The race is on to discover and develop new, more potent cannabinoids. It seems like everywhere you look there are novel compounds, different types of THC, or various cannabis synthetics hitting center stage. For the most part, these compounds have been met with initial interest that eventually wavers, so longevity in these markets is questionable. The latest on the market is hexahydrocannabinol, or HHC,
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What is HHC?
Honestly, the available information on HHC, scientifically known as 9-Nor-9β-hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol, is extremely limited and somewhat contradicting. Let’s start with whether it’s natural or synthetic: well, it can be both. There is a biologically active naturally occuring (−)-hexahydrocannabinol, as well as its synthetic enantiomer (+)-hexahydrocannabinol – the latter being what you’ll find in consumer products since natural HHC is only present in very trace amounts.
As the name suggests (Hexahydrocannabinol vs Tetrahydrocannabinol), HHC has many similarities to THC. It’s basically a simplified version of Delta 9 THC. Both HHC and THC have very similar molecular structures and comparable effects. It was discovered during research in the 1960s and 70s in which the goal was to find the most basic cannabinoid-like substances that could still bind to CB receptors.
Very limited studies indicate that HHC has a decent safety profile in animal models and that it could have some medical potential, but we’ll get more into that a bit later. However, claims made by retailers regarding its legality and where it comes from are misleading at best.
What the Retailers Say
Let me start by saying that not many retailers are selling HHC yet. As a matter of fact, I’ve been able to find only three so far. All three of them have almost the exact same description on their sites for HHC, claiming that it is a naturally derived compound (found in cannabis pollen), extracted from hemp and federally legal.
I personally could not find anything to support the claim that HHC is found in cannabis pollen, or where exactly in the plant it’s found in highest concentrations. Also, what you’re getting in an HHC vape cart is a synthetic, as it would take way too much plant matter to extract a noticeable amount of this cannabinoid.
And because it’s synthetic, it’s also likely not legal. Because a version of the compound is naturally derived, that could fall under the industrial hemp legal loophole. The unnatural enantiomer of HHC is illegal because it is created using a chemical catalyst.
It’s important to remember that retailers might not always have all the information about rare and specialty cannabinoids. Their goal is to sell, so naturally, they will try to paint their new products in the most favorable light. This why you have to do your own research before trying new things, just because a statement is posted on a retailers website does not necessarily mean it’s true.
As far as HHC research goes, it’s nearly non-existent. However, both natural and synthetic cannabinoids have been found to suppress tumor growth in numerous different animal studies. One study in particular examined the angiogenic effects of several hexahydrocannabinol analogs to see how they can be used in cancer therapies.
As per the study: “Two analogs LYR-7 [(9S)-3,6,6,9-tetramethyl-6a,7,8,9,10,10a-hexahydro-6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol] and LYR-8 [(1-((9S)-1-hydroxy-6,6,9-trimethyl-6a,7,8,9,10,10a-hexahydro-6H-benzo[c]chromen-2-yl)ethanone)] were selected based on their anti-angiogenic activity and lack of binding affinity for cannabinoid receptors. Both LYR-7 and LYR-8 inhibited VEGF-induced proliferation, migration, and capillary-like tube formation of HUVECs in a concentration-dependent manner.”
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“The inhibitory effect of the compounds on cell proliferation was more selective in endothelial cells than in breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and tamoxifen-resistant MCF-7). We also noted effective inhibition of VEGF-induced new blood vessel formation by the compounds in the in vivo chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay. Furthermore, both LYR analogs potently inhibited VEGF production and NF-κB transcriptional activity in cancer cells.”
“Additionally, LYR-7 or LYR-8 strongly inhibited breast cancer cell-induced angiogenesis and tumor growth. Together, these results suggest that novel synthetic hexahydrocannabinol analogs, LYR-7 and LYR-8, inhibit tumor growth by targeting VEGF-mediated angiogenesis signaling in endothelial cells and suppressing VEGF production and cancer cell growth.”
Simply put, these compounds block the growth of the blood vessels that feed tumors, rather than blocking growth of the tumor itself. So, it basically works as an angiogenesis inhibitor that starves any tumors.
Final Thoughts – HHC
Again, since research on HHC is so limited on this cannabinoid, there really is very little for me to share with you all. However, since it is being sold online already, you will have to do your due diligence and make sure that the product you’re getting is safe and the company you’re buying it from is legit. Other than that, we will continue to make updates to this article as more information on hexahydrocannabinol becomes available, so check back periodically for more.
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