Skip to main content

Will HHC Show Up on a Drug Test?

HHC and drug tests

If you’re curious about HHC, you’re in the right place. This unique cannabinoid has been making waves, and while it isn’t anything new, there’s not a lot of information about it. How long does it stay in your system? Can it cause you to fail a drug test? 

As the go-to source for high-quality HHC—we answer these questions and more so you can feel comfortable and confident shopping HHC and more at The Dopest. 

What is HHC?

HHC is a derivative of THC, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis and hemp. These days it’s commonly derived from hemp, and it can be made from delta-8 or delta-9 THC. It was first discovered in the 1940s by chemist Roger Adams, who used a chemical process called hydrogenation to produce HHC from THC.

A scientist in lab experiments with a test tube

THC and HHC have nearly identical molecular structures, except the carbon double bonds in THC are replaced with hydrogen in HHC. This slight difference in chemical structure affects how the molecule interacts with your body's endocannabinoid system. HHC is psychoactive and can produce effects similar to THC, though the intensity and duration of the effects may be milder.

Legally, HHC does not fall under the same restrictions as THC since the cannabinoids do not share the same chemical structure and HHC is derived from hemp-based delta-8 THC. It is federally legal only when it’s hemp-derived and contains less than 0.3% THC. If it’s derived from delta-8 or delta-9 THC, it will be up to individual state law to determine if it’s legal to sell and purchase. 

Will HHC Cause Me to Fail a Drug Test?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. Drug tests don’t test for THC outright; they work by detecting the presence of molecules called metabolites in your body. Metabolites are chemical compounds formed by the breakdown of substances such as THC, and their presence (and concentration) can help clinicians administering drug tests to determine if or when THC was last used.

But will HHC show up as THC on a drug test? Though studies on this question are ongoing, we know there is at least a possibility that it will trigger a positive result. Since HHC is similar in many ways to THC, many, if not most, drug tests might mistakenly read it as THC and may not be able to determine the difference between the two compounds.

How Long Does HHC Stay in Your System?

Employers and law enforcement agencies use several testing methods to detect drug use, including urine, blood, saliva, and hair tests. Each works a little differently, and each can detect THC metabolites (and potentially HHC) for different periods of time. 

A person inspects a marijuana plant with a magnifying glass

Here’s what kind of tests are currently used for drug testing:

  • Urine tests: The most common type of drug test used by employers. It’s possible that HHC may be detected in urine for up to 30 days after use, as that’s usually cited for THC, too. However, the length of time that HHC remains detectable in urine may vary depending on factors such as the amount used, the user's metabolism, and the frequency of use.
  • Blood tests: Less common than urine tests, they can be used to detect recent drug use but typically only within a few hours of ingestion
  • Saliva tests: Also known as oral fluid tests, they’re less common than urine tests but are sometimes used by employers or law enforcement agencies. HHC may be detectable in your saliva for up to 48 hours, though the more commonly cited window for THC is approximately 30 hours, which may apply to HHC as well. 
  • Hair tests: Hair tests are the least common type of drug test but also the most sensitive. Typically used to detect long-term drug use, they can indicate the presence of THC (and potentially HHC) metabolites for up to 90 days after use. That said, some research indicates that any THC present in skin oil (for instance, from contact with someone who used THC) may transfer to the hair, resulting in a false positive.

Factors Affecting How Long HHC Stays in Your System

As with THC, there are a number of factors that affect how long HHC can stay in your system. 

Body Mass

Our bodies store metabolites in fat cells, the same way we store energy, so individuals with higher body fat percentages may retain HHC for longer periods of time.

Frequency of Use 

The frequency of your HHC consumption also contributes to how long it stays in your system. Those who use HHC regularly are more likely to test positive for a drug test. Individuals who use it frequently or in larger amounts are likely to have higher levels of the substance in their system, so it takes longer to burn off these metabolites.

Metabolism

Each person's metabolism—or the rate at which they process energy—is unique, and some people will naturally metabolize HHC more quickly than others. People with faster metabolisms generally eliminate metabolites more quickly than those with slower metabolisms.

Can You Flush HHC From Your System?

There are a number of “flushing” products on the market, all advertising that their product gets rid of THC and HHC metabolites quickly. 

Do they actually work?

There’s not a lot of evidence that they do. However, it’s theorized that drinking plenty of water and consuming fiber, which promotes bowel movements, may remove THC and HHC metabolites from the intestines more quickly.

You may also try regular exercise and getting plenty of sleep, though there’s a drawback to exercising too close to a drug test. Since exercise may help release the metabolites stored in fat cells, a strenuous workout right before a drug test may potentially trigger a positive test result.

So, Does HHC Show Up on a Drug Test?

Since HHC is chemically similar to THC, it’s possible that it could show up on a drug test that can detect the metabolites associated with THC and cannabis. Different tests have different detection windows, and how long HHC stays in your system can be impacted by a variety of factors, like how much and how often you consume it, your body fat percentage, and your metabolism.

Check out our blog for more on HHC, THCA and other news in the world of alt cannabinoids. Or shop our selection of HHC products, including edibles, concentrates, and vapes, and let us know your experience in the comments section.