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Austria adds HHC to list of psychoactive substances



Photo: DR

Consumption of products containing hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) in Austria is on the rise. However, and since there is still a lack of scientific data on the potential consequences of its consumption on human health, the Austrian Ministry of Health decided to include HHC in the New Ordinance on Psychoactive Substances (NPSV). This regulation prohibits the production and trade of synthetically produced HHC products, but possession and consumption remain unpunished. 

Synthetic HHC products, which are increasingly marketed and consumed in Austria, are now subject to this regulation. The decision aims to protect consumers from potential risks to their health in the future, as there is still not enough scientific knowledge about the short and long-term effects of HHC consumption by humans. The new regulation came into force from the 23rd of March.

Like THC and CBD, HHC can be naturally produced by the cannabis plant and arises through the process of natural degradation of THC, although this results in very residual amounts, making the compound used in the various HHC products available on the market is obtained by laboratory processes of hydrogenation of cannabis extracts, thus making it a semi-synthetic product.

According to the Austrian Minister of Health, Johannes Rauch, “as a new psychoactive substance, the production and marketing of synthetically produced HHC is prohibited until we have sufficient knowledge about the health consequences. The possible short-term or long-term health consequences are still unknown,” he said.

Austria is now following the example of other European countries and health experts in including HHC in the NPSV. Finland has also classified HHC as a new psychoactive substance and Belgium and Hungary are expected to follow suit soon. Other European countries are also discussing the future use of synthetically manufactured HHC products.

The inclusion of HHC in the NPSV in Austria is a necessary step to protect consumers from potential health risks associated with its consumption. The regulation prohibits the production and trade of synthetic HHC products until there is sufficient scientific data on their potential health consequences. As more countries follow suit, it is expected that the use of HHC will be better understood and regulated in the future.


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