What is HHC?
Along with the more well-known Delta-8 THC, hexahydrocannabinol belongs to the class of chemicals known as intoxication hemp-derived cannabinoids (IHDCs). IHDCs, which are psychotropic substances originating from the cannabis sativa plant, are produced synthetically and naturally, with many of them being converted from CBD.
Low-THC hemp plants are used to extract CBD, which is then converted into HHC.
It was initially suspected to have been marketed in the US in September 2021, and it was discovered in Europe for the first time in May 2022.
Since October 2022, the EMCDDA has been monitoring the drug through the EU Early Warning System (EWS), and by December, it had been discovered in 70% of EU member states.
It is the first semi-synthetic cannabinoid (SSC) to be reported in the EU, according to the EMCDDA. Since then, HHC acetate (HHC-O) and hexahydrocannabiphorol (HHC-P) have also been discovered.
It is frequently advertised and sold as a substitute for cannabis and THC-containing goods, and it comes in a variety of forms, including low-THC resin and flowers that have been treated with or combined with HHC. There are other products like vape pens, e-liquids, edibles, and oils available.
What are the effects that we are aware of?
About HHC and its potential impacts and/or hazards, very little is currently known.
A small number of laboratory experiments lead to the conclusion that it and THC are very comparable. Research on its pharmacological and behavioral effects in people is, however, lacking.
HHC may appeal to individuals seeking a "legal high" that is more accessible than illicit cannabis since, according to some users, it has effects that are similar to those of cannabis.
Due to the dearth of research and safety information, several European nations have tightened their regulations on the drug.
What is HHC's legal standing?The short answer; it’s a grey area
Due to its origin in hemp plants that may be produced lawfully and have minimal THC levels, HHC exists in a legal gray area.
More than 20 states in the US have prohibited (or are considering prohibiting) the selling of IHDCs.
The EMCDDA notes that since the chemical was first identified as a New Psychoactive chemical (NPS), police and customs agencies have recorded about 50 seizures of it across the EU, totaling about 70 kg and about 100 liters of product.
Following a "technical expert meeting" hosted by the EMCDDA in December 2022, several European nations have taken action to regulate the sale of HHC.