Should you pick Delta 8 or HHC?
With so many different types of legal highs on the market these days, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s what. As the first one on the scene, Delta 8 has ruled the roost up until now, but you may have noticed HHC getting more and more shelf space over the last few months, so which should you be buying?
Today I’m going to be taking a closer look at HHC compared to Delta 8 THC, answering questions like “is HHC stronger than Delta 8?” and, ultimately, “is HHC better than Delta 8 THC?” to help you find out which one you should choose.
HHC vs THC
Like all cannabinoids, HHC and THC are made up of exactly the same elements (carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen), but it’s the way these molecules are arranged that makes each cannabinoid different.
Before we jump into the differences between HHC and THC, let’s first take a quick look at the ways in which they’re similar.
HHC vs THC: How are they similar?
Both HHC and Delta 8 THC are naturally occurring psychoactive compounds that can be found in hemp and cannabis plants, albeit in very small amounts. Because they occur in such small quantities, 99.9% of the HHC and Delta 8 that we see for sale in-store and online is produced in a lab by rearranging the atoms in hemp-derived CBD (to create Delta 8) and Delta 8 (to create HHC).
Another commonality is that both HHC and THC (all forms of HHC and THC that is) share a binding affinity for type 1 cannabinoid receptors (aka CB1 receptors) in your brain, meaning they have the ability to latch on to these receptors.
It’s this latching, or binding, that causes us to feel intoxicated when we take these compounds. So, both HHC and THC can and will make you feel high when you take them.
Other hemp cannabinoids, like CBD and CBG, don’t have this same binding ability and therefore don’t have the same ability to make us feel intoxicated.
Learn more about legal highs here
HHC vs THC: How are they different?
Delta 8, Delta 9, and Delta 10 THC are all forms of tetrahydrocannabinol as they share almost identical molecular structures. The only difference between them is the location of the double bond on the carbon chain. Delta 8 has a double bond between the eighth carbon and ninth carbon, Delta 9’s double bond is between the ninth and tenth carbon in the chain, and so on.
HHC, on the other hand, is classed as a hexahydrocannabinol. It has no double bond in its chemical structure, but two hydrogenated molecules instead. While this is a very small substitution in the structure, the implications that may have on the pharmacology of the compounds could prove to be far reaching.
Potency and effects
Swiftly moving away from the chemical differences and the science-y side of things, the key differences between HHC and THC that you can physically feel and experience are the potency and effects. From here on in, when we discuss the difference between HHC and THC, we will be referring to hemp-derived Delta 8 THC, which is currently legal at both state and federal level in 31 states (is Delta 8 legal in my state?).
Learn more about the HHC experience
HHC or THC: Which is stronger?
So, is HHC stronger than Delta 8?
According to experts, HHC is more potent than Delta 8 THC and by quite a large margin too. It’s estimated that HHC potency is roughly 75% that of Delta 9 THC, while Delta 8 THC is estimated to be around half as intoxicating as its D9 sister cannabinoid.
However, after trying a bunch of HHC and Delta 8 products, I would say it’s not that simple. While HHC does seem to come on more quickly than Delta 8, I think the Delta 8 high makes me feel more f*cked up, especially when you take larger amounts. But maybe that’s got something to do with my sensitivity to THC in general, because I do find Delta 9 THC way too overwhelming.
One thing’s for sure, if you’ve been smoking or taking Delta 8 THC on a daily basis, then it’s likely that you’ve built up a tolerance for it and if HHC is new to you then you will have zero HHC tolerance, meaning it’s very likely it will hit you a lot harder than Delta 8.
And of course vice versa.
Learn about the Delta 8 THC experience
Is HHC better than Delta 8?
If you’re looking for the most potent and intoxicating cannabinoid, then yes, HHC is likely to be better for you than Delta 8. The popularity of HHC also seems to be surging which would also suggest that people are choosing HHC over Delta 8 more now than ever before.
However, the effects of HHC and Delta 8 are quite different, and it may be that you prefer the way that Delta 8 makes you feel due to its more intense psychoactive effects.
It also may depend on the particular batch of HHC and ratio of diastereomers you end up with. As I explain in my other article about HHC:
“In the production of HHC, there is usually around a 50/50 mix of diastereomers, meaning that, although all of the molecules produced have the same molecular formula, around half of them occupy a slightly different three-dimensional space (same-same-but-different).
Preliminary research suggests that they both have great therapeutic potential, but (allegedly) one of them is more psychoactive than the other. This may explain why different HHC products can affect you differently, with some feeling more energetic and others feeling more other-worldly.”
The effects from a batch of 60/40 could be very different from a batch of 40/60, with one being much better than Delta 8 THC and the other proving to be decidedly underwhelming.
