hhc vs cbd

HHC vs CBD: Cannabinoids Compared

by | Aug 22, 2022

Once upon a time, we believed that all cannabis got you high. Smoking weed meant consuming a dose of psychoactive THC, leading to an overall head and body high. Then, CBD became a market highlight but left some consumers a bit confused. Touted as having many benefits, yet, the effects are so subtle that you don’t often feel them. So it’s no wonder there is skepticism about newer cannabinoids like HHC. Are they as mild as CBD or as potent as THC? Perhaps somewhere in the middle. Here’s everything we know about the effects, benefits, and legality of HHC vs CBD.

HHC Overview

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) might not sound like other cannabinoids, but it’s actually a THC compound. HHC was initially discovered in the 1940s when a chemist hydrogenated Delta-9 THC. This process wasn’t new since hydrogenation is how vegetable oil becomes margarine. There are plenty of instances where hydrogenation is used commercially, but it also serves us well in producing this THC derivative. 

Despite being a THC compound, HHC is now commercially made with CBD. During production, CBD is first extracted from hemp before going through a chemical reactor. The CBD is isolated into a powder form, and a multi-step process converts the CBD into HHC. There are tons of benefits to producing HHC this way, and we’ll get into them more below when comparing HHC vs CBD.

CBD Overview

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid predominantly found in hemp plants. It’s also abundant in marijuana, but the largest concentrations are found in hemp. Although it’s not psychoactive like THC, CBD offers many therapeutic benefits. This is why many people love CBD. It provides relief from pain, inflammation, insomnia, and other ailments without intoxication. However, for anyone wanting to get high, CBD isn’t the ticket. 

Because it’s found in such abundance, there is no need to synthesize or fabricate CBD. Instead, it’s extracted from the hemp plant. This is primarily done through hydrocarbon extraction and produces a variety of results. Full spectrum, broad spectrum, distillate, and isolate are a few types of CBD oils used to infuse products. You can also smoke high CBD flower on its own. 

HHC vs CBD Compared

HHC and CBD are both cannabinoids, but they are built differently. This leads to various physical effects and benefits. To compare HHC vs CBD, let’s look at their chemical makeup, how they work in the body, and explore their legal status.

Chemical Compound Structure

CBD and THC have the exact same molecular structure. They are both made up of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. Since HHC is derived from either CBD or THC, does it have the same structure? Not exactly. While making HHC, the molecular structure shifts to having 21 carbons atoms, 32 hydrogen atoms, and three oxygen atoms. 

This might seem insignificant, but it’s just enough of an alteration to make a difference. HHC might resemble CBD, but it behaves differently with the endocannabinoid system.

The Endocannabinoid System

All cannabinoids bind to receptors within the endocannabinoids system (ECS). This regulatory system governs many aspects of our body that we might not think too much about it until something is out of whack. For example, you may remedy poor sleep or digestion by finding the right balance of cannabinoids. 

There are two primary receptors—CB1 and CB2—in the ECS. The CB1 receptors work in the central nervous system, while the CB2 receptors are mostly found throughout the peripheral nervous system. HHC attaches to CB1 receptors much like THC does, whereas CBD prefers the CB2 receptors. However, HHC has a weaker affinity for the CB1 receptors than THC, and is even less potent than Delta-8 THC.

Effects and Benefits

The biggest question when comparing HHC vs CBD is, “does HHC get you high?” The answer is yes. HHC gets you high. However, since HHC has a weaker bond to the CB1 receptors, it doesn’t produce as strong of a high as THC or even Delta-8. To put it into perspective, if you were to compare a dose of HHC to THC, the HHC would produce a much more mellow high with less psychoactive effects. 

When comparing HHC vs CBD, you will get much more “high” from the HHC since the CBD doesn’t produce noticeable psychoactive effects. Many people prefer HHC for its light high and ability to alleviate muscular tension, reduce stress, and promote deeper sleep. 

Don’t be mistaken—HHC will undoubtedly get you stoned. You can get just as high on HHC if you consume large quantities as you would THC. Still, overall, the high is a bit less intense. It’s all about dosage and consumption so remember to start low and go slow. 


Is there a difference in legality for HHC vs CBD? Well, that depends. The Farm Bill legalized hemp in 2018, hence the flood of new cannabinoids on the market. As long as an HHC product comes from hemp (which most are), it’s legal for use. There is another stipulation: any hemp-derived product must contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. So long as the certificate of analysis can prove this, you’re good to go. 

Shopping for HHC Products

Which cannabinoid is better when looking at HHC vs CBD? This is just a matter of preference. Both cannabinoids have their uses, and one might be better than another at different times. However, if you are looking to experience a mild, euphoric high, try out HHC. It’s a versatile cannabinoid making its way into many form factors—shop Dimo’s collection of HHC pre-rolls, HHC gummies, HHC cartridges, and HHC disposables below.

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Delta-9 THC is the most commonly sold and used THC compound, and Delta-8 THC is a less potent sister compound of Delta-9.

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HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) is unlike most other psychoactive cannabinoids on the market because it isn’t actually a THC compound. 

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