Can we really ban HHC in France?

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The French Minister of Health, François Braun, announced on Monday May 15 that the sale of products based on hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) should be banned quickly.

“I think it’s a matter of weeks,” said the minister, when asked about a possible ban on HHC on Franceinfo. However, is it as easy to ban HCC in France as to say it on a TV set?

HHC in Europe

In a technical report published in April, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), which centralizes information on drugs and drug addiction, recalls that HHC is not on the list of conventions of the United Nations of 1961 and 1971, which are used to prohibit cannabis. In the European Union, HHC is currently monitored as a new psychoactive substance by the EMCDDA through their early warning system.

The report notes that the pharmacological and behavioral effects of HHC in humans have not been studied, although anecdotal reports from users indicate that its effects are similar to those of cannabis and Δ9-THC. According to the EMCDDA, HHC does not appear to have any documented legitimate uses.

At the date of the report, no Member State had “controlled” – meaning banning – HHC. In the meantime, Finland, Austria or Switzerland have done so.

Ban HHC in France

On what, then, could the prohibition be based? In an article in Ouest-France, Anne Batisse, head of the Paris Addictovigilance Center (AP-HP) explains that “France classifies substances according to health complications, but we still have few reports on HHC. »

And the complexity probably rests on this point. Legally, Yann Bisiou, specialist in drug law, explains to us that the prohibition of HHC in France would probably be based on its classification as a narcotic.

To do this, either it is already included in the list of narcotics, for example in the category of cyclohexylphenols as was mentioned at one time, and the case of HHC is settled.

Either it is not one and its prohibition may take longer. It would then be based “on the need to have to prove the risk to public health and/or the risk of addiction”. Which would mean several months, even years, to study.

The Ministry of Health told Le Monde that “surveys have been launched in regional addiction monitoring centers to define the effects of the substance”, with results expected in “June”.

To date, a report has been reported from drug addiction assessment and information centers of “psychoactive effects in a person after respiratory exposure to CBD containing HHC” according to the Directorate General of Health, still in the world.

For Anne Batisse, “the danger [du HHC] it is above all that uninformed users could rush towards this so-called “legal” cannabis without recommending its use, without knowing that this substance is accident-prone and without us yet knowing all the risks”.

Associations alert them to the risks of heavy metals and solvent residues and the lack of traceability and transparency on the origin and manufacture of HHC. Arguments formerly used for… CBD.

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