What is the Difference Between HHC, HHC-P, and HHC-O?

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
September 30, 2022
What to choose: HHC HHC-O or HHC-P?
What to choose: HHC HHC-O or HHC-P?

The cannabinoid world is expanding before our eyes, with new psychoactive hemp derivatives emerging onto the market to offer a more diverse way to enjoy a gratifying cannabis high, legally.  One of the latest to hit the scene is HHC-P, aka hexahydrocannabiphorol, following in the footsteps of hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) and HHC-O-Acetate (HHC-O).  We don’t expect every casual hemp user to know how these three similar-sounding cannabinoids differ from one another, and we’re going to compare all of them, as you will be surprised by just how uniquely special each one is. 

HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol)

First, we have HHC, also known as hexahydrocannabinol.  This was the first of the 3 “h cannabinoids” to hit the market, and even continues to be a clear fan favorite.

Where HHC Comes from: HHC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the hemp plant – more specifically, its seeds and pollen.  HHC and delta 9 THC are analogs of one another, except HHC has the addition of a carbon atom, and that acts as a gamechanger that shouldn’t be overlooked.  That tiny hydrogen atom allows the cannabinoid to be incredibly stable as a chemical compound, and that may enhance its bioavailability, while making it far more resilient to oxygen, heat, light and humidity. 

Its High: HHC offers the mildest high of the 3 that we’re comparing today.  It’s reported to be just very slightly milder than the high of delta 9 THC.  And, otherwise, it seems that HHC’s high is basically the same as delta 9’s, which isn’t surprising as they are analogs of one another.  This means that its high is quite euphoric yet stress-relieving, and can produce a body high that’s extremely soothing to the muscles.

What Else HHC Can Offer: HHC is such a new discovery that we don’t really have any info about what kind of properties it can deliver, via clinical studies and other forms of peer-reviewed scientific research.  But, what we do know is that HHC behaves very similarly to delta 9 THC.  Because of that, it’s not surprising that so many people find HHC to be helpful with stress, low mood, sleep, appetite, nausea and discomfort throughout the body, just like delta 9. 

HHC-O (Hexahydrocannabinol-O Acetate)

HHC-O was released shortly after HHC, and unlike HHC, it’s a chemically modified cannabinoid that was made specifically to offer a distinctively stronger high.

Where HHC-O Comes from: HHC-O is not a naturally occurring cannabinoid.  It is, however, derived from HHC.  Basically, making HHC-O requires taking HHC and adding an acetate to it, which changes it chemical structure to enhance its ability to work with CB1 receptors – in other words, making it more potent.  Making HHC-O follows the same process as making THC-O, a cannabinoid that was invented around the 1960s to become a more powerful form of THC.

Its High: HHC-O is definitely stronger than HHC, but not by a lot.  It may be about 1.5 times to 2 times as intoxicating as “original” HHC, and that’s what many people are looking for.  Basically, HHC-O seems to better match delta 9’s potency than HHC, and that’s likely why it was invented in the first place.  People commonly report HHC-O as being an extremely euphoric cannabinoid that feels quite balanced – in other words, never too energizing nor too sedating.

What Else HHC-O Can Offer: Here’s the thing – HHC-O is even newer than HHC, so you can imagine that once again, there’s literally no research on its properties.  Besides the fact that it’s obviously intoxicating, we just don’t know what it can do.  But, given its relationship to HHC, and HHC’s relationship to delta 9 THC, we can basically assume that HHC-O and delta 9 THC offer all of the same potential benefits, like those related to mood, sleep, appetite, nausea, physical discomfort and so on.

HHC-P (Hexahydrocannabiphorol)

Then we have the newest “H” cannabinoid of all: HHC-P, or hexahydrocannabiphorol.  This is a cannabinoid that’s gotten everyone talking, thanks to its similarities to THC-P, another knockout on the market.

Where HHC-P Comes from: HHC-P is yet another semi-synthesized form of HHC, this time enhancing its carbon tail to add additional carbon atoms for a grand total of 7, which is on par with THC-P’s chemical structure.  Basically, this makes HHC-P capable of working on CB1 receptors in the brain 30 times as strongly as regular HHC, for a much, much stronger high.  In fact, that’s why it was produced.  HHC-P is derived from HHC, so it is not a completely synthesized cannabinoid.

Its High: HHC-P is the strongest of the 3 in terms of its high, which is again because of its ability to work on the brain’s CB1 receptors a lot more strongly.  The high may be 10 times as potent as that of HHC, or even stronger.  In fact, some people notice that they get higher from HHC-P than from THC-P, which is very impressive.  As for what the high feels like, a lot of people compare it to that of a hybrid strain, in that it’s both potentially relaxing and uplifting at the same time, making for a blissful sense of balance.

What Else HHC-P Can Offer:  Yet again, we have a cannabinoid that has only just been introduced to the market, and so that means that you won’t find any published research on its potential clinical/therapeutic uses.  What we can say, again, is that you can likely compare HHC-P’s effects to those of THC-P – for instance, its effects that relate to nausea, mood, appetite, discomfort and the like. 

Which HHC Cannabinoid is Right For You?

People are all about these 3 HHC-based cannabinoids, and it’s easy to see why.  Not only are they federally legal alternatives to delta 9 THC, but they are hydrogenated, which means that their chemical stability is off the charts by comparison.  The question is, then, which one is right for you?  As you can see, each one has its own distinctive potency level, and that’s really the main difference between them.  So, consider your cannabinoid tolerance and choose accordingly.

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