H4CBD, THC-P, HHC, ojemine. Some things are popular for no explainable reason. They get their own TV show and are presented from their best side, but what exactly they now want to contribute to the good of the community or communicate remains a secret. Just like the reason why we fall for them. If we knew the answer, there might be less watching Keeping up with the Kardashians and more loud questioning of phenomena that are presented to us as “simply only good guys”..
Last year, hexahydrocannabinol, or HHC for short, got the attention it needed to bathe in fame. A synthetically produced substance whose level of research does not even begin to do justice to the speed at which consumption is increasing. When researching the risks, one reads this and that and, above all, that there are too few facts available from a scientific point of view to assess them concretely. An excellent basis for legal sales in Germany. Strangely, this is exactly what is withheld from products naturally derived from the hemp plant, such as CBD. An industry, including the associated agricultural sector, whose business owners are regularly faced with the challenges of German bureaucracy, on the one hand. On the other, rising sales figures of a derivative hydrogenated from THC.
WHAT IS HEXAHYDROCANNABINOL (HHC)?
Although it has been known for over 80 years thanks to the chemist Roger Adams, HHC has had a rather shadowy existence to date. This is because, compared to its cannabinoid relatives such as CBD and THC, it is only hidden so minimally within the hemp plant that it is by no means sufficient for commercial marketing. When it comes to marketing tricks that advertise it as “natural”, it is important to realise that synthetic processes must be used to produce it in usable quantities. Hydrogenation is used to change the composition of the cannabinoids under pressure with hydrogen and convert them into hexahydrocannabinol.
Contaminated residues, such as the heavy metals used in the process, can cause enormous damage to health. When inhaled, temporarily added vitamin E acetate in particular can be dangerous, as it releases a toxic compound when heated. The lack of legal regulations on controls that guarantee quality and purity therefore represents a significant problem. A large number of products are manufactured in the Czech Republic due to the simplified framework conditions. Unfortunately, false certificates and laboratory analyses are not uncommon. Transparency regarding impurities and production varies considerably between suppliers and clarity therefore seems almost impossible.
IS HHC LEGAL AND WHERE CAN YOU BUY HHC?
The run on the substance that is nevertheless taking place is often explained by the fact that it is the most obvious legal alternative to cannabis. But the fact is that it is not a copy, but a psychedelic in its own right. Even if the effect may show parallels, the structure is completely different. You can buy an HHC vape or try HHC edibles in pretty much any common headshop. As it can also be smoked in the form of flowers or concentrates, similar to cannabis, HHC products are also available in smoking accessories shops. For us, this is not an option due to the unresearched risks and we vehemently advise against HHC consumption.
This is exactly what the health ministries of most European countries thought. In Austria, Luxembourg, France and the United Kingdom, the synthetic cannabinoid is illegal. In Germany, the “New Psychoactive Substances Act” (NpSG) regulates psychoactive substances. It is absurd that the “semi-synthetic” HHC is considered “naturally produced” and therefore does not fall under this law. It is even more absurd that the associated certifications to prove natural production are not subject to any controls. Let’s hope that the change announced by the government materialises and HHC is included this year.
NO RISK IS SURELY MORE FUN – EFFECTS AND RISKS OF HHC
It is pure madness that research into HHC and the two variants 9R HHC and 9S HHC is still in its infancy and that it is therefore not yet possible to understand the exact modes of action and possible long-term risks. Analyses of experience reports from the Internet provide information about possible health damage, the risk of addiction and the effects.
Its use therefore remains questionable. While studies on THC, CBD oils and CBD flowers go back decades, this is not the case with HHC. It can only be assumed that a psychoactive effect is triggered by interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, similar to delta-9-THC. An effect that is not present with CBD, as it influences the endocannabinoid system. And so the significant lack of comprehensive knowledge about the long-term effects and risks makes users a kind of “crash test dummy”. Existing findings are mainly based on tests with animals, including a study published in 2023 by Giuseppe Cannazza on mice, which shows that spontaneous movement and pain relief, among other things, are significantly affected.
It can be assumed that subjective perception is influential. And the known potential risks associated with the consumption of psychoactive substances do not stop at HHC:
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Dry mouth and reddened eyes
TELL ME WHY
In Germany, it remains completely unclear why the critical facts are being ignored. A ban on natural plant products, but not on synthetic and unresearched psychedelics. While a legislative process to decriminalize a plant, also known as CanG, has the potential to become a comedy show in Germany, people are enjoying the increasing demand for synthetic substances that are freely available for sale.
We don’t know what’s next, what might pop up around the corner in a bizarre costume, but surely all this can’t actually be the reality in which we hope for this global community dedicated to wellbeing and getting the attention from nature that is otherwise reserved for reality stars?
We simply continue to trust in the one and only green: hemp. And instead of playing with our health, we opt for a round of Tetris – colorful blocks, but at least the ground remains firm under our feet.
SEE YOU ON THE GREEN SIDE! PS: We love you… And we don’t want to withhold the current status of the CanG from you. At the beginning of December, the SPD was still saying that they were on the home straight of decriminalizing cannabis, but just one week later there was sudden criticism from within their own ranks. If the draft were to be implemented in its unchanged form, there would be a clear rejection. The second reading, which had been originally postponed to mid-December, could still not be found on any meeting agenda at the beginning of January 2024… And so the big wait remains for the next news, full of hope that it will not be yet another not funny joke.