Does HHC Show Up In A Drug Test? 


With the buzz about an alternative cannabinoid and the myth that Hexahydrocannabinol or HHC does not show up in a drug test, many people want to experiment with the compound. 

HHC comes as a naturally-occurring chemical compound extracted from cannabis plants like delta-8 and delta-9 THC. With the number of cannabinoids in different forms, HHC has its uniqueness, which makes it attractive to cannabinoid users. 

Does HHC show up in a drug test? We have answers if you have been careful about HHC legality and drug tests. Therefore, relax and continue reading about HHC and drug tests. Let’s talk about the exact science surrounding this compound.

What Is HHC?

We can define hexahydrocannabinol as a hemp-derived cannabidiol with potency like delta-9 THC. Many people have become familiar with delta-9 THC products because of their psychoactive properties.

In other words, HHC contains at least 80% potency as the infamous delta-9 THC and 20% more potent than the mellow delta-8 THC. American chemist, Roger Adams, discovered HHC in 1944 when he created it in his laboratory. 

He added delta-9 THC to hydrogen molecules in a hydrogenation process, which converted THC into hexahydrocannabinol. As a result, HHC comes as a semi-synthetic cannabinoid. 

Although synthetic cannabinoids scare many cannabinoid users, these cannabinoids must undergo this process to extract them. Like other cannabinoids, HHC interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The endocannabinoid system contains CB1 and CB2 receptors that interact with other cannabinoids and produce mental and physical effects associated with cannabis.

Some of the benefits of using HHC include:

  • It can reduce inflammation
  • Manage chronic pain
  • Encourages restorative sleep
  • Reduce vomiting or nausea
  • Can reduce anxiety 

HHC is available online and offline in different forms including HHC pre-rolls, HHC gummies and cookies. So, you can choose the product as per your preference. 

Is HHC Safe? 

Currently, hemp-derived cannabinoids have little research highlighting some of their short and long-term effects. Further, brands have little supervision from bodies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding quality control, purity, or potency. As a result, you can find unsafe products on the market. 

However, you can safely consume HHC if you buy from the right source. You can use customer reviews, third-party lab testing, and brand reputation to make your choice. 

Can HHC Show Up On A Drug Test?

There have been debates about whether HHC can appear on drug tests for decades. Here is what you should know about this compound on drug tests.

HHC Manufactures Similar THC Metabolites 

The cannabinoids function as a THC analog because of their similar hydrogen atoms. Additionally, it offers similar properties to delta-8 and 9, but their metabolite similarities have little research. 

Due to anecdotal evidence, studies lean towards an affirmation, but individuals’ reactions differ. We cannot say that HHC will not appear in drug tests since we have no solid scientific research on the claim. 

Hence, we recommend you buy a high-quality test kit and discover if you can test positive for the substance. 

You Can Cross-Contaminate HHC With THC

It would be best to consider the challenges of cross-contamination when considering the HHC cannabinoid drug test. Unfortunately, the HHC market has many bad brands that may not subject their HHC products to basic testing or third-party lab testing.

As a result, you must not rush to buy HHC products without doing your homework. If you don’t take your time to pick a product, you might end up consuming more than 0.3% THC. 

In some cases, some brands may lie about the amount of THC in their HHC products. You must not believe everything you read about the safety of a product if you have not studied its Certificate of Analysis (CoA). So, you can only buy HHC products if reliable third-party labs verify them.

Since the hemp market is not regulated, many fraudulent brands claim that their products contain no THC. However, cross-contamination can leave you with a poorly formulated product.

In theory, when you consume a pure HHC, you can easily evade any test on THC. You can safely purchase HHC isolate if you want the purest cannabinoid. Remember that there is no clinical evidence but only anecdotal reports about the safety of HHC tests.

With lab tests, you can read about the ingredients used and their effects on the human body. Finally, if a full-spectrum has trace amounts of delta-9 THC, you may test positive for an HHC cannabinoid drug test. 

How Does HHC Metabolize?

Many hemp users know that 11-hydroxy-THC is the most prominent active THC metabolite found after you use decarboxylated cannabis. In 1991, Harvey and Brown conducted THC research on hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and mice. 

They discovered that their lab animals’ livers oxidized the HHC isomer like THC, which builds up as hydroxylated derivatives. Therefore, 11-hydroxy-hexahydrocannabinol shows a similar metabolic process of THC to HHC.

