HHC vs THC: How similar are these active ingredients really?

The hype surrounding HHC doesn't seem to be going away. This cannabinoid is praised by many as a legal alternative to THC and is also enjoying growing popularity in Germany. But is HHC worth all the fuss? In this post we will address this and answer the following questions:

  • What is HHC?
  • What is THC?
  • How does HHC work?
  • Does HHC make you addicted?
  • How does THC work?
  • Does THC make you addicted?
  • Is HHC legal?
  • Is THC legal?
  • Conclusion

Was ist Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC)?

The history of HHC begins in 1940 when the American chemist Roger Adams decided to mix THC with hydrogen. The result is a cannabinoid with psychoactive effects that is more stable than THC and can therefore be stored for longer.

The big disadvantage of HHC is that cannabis plants produce it in very small quantities, regardless of the strain . Accordingly, HHC is largely produced synthetically . In most cases, HHC flowers are nothing more than CBD flowers onto which liquid hexahydrocannabinol has been sprayed. This increases the risk of contamination.

In addition, very little is known about the effects of HHC and therefore about the risks associated with its consumption.

Was ist Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the most famous cannabinoid. It has the strongest psychoactive potency of all the active ingredients found in cannabis and is the reason cannabis has been used for thousands of years. Researchers assume that the consumption of cannabis for both ritual purposes and pleasure was already relatively widespread in China 2,500 years ago.

The evidence for the medical use of cannabis is even older . It was introduced 2,800 years ago in the pharmacopoeia of the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, who is considered the father of traditional Chinese medicine.

Today, there is an increasing number of studies that underline that THC can be helpful for pain , sleep disorders and depression , among other things. For this reason, many countries have introduced medical cannabis programs , including Germany, Italy, Uruguay, Brazil and Canada.

How does HHC work?

hhc effect

Does HHC get you high? Yes. At least that is certain. Although there is a lack of scientific studies, this question can be answered without a doubt thanks to the many reports.

The effect of HHC and THC seems to differ in principle in that the intoxicating effect of HHC is milder , as a study published in June 2023 confirms .

Accordingly, HHC can relax, temporarily brighten the mood and possibly promote sleep. The less pleasant effects include:

  • heart racing
  • Panic attacks
  • Lightheadedness
  • dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • nausea

However, a similar effect after consumption does not mean that the long-term effects are the same. While THC has been researched for a long time and is therefore somewhat aware of its advantages and disadvantages, HHC is scientifically new territory.

Does HHC make you addicted?

In order to give a clear answer to this question, more scientific studies would be needed. However , since HHC differs little from THC on a chemical level , one could assume that it has addictive potential.

How does THC work?

THC effect

The effects of THC depend on various factors, not least the THC content of the product consumed and the amount taken. The type of intake also plays a role. With a joint the effects come on more quickly than with a space cake, but they also wear off more quickly.

But the type of cannabis is not irrelevant when it comes to the effect. Cannabis sativa tends to produce a euphoric high, while indica varieties have a more relaxing effect. Ultimately, individual factors such as metabolism and getting used to the active ingredient also count.

In the short term , the side effects of THC are quite similar to those of HHC and are generally mild. However, with continuous use, THC can cause memory and attention problems. But also a lack of motivation, learning problems or “brain fog”.

The good news: Over time, the symptoms mentioned tend to disappear. To do this, you have to stop consuming THC or at least dramatically reduce it.

Does THC make you addicted?

Although the risk is significantly higher for many other substances (such as alcohol or cocaine), THC can be addictive . It is estimated that around 10% of those who consume THC develop an addiction. The following applies: the more often you take THC, the more likely you are to become addicted.

Is HHC legal?

HHC is currently still legal, or rather not banned, in Germany. This active ingredient hovers in a legal gray area . Synthetic cannabinoids are banned in Germany. Since HHC can theoretically also be extracted from hemp plants, it is considered a semi-synthetic cannabinoid .

However, the situation could soon change. On the one hand, very little is known about HHC and its effects. On the other hand, many countries – including Austria, Belgium, Denmark and the United Kingdom – have already classified HHC as illegal.

Is THC legal?

This will soon be the case in Germany. According to the draft law, you will be able to grow up to three plants and purchase up to 50 grams of cannabis per month .

It is currently unclear when exactly legalization should take place. It depends on how quickly the law is passed through the Bundestag. However, the Minister of Health expects it to happen this year.


Both THC and HHC produce a high . According to user experience, the effects are comparable, but are stronger with THC.

The biggest advantage of THC is probably that it is, in principle, possible to purchase or grow pure THC flowers and thus avoid any chemical additives. HHC, on the other hand, is produced synthetically .

It should be noted that THC is still illegal in Germany, while the distribution and consumption of HHC is currently permitted.

Regardless of the legal situation, the consumption of both substances carries a certain risk. However, when it comes to THC, there is enough scientifically based information to, in principle, make an informed decision. This is not the case with HHC.

If you don't mind the risk of addiction and side effects and still want to enjoy high-quality hemp , you can choose CBD flowers . On the one hand, cannabidiol (CBD) is considered to have few side effects . On the other hand, it is not addictive , as the World Health Organization confirms.

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