HHC Legal? Information & the current situation

The question of the legality of HHC in Germany is currently a hotly debated topic online. Due to its psychoactive effects, HHC is often seen as an alternative to THC. But if HHC and THC have similar effects, could HHC be legal? Should Germany soon expect a ban on HHC, similar to the one in Austria? Is HHC comparable to Spice? And why is HHC available in online stores?

In this article, we explain why the legal and regulatory situation of HHC is not entirely clear and under what conditions HHC could be illegal.

What is HHC?

First, let's clarify the question: What is HHC?

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is a cannabinoid that occurs in small quantities in the cannabis plant. The effects of HHC are similar to THC, although the HHC high may be milder - depending on the dosage of HHC. According to the logic of the legislation, HHC should be banned. However, the legal situation is unclear and a possible ban of HHC seems to be delayed.

Is HHC legal in Germany?

So far, HHC seems to be legal in Germany - at least the increasing number of HHC-containing products on the market suggests so. However, we cannot say with absolute certainty that HHC is legal for the following reason:

According to the New Psychoactive Substances Act (NpSG), synthetic cannabinoids - so-called cannabinoid mimetics - are prohibited. Cannabinoid mimetics are produced artificially and are not extracted from the cannabis plant. An example of this is Spice or K2, which is rightly banned due to strong and dangerous side effects.

In the case of hexahydrocannabinol, the crucial question is whether HHC is produced synthetically or whether HHC occurs naturally in the cannabis plant.

Drivers may also be interested: Am I allowed to drive after consuming HHC, how can THC breakdown be accelerated and is HHC detectable?

Why is HHC legal?

Since the starting material for HHC occurs naturally in the cannabis plant and HHC is produced by hydrogenation, HHC is often referred to as a semi-synthetic cannabinoid. Therefore, many HHC producers believe that the NpSG does not apply to their HHC-containing products and HHC production, even if HHC is considered a drug.

Furthermore, since HHC is not listed in the Narcotics Act (BtMG), many HHC producers and consumers believe that HHC is legal. This would make all products from HHC flowers to HHC vape legal in Germany.

Is there an age restriction for HHC?
Regardless of the question of the legality of HHC, most suppliers of HHC have set an age restriction for their products. This means that HHC is available from the age of 18. Nevertheless, we would advise against the consumption of HHC Joint and Co. in this age group. Due to the structural similarity of HHC to THC, it must be assumed that the effect of hexahydrocannabinol can have a harmful influence on brain development. Therefore, HHC should not be consumed before brain development is complete.

Is HHC banned?

HHC has an intoxicating effect, side effects of HHC are possible and nothing is known about the long-term effects. From this point of view, it is likely that HHC will be banned. However, it is also possible that bureaucratic obstacles will delay a possible ban on HHC until cannabis is legalized. In any case, HHC has been monitored by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction since December 2022.

Legal situation of HHC in Austria
The question of the legality of HHC is complicated by the fact that different legal and statutory regulations apply in each country. Since March 2023 , the Austrian Ministry of Health has classified HHC as a new psychoactive substance. HHC is therefore banned in Austria. According to OTS: "Production and trade are thus prohibited, but possession and consumption remain exempt from punishment." It was also banned in Switzerland. HHC has now also been banned in France and Switzerland.

Health effects of HHC

The effects of HHC on the human body and the potential health risks have not yet been fully researched. This means that the long-term effects of consuming HHC are still unknown. Similar to other cannabinoids, the use of HHC could lead to short-term effects such as altered state of consciousness, euphoria or relaxation, but also to potential side effects such as anxiety, paranoia or cognitive impairment.

Legal situation in an international context

In addition to Germany and Austria, there are also different legal opinions and laws regarding HHC in other countries. In some countries, HHC may fall under existing controlled substance laws, while in others it may be considered a legal substance. This international legal pluralism makes the situation complex for manufacturers, distributors and consumers.

Possible regulation and control

Given the increasing popularity of HHC, greater regulation and control of the market could play a role in the future. This could include measures such as quality controls, restrictions on marketing and sales, and strict labeling requirements to increase safety and transparency for consumers.

Need for research

There is an urgent need for further research to better understand the effects of HHC. Scientific studies investigating the pharmacological properties, safety and potential of HHC as a therapeutic agent are needed to make informed decisions about the legal classification and use of HHC.

Public perception and education

Public perception of HHC and other cannabinoids is increasingly characterized by a mixture of curiosity and caution. Educational initiatives could help to clarify misconceptions and promote a more conscious understanding of the potential risks and benefits of HHC.

Subject to possible changes in the law or case law to the contrary, our conclusion based on current knowledge is that

HHCis legal in Germany. This means that HHC products such as HHC vape or HHC flowers would also be legal - provided they do not exceed the legal limit for THC. However, it is quite possible that there will be changes to the law or another form of ban on hexahydrocannabinol in the near future.