However, the compound does not form the main THC metabolite but metabolizes an HHC compound. THC and HHC metabolize differently into 11-hydroxy-HHC metabolites, making them slightly different from each other. 

We can indicate that the HHC psychotropic properties come from its 11-hydroxy-HHC, and you can find this compound on standard drug tests.

False Positive HHC drug test: What Are The Odds?

Will HHC show a false positive during drug testing? False positives indicate that you tested positive for THC when you didn’t consume HHC.

For instance, a standard drug test search for THC metabolites and HHC has a similar chemical structure with delta-8 and 9 THC. In addition, HHC interacts with ECS receptors the way THC works, and the difference lies in how it metabolizes into a different compound.

Furthermore, HHC metabolizes with a similar chemical structure to the compound THC-COOH but appears as a hydroxyl substance. A standard drug test detects THC-COOH because it is a delta-9 THC metabolite. 

HHC contains two metabolites; beta-hydroxy-HHC found in hamsters and 8-alpha-hydroxy-HHC in lab mice. As a result, many people wonder about the potential false positives in any drug test. We can get a false positive result because the test can detect the HHC metabolite as THC metabolite. 

THC-COOH binds to fat cells and can test positive during drug testing, and the compound is among the important metabolites built in the body. However, it functions as a non-active metabolite, and different drug tests can only read their exposure. 

Unreliable anecdotal reports about HHC have heightened the belief that HHC will not show on any drug test. You may find brands claiming that their products can come clean on HHC and drug tests.

However, a false positive test and cross-contamination can make HHC appear in a test because of its similar chemical structure.

Can You Get High With HHC?

We may answer in the affirmative to this question, but the answer may not come down as cut and dry. Your reaction to HHC depends on factors like your overall health, physiology, body mass, and cannabis tolerance. However, it’s recommended to buy such products from the top rated HHC brands so that you will get the quality product.  

HHC is not as potent as delta-9 THC, and people with high cannabis tolerance may not feel HHC effects. On the other hand, if you cannot withstand personal sensitivity to cannabis, you may get high.

Alternatively, even when you can tolerate other cannabinoids, you can still experience HHC psychoactive effects. However, the effects hit differently because of the mellow experience of the hemp plant. 

People who don’t want the ‘highness’ of THC but want to experience a low level of psychoactive effect prefer HHC. Since you can get a low high with the substance, many users want to know if they would test positive for a test.


HHC does not contain double bonds like THC but contains more hydrogen molecules. Although THC and HHC interact similarly with the body’s enzymes, receptors, and endocannabinoids, the two compounds have few differences.

The endocannabinoid system maintains homeostasis or balance, and HHC works specifically on the CB1, found in the central nervous system and brain. The interaction with CB1 produces euphoric effects with other benefits like sleep improvement, pain reduction, anti-inflammation, wellness, and general health. 

Some users believe that HHC offers a more relaxing effect than a stimulating one. They placed its functionality between delta-9 and 8 THC. In theory, HHC is a hydrogenated form of THC but offers at least 80% more potency than other cannabinoids like delta-8 and 10.

THC and HHC share a similar molecular structure, but HHC has extra hydrogenated carbons. On the other hand, THC has a missing ester atom and a carbon bond. The minor molecular differences offer HHC more stability than THC and can withstand heat.  

Technically, HHC has hydrogen atoms instead of carbon chains on the double bonds. The process does not sound novel because brands convert vegetable oil into margarine with this hydrogenation process. 

As a result, HHC has more shelf-life and stability than THC. This means you don’t have to worry when your HHC product is exposed to heat or light.


THC-O or THC-O acetate comes from a series of extraction processes. When brands extract cannabinoids, they convert them to delta-8 and add acetic anhydride to them to create THC-O acetate. 

HHC and THC-O have different molecular structures, but brands extract HHC from the non-synthetic process. Brands extract enough HHC from a hydrogenation process but come naturally, unlike THC-O.

People who want a higher potency than THC use THC-O for their pleasure, and it has three times more potency than delta-9 THC. We recommend you begin with a small dose before increasing it to avoid adverse side effects. 

Our tolerance to cannabinoids is as a result of some factors such as prior cannabis use, age, weight, and much more. With THC-O potency triple the potency of marijuana, you’re in for a wild ride.

You should stay in a comfy environment and have water when using THC-O. Overall, THC-O has a higher potency than HHC.

Is HHC Legal?

The legal status of HHC has many gray areas, like other hemp-derived cannabinoids. Some brands claim you can legally use their products because they come naturally from the hemp plant.

