HHC and CBD in comparison

While CBD has enjoyed great popularity for about a decade now and more and more studies are exploring its beneficial properties, HHC is still a blank spot. And that with regard to both the effect and the legal situation .

In this post we will take a closer look at both cannabinoids, compare them with each other and finally make a recommendation.

Table of contents:

  • An overview of HHC
  • An overview of CBD
  • HHC: effects and side effects
  • CBD: effects and side effects
  • Is CBD legal in Germany?
  • Is HHC legal in Germany?
  • What is the difference between CBD and HHC?
  • Conclusion

An overview of HHC

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is one of the so-called semi-synthetic cannabinoids and is a derivative of THC. Accordingly, it is accompanied by a psychoactive effect that is not dissimilar to that of THC.

HHC was discovered in 1940; or rather created. Its inventor, the American chemist Roger Adams, synthesized it by mixing hydrogen and delta-THC together.

HHC can theoretically be extracted from pollen and seeds. However, since the hemp plant produces it in very small quantities, the process is lengthy and not worth it. In practice, you are basically dealing with synthetically produced HHC . This may be the reason why this active ingredient has been ignored for a long time.

Although HHC has been known for more than eighty years, its effects have hardly been researched . There is still a lot of uncertainty, especially with regard to the long-term consequences that regular intake of HHC could have.

An overview of CBD

Again, we have Roger Adams to be grateful for. He has made a huge contribution to research into the therapeutic potential of cannabis , which he is also said to have enjoyed consuming, which has caused him some headaches despite his outstanding scientific work.

Adams described cannabidiol (CBD) in 1940 and first extracted it in 1942 using a method he developed himself. Its effects and modes of action have not been fully researched. However, there is no denying that a growing number of studies are providing new evidence about the beneficial properties of CBD. These range from reducing blood pressure and relieving rheumatic pain to reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality.

Additionally, unlike THC and HHC, CBD is not a psychoactive substance, making it an undoubtedly safe option.

CBD is also a natural cannabinoid that is found in high quantities in certain cannabis strains. As long as no chemical additives are used in the cultivation and further processing of the hemp, CBD is a 100 percent natural product .

HHC: effects and side effects

hhc flowers

One thing in advance: HHC is intoxicating . Although its effect can be compared to that of THC, it is generally said to be milder.

From the few studies on the effects of HHC and the reports of those who take it, it can be seen that the consumption of HHC can be associated with the following effects:

  • Physical relaxation
  • High pulse
  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Food cravings
  • Soothing various pains
  • Hilarity and fits of laughter
  • Panic attacks

Due to its structural similarity to THC, it is also suspected that HHC could have similar therapeutic effects. However, there still seems to be a long way to go before we can make scientifically sound statements in this regard.

Since it is in most cases produced synthetically - HHC flowers are often CBD flowers with a low active ingredient content that are sprayed with liquid HHC - it could also contain toxic residues.

Finally, it should be noted that HHC has an addictive potential that should not be underestimated and that no scientifically based statements can be made about its safety and tolerability.

CBD: effects and side effects

cbd flowers

CBD is considered safe and well tolerated. This natural cannabinoid develops its effect through its interaction with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). This complex system, which forms a network of receptors distributed throughout the body, is responsible for a wide range of physiological functions. These include:

  • Processing emotions
  • The perception of pain
  • The sleep rhythm

By stimulating the above-mentioned receptors , cannabidiol can positively influence these processes. On the one hand, it can contribute to general well-being. On the other hand, it is believed that this active ingredient can support the body in the following cases:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • insomnia
  • migraine
  • Stress
  • PMS and period pain
  • Chronic and acute pain
  • Mood swings

When used topically, CBD can also relieve muscle pain and promote muscle recovery after exercise.

Side effects only occur in rare cases when taking CBD and can usually be attributed to a very high dosage . However, the risk of an overdose or the development of addiction with CBD can generally be ruled out.

Is CBD legal in Germany?

The short answer is yes. However, you have to take two things into account:

  1. According to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), products containing CBD may not be marketed as food.
  2. The THC content must not exceed 0.2 percent.

Is HHC legal in Germany?

HHC hovers in a legal gray area and not just in this country. In Germany, the New Psychoactive Substances Act (NpSG) prohibits the distribution and consumption of synthetic cannabinoids. However, since HHC is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid that is in principle also extracted from the hemp plant, many argue that it cannot fall under the NpSG. This is obviously debatable and one can assume that this will happen.

Legally speaking, HHC is not considered a narcotic in Germany, which may seem questionable given its effect. And that's the whole point. It seems sensible to assume that the legislator's approach could change as HHC products become more widespread. At least until the safety and tolerability of this active ingredient have not been sufficiently investigated.

What is the difference between CBD and HHC?

Despite their surprisingly similar structure, CBD and HHC can be described as antagonists . This means that they basically have opposite effects that can balance each other out if necessary.

It might therefore seem sensible to combine both active ingredients. As with THC, some users report that the combination of HHC and CBD leads to a relaxing effect and prevents possible panic attacks.

That said, HHC is a barely researched (psychoactive) active ingredient whose production, unlike CBD, is largely unregulated and therefore does not require in-depth quality controls .

The following table provides an overview of the main differences:

Chemical structure C21H32O2 C21H30O2
Intoxicating effect And No
Safe and well tolerated No And
Addictive potential And No
Legal situation Legal gray area Legal
Origin Basically synthetic Naturally
Scientifically examined No And



Due to its similarity to THC, HHC could have comparable therapeutic effects. As of 2023, research on HHC is still in its infancy and there is a lack of studies on its short-term and long-term effects. For this reason, it seems reasonable to assume that an increasing number of countries will add HHC to the list of psychoactive substances.

The situation is different with CBD. Whether as CBD flowers, CBD hash or CBD oil: Cannabidiol is considered a safe, researched and proven option to increase everyday well-being. Accordingly, CBD is not only legal , but also freely available .

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