Skip to main content

HHC vs THCA: What’s the Difference?

HHC vs THCA: What’s the Difference?

Confused by all the abbreviations in cannabis? Join the club. Between THC, THCA, HHC, CBD, CBN, and so on, it can be pretty easy to lose your way or get stuck on all the nuances and lingo.

Don’t worry; we’ll break it all down for you by starting with HHC and THCA, two unique cannabinoids currently taking the industry by storm. Find out where these compounds come from, what they are, how to consume them, and much more.

By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to try them for yourself—and you’re in luck: We've got you covered. Order from The Dopest and get them sent right to your door.

HHC vs THCA: Comparing Two Unique Cannabinoids

Are there differences between THCA and HHC? Yes—plenty. While they are both cannabinoids typically found in hemp-derived products, each delivers its own very intriguing psychoactive effects and there are many reasons you might want to choose one over the other. Let’s dig in.

What Is THCA?

If you know anything about cannabis, you know what THC is—it’s the compound responsible for that classic, intoxicating “high.” Like all cannabinoids—CBD, CBC, CBG, and many others—it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, or “ECS.” The ECS is a critical network that helps regulate sleep, memory, immune response, and other functions, and it’s one of the reasons hemp and cannabis compounds can have such a profound effect on us.

As you might guess, THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is related to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Chemically speaking, it’s the acidic precursor to THC, and it doesn’t impart any intoxicating effects on its own. For THCA to convert to THC and deliver a high, it must undergo a process called decarboxylation, which changes the compound’s chemical structure through the application of heat. THCA and its associated products are federally legal only when it’s hemp-derived and contains less than 0.3% THC.

What Is HHC?

What about HHC (hexahydrocannabinol)? While it may be found naturally in some strains of cannabis, it’s a derivative of THC that’s usually synthesized in a lab using metal catalysts. First discovered by chemist Roger Adams in the 1940s, HHC goes through a process called hydrogenation, in which one of the carbon double bonds in THC is replaced with hydrogen atoms. Chemically speaking, this makes HHC nearly identical to THC in many ways.

So, if they’re so similar, why go through the effort of changing an already good thing? A few reasons: Modifying THC into HHC extends its shelf life and provides stronger protection against UV light, both of which degrade regular THC more rapidly. It also enhances the new compound’s ability to bind with the endocannabinoid system.

Due to HHC’s rarity in natural cannabis, almost all HHC products on the market are synthetic. It can be made from hemp-derived CBD, delta-8 THC, and sometimes delta-9 THC. Like THCA, HHC is federally legal only when it’s hemp-derived and contains less than 0.3% THC.

HHC vs THCA: Potency

Both THCA and HHC are related to THC, but how do they stack up in terms of potency—both against THC and each other?

If you consume raw THCA, you won’t experience any intoxication, but if it’s decarboxylated and transformed into THC, then the effects mirror THC’s and will be dependent on the strain you’re consuming.

Does that mean HHC is stronger than pure THCA? At the end of the day, it’s not a fair comparison since THCA isn’t intoxicating on its own. But if HHC is compared with THC, things get quite interesting. Many people report that HHC provides a gentler experience than THC, saying that it imparts an overall feeling of relaxation, calming euphoria, and relief from physical discomfort and other symptoms.

THCA vs HHC: Effects

If you’ve ever enjoyed THC, then you’ll have some idea of what the effects of HHC and THCA feel like. An intriguing euphoria, physical relaxation, and—depending on the particular strain—a creative spark or inspiration that can lead you down some very cerebral pathways.

Additionally, THCA decarboxylates into THC, so the effects are similar, if not totally the same, when the compound is heated. HHC is somewhat milder, and some people even compare it to Delta-8 THC, a less potent form of THC, so HHC can be a great alternative if you’re looking for a gentler lift from your session.

HHC vs THCA: Potential Benefits

Cannabis may be most famous for that intoxicating high, but that’s definitely not the end of the story. Clinical research suggests a wide range of potential benefits from cannabis and hemp compounds. THC is at the forefront, but THCA has been specifically noted for its potential neuroprotective qualities and relief from inflammation.

What about HHC? At the moment, there hasn’t been much research done on this promising compound, and most clinicians agree that more research is needed to fully understand its potential benefits or risks. That said, there have been some small studies done that indicate that HHC may help relieve anxiety and general pain. Plus, due to their very close chemical structures and subjective effects, there are good indications that many of the benefits of THC and THCA can be experienced through HHC as well.

THCA vs HHC: Products

What’s the best way to consume HHC or THCA? The sky’s the limit! Since they’re both cannabinoids related to THC, they can be enjoyed in whatever ways you most enjoy THC. You can smoke them in bowls, joints, or blunts, inhale them through vape cartridges, use them to make tempting edibles, or even dab them as concentrates. There’s truly no end to your options.

HHC vs THCA: Legality

If HHC and THCA can both produce intoxicating effects, how are they legal? It all comes down to chemistry. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, which allows the sale and use of hemp products containing 0.3% THC or less, THCA products are legal so long as they contain less than this legal threshold and are hemp-derived. Similarly, HHC is legal because it’s chemically distinct from THC.

This means that compliant, hemp-derived HHC and THCA can be shipped to many states where regular THC isn’t allowed. Our shipping service is fast, safe, and discreet, and it’s the best way to get HHC and THCA sent right to your door. We also partner with select retailers throughout the United States; visit our Store Locator to learn more.

Explore Quality THCA and HHC With The Dopest

While both HHC and THCA are cannabinoids produced by the cannabis and hemp plants, they maintain some crucial differences. THCA is the chemical precursor to the intoxicating THC, but until it’s “activated” by the process called decarboxylation, it’s non-intoxicating and legal.

By comparison, HHC is typically created through a process called hydrogenation, which alters the chemical structure of THC slightly. As a result, it’s milder and often considered an excellent match for imparting a more gentle psychoactive experience.

Want to try HHC or THCA for yourself? We’re here for you! We stock a huge selection of quality THCA and HHC products, including The Dopest flowerblunts and prerolls, and much more.

How do you know you’re getting the best of the best? We’re so proud of the HHC and other hemp products we offer that we make our third-party lab tests and Certificates of Analysis (COAs) available to everyone. You can view test results for all the products we sell. Due to state laws, The Dopest does not currently deliver THCA products to the following locations: Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont.

If you’re intrigued by the world of unique cannabinoids, here’s a chance to expand your horizons. Visit our blog to find in-depth articles, everyday tips, guides, and how-tos on THCA, HHC, and other exciting hemp compounds.