However, some people argue that the amount of naturally extracted HHC comes in trace amounts. Therefore, brands have to add different chemicals to extract it.

The FDA disclosure ensures that every hemp-derived product must contain trace amounts of THC less than 0.3%. In addition, the FDA states that every synthetically derived THC must stay under Schedule I controlled substances.

The HHC legality centers around classifying it as a synthetic or natural compound. We cannot say that HHC has 100% legal status until a court certifies it as safe to use.

Side Effects Of HHC

Some researchers have suggested that HHC acts like THC in adverse reactions. Some users who overdosed have complained of red eyes, rapid heart rate, paranoia, insomnia, increased appetite, dry mouth, dizziness, and anxiety. 

The optimal HHC dose depends on gender, metabolism, body weight, age, and tolerance levels. We recommend you begin with a low dose until you find your tolerance level.

Will HHC interact with your drug test? The argument of HHC’s long shelf-life and not showing up in a standard 12-panel drug test has helped market the product. Many hemp users may want to explore this compound because of this marketing gimmick since the THC molecule can show a positive result.

For instance, tests can find trace amounts of THC, which makes HHC more appealing. However, a drug screen can produce HHC metabolites in bodily fluids or urine tests.

HHC Dosages

People use HHC for many benefits but must use the recommended dose. You might not like the intoxicated effect if you exceed your level, and when you take little of the compound, you miss out. 

Therefore, you should learn how to use the right dosage. First, familiarize yourself with the way the compound works. Three factors influence the dosage you must consume: your personal preference, tolerance level, and consumption method.

How much HHC you take should come with this  recommended dosage:

  • Beginners: 5 to 12 mg 
  • Intermediate: 12 to 30 mg.
  • Long-term users: 30 to 60 mg

Since HHC offers a similar effect to delta-8 THC, you must not exceed this dosage to enjoy its numerous benefits. On the other hand, you don’t feel the highness of delta-9 THC when you consume HHC.  

If you have a strong head or a high tolerance level, you can increase the dosage with time. If you have a medical condition, you should talk to your doctor before consuming HHC.   The best-recommended dose can be influenced by the activities you embark upon after using the compound. 

During the evening, you can decide to take a higher dose if you don’t want to step out of the house. However, you can use a smaller dose if you have activities after work. Learn to adjust to your plans and comfort levels when you use HHC.  

Consumption Method

We have discussed the dosage you must consume to experience the best of HHC and mentioned the consumption method as an influencing factor in your dosing.

You can use HHC by ingesting it like edibles, inhaling it, or using the substance sublingually in oils.

Before using the substance, you must consider the bioavailability because each consumption method has a bioavailability level. 

What is bioavailability? We can define bioavailability as the amount of the compound the body absorbs.

In addition, bioavailability determines how long the compound can kick in and how you will feel. In general, orally consuming HHC offers you the lowest bioavailability level, which happens because of the process it takes before the body absorbs the substance. 

As a result, you don’t expect HHC to work when you consume about the same amount as someone who inhales it. Giving the substance time when you use it orally would be best. When it hits, you have a longer experience than someone who smoked it. 

Meanwhile, you should inhale the substance if you want the highest bioavailability level. You can use vaping to open your bloodstream faster when it enters your body. However, please do not rush the process because it takes the shortest time to feel the kick. 

Will HHC Fail A Drug Test?

Regarding if HHC will fail a drug test, we have different views. However, some studies point out that the compound may likely show up. While we have a few anecdotal reports about HHC molecule and drug tests, you must not use HHC if you want to take a test.

Will HHC show up when you take urine tests? Some people claimed positive results, while others have the compound a clean sheet. With that said, you should give at least one month free of HHC consumption before you head for any test. 

If you don’t want a failed drug test, you should plan when to stop using the substance. HHC stays in the body depending on many factors, including the amount consumed. HHC may test positive as a false positive during drug testing, and the most advanced drug screen can pull the compound up.

How Long Does HHC Stay In Your System?

When you consume cannabinoids as a proxy, some standard tests can detect cannabis in bodily fluids between one and thirty days. However, the duration depends on the substance you consumed and the dosing frequency. 

Frequent users receive a longer detection time, which can last several months. Using substances like THC-COOH can stay in your system long before it wears off. 

  • Three times weekly (Occasional users): 3 days
  • Four times weekly (Moderate users): 5-7 days
  • Daily use (Chronic users): 10-15 days
  • Multiple times daily (Chronic heavy users): more than 30 days

Cannabis metabolites tend to bind to fat cells because they are fat-soluble. It can take time before your body eradicates the metabolites. 