The long and short of it is that I think they’re both great and which one you think is better will ultimately depend on what you want out of the experience.
If you’re looking for medicinal benefits then, according to anecdotal evidence available, both HHC and Delta 8 are popularly used for pain relief and to improve sleep quality, but there is more evidence supporting Delta 8’s therapeutic benefits, probably because it’s been around for longer.
- I would recommend trying them both to see which you prefer, but if you can only afford one today then:
- Choose HHC if you’re looking for euphoric effects, a boost in energy levels, and a more uplifting experience.
- Choose Delta 8 if you desire more psychoactive effects and all-over-body relaxation.
NB. A lot of Reddit users are also talking about how amazing the effects are when you take Delta 8/HHC together, so perhaps we don’t have to choose which one is better after all – we should just be taking both!
Is HHC safer than Delta 8?
Neither HHC nor Delta 8 THC have been around for long enough to say for sure which is safer in the long term. All we know is that, to date, non-one has died from taking either compound and the only cases of adverse effects (serious ones, that is) have occurred from overdosing and accidental dosing.
It goes without saying, don’t leave your HHC or Delta 8 THC products out where they could be taken accidentally by a child or pet.
Potential side effects are mild and infrequent and include most of Delta 9’s usual suspects, including red eyes, dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, rapid heart rate, insomnia, anxiety, and paranoia.
The biggest safety issue is…
The biggest safety issue for both of these compounds, in my opinion, is actually more to do with the manufacturing process rather than the compound itself. Because of the way these cannabinoids are created in a lab, it’s important that the people doing it know what they’re doing, ensuring that the end products are as clean as possible.
I really don’t recommend buying Delta 8 products from a gas station. Please just don’t. Do your research online and shop online for your Delta 8 – you have so much more choice and almost always better prices too!
Before purchasing a HHC or D8 THC product, or any cannabis or hemp product for that matter, always check for third-party testing. Most companies will provide potency testing these days, but if safety is important to you, then you should also look for purity testing.
Delta 8 products should, at the very least, be tested for residual solvents and HHC needs to be tested for residual solvents and heavy metals. Some companies will even go a step further and test for pesticides, microbials, and mycotoxins, that may have been present in the hemp used for the original extract.
Recommended HHC vendors
If you’re into vaping and are looking for the best HHC vape cartridge, then check out my recommendations for Best HHC Carts here. Or, if you prefer gummies, disposables, tinctures, or cookies, then check out these vendors below:
Binoid – HHC
20% off with code CBDINC20
Recommended Delta 8 vendors
At the risk of sounding biased, Galaxy Treats and Binoid are also two of my favorite Delta 8 vendors, although I do also love Vance Global’s Delta 8 cigarettes and gummies and Secret Nature’s smokables and vapes.
Galaxy Treats – Delta 8
Try their Special K gummies which contain a mix of Delta 8 and Kanna. Kanna is known as nature’s MDMA and it can give you a great energy boost and feelings of euphoria, as well as reduce stress, tension, and anxiety. Since reviewing these gummies, I’ve come to realize that 2-3 gummies is my good-time sweet spot.
25% off with code CBDINCUBATOR25
Binoid – Delta 8
Binoid’s selection of Delta products, especially D8 carts, is second to none and their gummies are effective and tasty. You really can’t go wrong with Binoid as your go-to Delta 8 supplier. You can also get massive discounts on bundles and save a further 25% off them when you use our discount code CBDINCUBATOR25.
25% off with code CBDINCUBATOR25
Vance Global – Delta 8
Vance Global has kick-ass Delta 8 cigarettes and their gummies… oh, their gummies. Be warned, Vance Global doesn’t do things by half, boasting some of the most potent products on the market.
Funny story about that actually — My friend wasn’t aware of just how strong Vance’s Delta 8 gummies were and took all 8 because (like many cannabis users) think that D8 doesn’t effect them that much. Anyway, he was high for nearly two days – it was hilarious (thankfully it was Friday night, so he had time to recover before work on Monday!).
Secret Nature – Delta 8
And lastly but not leastly, Secret Nature has some really nice Delta 8 smokables, including superbly rolled pre-rolls and blunts, strain-specific carts and disposable, and Delta 8 flower.
HHC or Delta 8? The final word
The key difference between HHC and Delta 8 is the potency as, according to experts, HHC is around 50% stronger than Delta 8. But it’s also a lot more expensive than Delta 8, so perhaps Delta 8 is a good place to start?
It’s lower potency means you can take it with less risk to make sure you enjoy the feeling of being high, before switching to slightly more expensive and potent HHC products.
If it turns out that you enjoy both as much as I do, then my top tip is to switch back and forth between these two compounds. Giving your body a break from one of these compounds at a time will help to keep your tolerance to a minimum, meaning it’ll take less product and less cash to get you high.