France Bans HHC - Cannactiva

France bans HHC

Today’s news has nothing to do with CBD itself, but with one of its main competitors in many European CBD shops: HHC or hexahydrocannabinol.

HHC, a semi-synthetic derivative of cannabis, has been classified as a drug and banned in France because of its addictive potential. The decision was taken by the Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament (ANSM), the French National Agency for Drug Safety, which included HHC and two of its derivatives in the list of narcotics. The French health authorities have taken this decision based on what they consider to be possible dangers of HHC, including adverse effects and the risk of abuse and dependence.

Legal status of HHC in France

HHC banned in France in June 2023

France has banned the semi-synthetic cannabinoid HHC and two of its derivatives, HHCO (HHC-acetate) and HHCP (hexahydroxycannabiforol), which it moves to its list of narcotic substances. As of June 13, 2023, the production, sale and use of these substances in the country is strictly prohibited.

France thus joins other European countries that have recently banned the sale of HHC, such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

The measure was taken by the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM), after weighing several studies on this new cannabis-derived compound. Research shows that HHC presents a risk of abuse and dependence similar to that of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana. A report on HHC by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, presented just a month before the French ban, further considered that HHC had a potential impact on health and society.

What is HHC?

HHC is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid that is chemically produced from the cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. It is found in minimal quantities in hemp seeds, although the one found commercially is obtained artificially from the chemical transformation of THC extracted from cannabis.

HHC products are mainly sold online and in cannabis and CBD stores, and comes in the form of CBD flowers (sprayed with HHC), vape liquids, hashish, oils and gummies. The concentration of HHC in these products varies and can reach up to 99% purity, depending on the forms and brands.

Although this synthetic cannabinoid was first described in the scientific literature in 1940, it was first detected in Europe in May 2022 in a food product sold as a “sleeping aid” seized by the Danish police.

Dangers of HHC according to the French addiction monitoring center.

Monitoring conducted by the French national addiction surveillance network(CEIP-A) reports the risks attributed to HHC consumption, which are: tremors, vomiting, anxiety, “bad trips”, mental confusion, malaise, tachycardia, chest pain and blood pressure spikes. The intensity of the adverse effects depends on the dose of drug consumed.

The same body warns that the consumption of HHC had increased in France, sometimes without the knowledge of the users, who believed they were consuming CBD.

The HHC business

Despite the fact that HHC has intense psychoactive effects, the substance remained in an uncertain legal zone that allowed its sale. This has been taken advantage of by many traders, who have seen in this new substance an opportunity to make money. Customers seeking psychoactive effects resort to this “illegal” substance (which, due to its novelty, is not yet regulated by any law in many countries).

We have observed this phenomenon in several European countries, not only in France. Journalist Lukas Hurt in his post about cannabis in Prague told us that most CBD shops in the capital had switched to selling HHC. As a novel and unregulated substance, HHC has been moving in a gray area for months.

However, in some countries, the legality of HHC depends on the form of presentation. In the case of Spain, where the sale of cannabinoids for oral use is not permitted, and therefore their possible sale is restricted to products for topical or external use. As a result, you won’t find HHC treats nationwide.

Ban on the sale of HHC in French cannabis stores

The HHC ban has generated controversy. Over the last few months, HHC has become popular in several stores specializing in the sale of CBD (cannabidiol). CBD (cannabidiol) . But, unlike HHC, the sale of CBD is legal in France. CBD is legal in France . This is largely due to the low toxicity of CBD and its safety of use, according to numerous scientific studies and research. In addition, CBD does not CBD does not stoned and numerous studies support that CBD does not produce addiction.

The news of the ban came as no surprise to French cannabis store owners, who had already anticipated the measure and had stopped ordering HHC products weeks ago. However, some retailers are considering offering promotions to clear their stock before fully complying with the ban.

Following the report of the European drug observatory, presented last April, it is foreseeable that other European countries will join the HHC ban in the coming months.

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