Factors That Affect HHC Stay

Since we know long HHC stays in your system, it has become easier to monitor this substance. We can safely suggest that it stays in your system like other hemp-derived products. However, here are some factors that can influence how long HHC stays in the body.

  • Amount Of HHC Consumed

 HHC can stay longer in your system if you always consume or use a large amount. The more you use HHC, the longer it can stay in your system. Beginners must not overdose on the substance to stay safe from adverse effects. 

  • Route Of Consumption

How you consume HHC can determine how long HHC stays in your system. For example, smoking or vaping offers a more instantaneous effect than oil-based tinctures and edibles. The stomach takes time to digest edibles, which keeps them long before they kick in, but they stay in your system longer.

  • Frequency Of Use

Beginners who consume a small amount of HHC may not have a problem removing the metabolites. However, constantly using the substance can take the body more time to clean up. 

  • Tolerance Level

A regular user of an HHC product may have a high tolerance to cannabis and spend more time eradicating the metabolites. That is because the more you use the substance, the more the body accumulates it. HHC shows in tests carried out on people with a high tolerance level.

  • Body Weight 

If a user has a large body mass, it takes more time before the person feels the effect of HHC. As a result, you need more of the substance before you can feel the euphoric effects.

  • Metabolism

The metabolic rate can influence how long HHC may stay in the body. Energetic and young people tend to remove HHC metabolites from their systems quickly. 

HHC has a biological half-life of 30 minutes, but several factors can influence the process. The mentioned factors determine how long HHC can stay in a user’s hair, fat cells, or tissues. 

Types Of HHC Drug Testing 

Since we have no specific drug test on HHC, you may be careful because HHC shows on standard drug tests. The detection period of testing methods varies, and here is a breakdown of some of these tests:

  • Urine Tests:  When you take a urine test, HHC may test positive for at least 15 or 30 days, depending on dosing frequency.   If you take edibles, it can show a positive result for about seven days. 
  • Hair Sample Tests: This test can detect substances for at least 90 days.
  • Blood Tests: It can detect metabolites at least 36 hours after use.  
  • Saliva Tests: The test can detect metabolites for about 48 hours after use.

How To Pass An HHC Drug Test 

You may not have to worry about using HHC if it comes from a pure source and has no trace amounts of delta-8 or 9 THC. Here are some tips to help you pass an HHC test. 

  • Don’t Take HHC 

You must stop using any HHC product including HHC cigarettes, cartridges and gummies in those cases, you want to go for a test. If you allow the body to detoxify, you will have a negative test result. Therefore, skip consuming this substance to make room for this process. 

  • Increase Your Hydration

You can consume more water to increase your hydration. We recommend that you avoid sugary drinks, including soda. Hydration can help dilate your urine, especially on test days. The dilation may force you to take another test, but this could lead to a legal problem if it is for a public purpose. 

  • Consume Detoxifying Meals

Eating meals high in fiber and antioxidants can help cleanse your body faster than consuming processed sugars or trans fat meals. You can try to increase your vegetable and fruit intake while you wait out the detoxification period.

  • Increase Your Workout 

Workouts can help you burn fat cells and increase your metabolic rate. We know that many people don’t like a workout, but in the face of a test, you should find the easiest workout regime to help your body.

  • Find Rest 

Your body may find it difficult to burn fats or eradicate metabolites if it cannot rest. Amid your numerous activities, ensure that you have rest at night. 

Ultimately, your personal preference is vital in how you feel about HHC. You should know when to consume HHC for the right kick-in. Furthermore, you should know why you consume the compound and the type of effect you desire.

People who want the mellow high can begin with a smaller dose, while those who can withstand high tolerance levels can increase their dosage.

Remember that this compound functions as a psychoactive substance and must be consumed responsibly. 

Conclusion: Will HHC Show Up In A Drug Test? 

HHC is a new product and needs more research to understand it better. The compound offers users feelings of stimulation and euphoria but can alter their heart rate, body temperature, auditory and visual perception, and cognition. 

We mentioned that the compound offers a more relaxing effect to users than just a high. HHC contains similar metabolites like delta-8 and 9 THC, which means it can register on tests.   On the other hand, HHC provides recreational and therapeutic benefits when consumed in a moderate dose. 

Finally, if you are on prescription medications, you should contact your medical professional to give you the best advice about HHC drugs.


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