some synthetically produced products have unknown substances (unnatural isomers, residual solvents and other unidentified compounds), making them potentially dangerous for human consumption

Laboratory analysis

To provide your customers with the assurance that your products are free of undesirable substances, it is essential to have an analysis by an independent laboratory. This will reveal, among other things, the true cannabinoid content of the product

Have the goods you want to offer tested by an independent third party, even if the manufacturer provides you with a laboratory analysis. After all, 'trust but verify', and this is doubly true in the case of (semi-)synthetic cannabinoids. 


Sign showing microscope and text certified by laboratory


HHCH is legal under the US Farm Bill. However, its psychoactive properties are likely to put it in a legal grey area or it may face restrictions or even prohibition in some countries. 

In Colorado, USA, for example, it has been labelled a 'narcotic cannabinoid' and a licence is required to produce or distribute it. 

In Japan, on 2 December 2023, the compound was placed on the list of banned substances and its possession, use and distribution banned. On 27 December 2023, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced that it was classifying HHCH, along with certain other (semi)synthetic cannabinoids, as a 'hazardous substance' with effect from 6 January 2024.

Product range

In our e-shop we have prepared HHCH vape pens and replacement cartridges that combine HHCH and CBD distillate and natural terpenes, with 0% THC content. We also carry HHCH flowers in popular cannabis strains like Zkittles and Green Crack. These are technical cannabis flowers infused with HHCH distillate that contain less than 0.1% THC and 3% CBD. The range also includes hash and distillate.


The HHCH compound does not occur naturally in cannabis, but is a semi-synthetic derivative of a cannabinoid which is produced by hydrogenation of THCH distillate and its transformation into HHCH.

It is thought to have psychoactive effects similar to delta-9-THC, the effects are milder than those of HHCP but longer lasting compared to HHC. The effects are influenced by the ratio of 9(R) to 9(S) isomers in the product

And as it is a synthetic cannabinoid with a stronger psychoactive effect, it is appropriate to state that it is only suitable for experienced users. Therefore, advise your customers to approach HHCH with caution and consider all risks before purchasing. There are currently no scientific studies that have evaluated the safety of this compound

In addition to HHCH, other (semi)synthetic cannabinoids include HHC, THCB, THCH, THCJD, THCO, THCP and others. In general, (semi)synthetic compounds are considerably more potent than natural cannabinoids, increasing the potential risk of overdose and intoxication. Remember this and inform your customers as well. 

HHCH vape pens and cartridges, flowers, hash and distillate can currently be purchased. Be sure to verify that the products you offer have been tested by an independent third party, or arrange for lab testing yourself, before you put the products on the e-store.

Finally, here are some other articles that may be of interest to you in relation to the new cannabinoids:


Original text: Patricie Mikolášová, translation by AI



Photo: Shutterstock

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