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Does HHC Show Up on a Drug Test?

Everything you need to know about HHC and drug tests.

Drug tests are becoming more and more common in professional settings. Corporate executives, lorry drivers, and EMTs are just a few professionals that have to agree to drug tests. No industry is safe; everything from hospitality to construction is under the spotlight.

With new cannabinoids popping up, people all over America are wondering, ‘Does HHC show up on a drug test?’ and ‘How long does HHC stay in your system?’ In general, you should expect HHC products to show up on drug tests, but the answer isn’t always that simple.

What Is HHC?

HHC, or hexahydrocannabinol (HHC), is one of the trendiest cannabinoids on the market. A cannabinoid is a cluster of related compounds including cannabinol, the active component of cannabis that causes the physical effects.

Despite the new wave of interest in HHC, this cannabinoid was first noted in scientific literature as far back as 1940! 1New cannabinoid HHC in the spotlight as market evolves,” European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon, Portugal, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/news/2023/new-cannabinoid-hhc-spotlight-market-evolves_en

Learn more about HHC, in our article what is HHC is and is it safe to vape.

How Is HHC Made?

HHC naturally occurs in hemp plants but in lower amounts than other cannabinoids. Hemp-derived HHC is not obsolete, but many manufacturers rely on scientific processes. American chemist Roger Adams first discovered HHC when he added hydrogen molecules to delta-9 during a hydrogenation process. This ‘a-ha!’ moment laid the groundwork for HHC products today, which usually rely on science rather than hemp. Lots of manufacturers use HHC that has been scientifically modified from other, more plentiful cannabinoids.

What Effect Does HHC Have?

Due to the very similar chemical structure, HHC is thought to affect the human body just as THC does. That being said, very few studies have been conducted to ascertain the exact effects of HHC 2New cannabinoid HHC in the spotlight as market evolves,” European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon, Portugal, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/news/2023/new-cannabinoid-hhc-spotlight-market-evolves_en, so proceed with caution.

HHC users report a calm, relaxed feeling that alleviates anxiety and depression.

How Does HHC Work? And Is HHC the Same as THC?

HHC is not the same as THC, but the chemical structure is shockingly similar. If you’ve searched ‘Does HHC show up in a drug test?’ this is the section you need to focus on. HHC’s relationship to THC will reveal the likelihood of you passing your upcoming drug test.

When delta-9 THC and HHC are metabolized, they connect to the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system contains a complicated array of cells that send signals to vital parts of the human body.

HHC binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system, just like delta-9 THC. Despite all these similarities, HHC doesn’t metabolize into the same compounds. But that doesn’t mean that you’re out of the woods just yet. According to a 1991 study by Harvey and Brown, HHC cannabinoids metabolize into THC-COOH 3D. J. Harvey, “Comparative in vitro metabolism of the cannabinoids,” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 533-540, 1991. [Online]. Available: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/009130579190359A., just another metabolite of delta-9 that HHC drug tests look for.

To conclude, HHC is similar to THC, but not the same. It produces one of the same metabolites, which is exactly what cannabis drug screens are looking for.

How Long Does HHC Stay in Your System?

How Long Does HHC Stay in Your System?

If you are concerned about HHC and drug tests, you’ve probably Googled that burning question, ‘How long does HHC stay in your system?’

Several factors impact how long HHC products stay in your system, including:

  • Which HHC products you choose – Research has shown that cannabinoids stay in your system for longer when you eat edibles 4M. J. Swortwood, M. N. Newmeyer, M. Andersson, O. A. Abulseoud, K. B. Scheidweiler, and M. A. Huestis, “Cannabinoid disposition in oral fluid after controlled smoked, vaporized, and oral cannabis administration,” Drug Test Anal, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 905-915, Jun. 2017. [Online]. Available: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27647820/ or even candy.
  • Health conditions – If you have any health conditions related to your liver or kidney, you might have to wait a while for HHC to metabolize. Other health conditions and medications can also increase the amount of time that it takes your body to flush out HHC.
  • Your age – As we age, our metabolism slows. Older people will probably metabolize HHC slower than younger people.
  • How often you consume HHC – The more you consume HHC, the more cannabinoids there will be in your fat cells. The body needs time to properly metabolize chemicals like HHC, so you need to account for this when thinking about your upcoming drug test.
  • Amount of fat cells in your body – HHC is fat-soluble, meaning it binds to fat cells. The more fat calls someone has, the longer it will take for HHC to leave their body.
  • How your metabolism reacts to HHC – If you have a fast metabolism, you’re in luck! But if you’re one of the many people who have a slow metabolism, you will have to wait longer for the HHC to exit your system.

Research surrounding HHC is very minimal, so we can’t say for sure how long it will stay in your system. But, we can draw our own conclusions. Like THC and all other cannabinoid metabolites, There’s some interesting adjacent research about THC that could shed a lot of light on HHC.

Research published by the Mayo Clinic found that drug tests can detect THC in urine for more than 30 days after use 5D. M. Hilty, D. C. Ferrer, M. B. Parish, M. Johnston, B. J. Callahan, and K. Yellowlees, “The Effectiveness of Telemental Health: A 2013 Review,” in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, vol. 88, no. 6, pp. 1027-1040, June 2013. Available: https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(16)30825-4/fulltext.

In fact, standard drug tests can detect THC and other cannabinoids for these amounts of time.

  • Single-use of THC: up to 3 days afterward
  • Moderate use of THC, around 4 times a week: 5-7 days
  • Daily use of THC: 10-15 days
  • Heavy use of THC, multiple times a day: 30+ days

Based on these figures, and the fact that the THC molecule has a very similar chemical structure to the HHC molecule, it might be safe to assume that the time frames are similar.

Find out more about how long Delta-8 THC stays in your system.

Does HHC Show Up in a Drug Test?

Does HHC Show Up in a Drug Test?

A standard drug test looks for THC cannabinoids and metabolites. Since THC metabolites are so similar to HHC metabolites, the drug test will probably be positive. Essentially, you will get a false positive result.

Can I Fail a Drug Test if I’ve Consumed HHC?

The simple answer is yes.

Modern drug tests are not designed to specifically test for HHC, but the cannabinoids that they do test positive for are extremely similar. Unfortunately, you will probably get a positive result.

How Many Days Before a Drug Test Should I Stop Taking HHC?

As we’ve mentioned above, THC research gives us a good indication of how long HHC will stay in your system. So, if you only want to use HHC once, make sure that you do so three days before a drug test. If you consume HHC daily, you should stop consuming it just over two weeks before a drug test.

This is where the waters become murky. It’s generally accepted that heavy users will fail a drug test for up to 30 days after consuming HHC, but the answer isn’t quite that simple. HHC drug testing (which is actually THC drug testing) can be conducted in several ways, including hair, blood, and urine samples.

Let’s take a look at all the different types of drug tests.

Urine Tests

Urine tests are by far the most common type of cannabis test. The test examiner will perform a visual exam, a dipstick test, and a microscopic exam. They are looking for metabolites or other biomarkers. Depending on the analysis method, results can take anything from a day to a week.

Hair Tests

For a hair drug test, the examiner will clip a small cluster of hairs from your head with scissors. Your hair will be tested in a lab, and the results can take anywhere from three to five working days.

It is thought that hair tests are less reliable than other drug tests, but recent research suggests otherwise. One 2017 study sampled 136 users who reported not using, lightly using, or heavily using cannabis. The researchers tested for up to a month after use. 77% of heavy users and 39% of light users produced positive results 6A. D. Stern, P. A. Frenette, and A. S. Mansukhani, “The Future of Direct-to-Consumer Clinical Genetic Tests,” Nature Reviews Genetics, vol. 18, no. 7, pp. 440–447, Jul. 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5396143/, which upholds the belief that heavy users are prone to positive results a month or more after using cannabinoids. Even more interesting, non-users didn’t have any false positives, seemingly proving that hair drug tests are extremely reliable.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are one of the most invasive drug tests, so they are quite rare. Especially because blood tests can only detect the THC molecule for up to three to four hours after consumption 7A. A. I. Urits, A. Sharma, S. P. Singh, S. Sharma, and S. Singh, “Chemistry, Metabolism, and Toxicology of Cannabis: Clinical Implications,” Iran J Psychiatry, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 149–156, Fall 2012. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3570572/. However, if you have drug tests written into your contract, your employer might ask you to submit to a blood test for cannabis.

Why Is My Employer Asking for a Drug Test?

Drug screens are not uncommon. Most of the time, they are written into contracts. This goes for all kinds of industries and careers, not just the ones that you might expect!

Usually, drug tests are requested to align with safety policies. If you test positive, you may not be able to safely use the machinery at work or handle sensitive customer information.

Whatever the reason, you need to learn how to get HHC out of your system, and fast. Let’s look at three ways you can rid your body of cannabinoids.

Get HHC Products Out Of Your System - Drink Water

3 Ways to Get HHC Products Out Of Your System

We only have anecdotal evidence to suggest what will flush HHC out of your system, but if you have a drug test in a few days you might want to try these top tips!

Exercise

The only way to remove HHC from your body is to metabolize it. This is a natural bodily function, but there are a few ways that you can make sure your body is metabolizing to the best of its abilities. The top one is exercise. By regularly exercising, you can boost your metabolic rate and increase the speed that your body metabolizes HHC.

Drink Lots of Water

There is some anecdotal evidence that you can flush hemp-derived THC, HHC, and other cannabinoids out of your system by drinking lots of water. Rather than ‘flushing’ the cannabinoids out, water works by increasing your metabolic rate. A study from 2013 found that drinking 500ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30% in both men and women 8M. Vij and A. Vij, “Effect of ‘Water Induced Thermogenesis’ on Body Weight, Body Mass Index and Body Composition of Overweight Subjects,” Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, vol. 7, no. 9, pp. 1894–1896, Sep. 2013. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809630/.

If you drink water just before your drug test you’re unlikely to reap the benefits, but if you boost your water intake for weeks leading up to your drug test, it might be enough to get a negative result. Of course, this only works if you abstain from consuming HHC as well.

Cannabis Detox Kits

This is a tricky one; some people claim that cannabis detox kits work, whereas others will warn you away from them. In essence, cannabis detox kits claim to flush the cannabinoids out of your system. They usually come in the form of pills or a drink.

Cannabis detox kits are legal, but they’re not proven to work. But if you’re desperate, you might want to give one a go! You should always do some research to find out whether a kit is legitimate before making your purchase.

Is There Any 100% Effective Way to Pass a Drug Test?

The only foolproof way to pass a drug test is to abstain from using HHC for around three weeks before your test. If you are a heavy user, you will have to extend your abstinence period to cover a month or more.

Wrapping Up

Although there’s no 100% correct answer to that all-important question ‘Does HHC show up on a drug test?’ we can assume that it does. The similarities between HHC and THC (the chemical compound that most drug tests look for) mean that your drug test will probably be positive, provided you’ve consumed HHC products in the last week or so.

To give yourself the best chance of success, you need to stop using HHC products completely. Or, the next best option, maintain a healthy lifestyle with lots of water and exercise, invest in detox kits, and hope for the best!

Still interested in taking HHC, then check out our top rated HHC vape cartridges.

Sources

Viki Howlett
Viki Howlett
Viki Howlett, a skilled writer with a decade of vaping experience, enriches our website with engaging, well-researched articles, offering readers valuable insights and trustworthy reviews on vaping products and trends.
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