Big Questions About HHC Edibles in Europe and Ireland: The Future of CBD
As the cannabis industry grows, more questions surface about HHC edibles in Europe and Ireland. CBD products like HHC have become increasingly popular, but many people are unsure about their legality. In this article, we will explore the current laws around HHC edibles in Europe and Ireland and discuss whether there is likely to be any change in the future.
How is HHC Produced?
HHC production may seem like an unrelated subject, but it's crucial when trying to determine HHC legality. Commercial HHC edibles are made with CBD isolate, meaning they do not contain any THC. This is important because THC is the compound in cannabis that gets people high and is currently illegal in Europe.
Barring the complexities of CBD, THC, and HHC chemical structure, one may ask: "Is HHC Natural or Synthetic?" Truthfully, HHC is natural and synthetic; unfortunately, this does little to clear the confusion about HHC's legal status. HHC is natural because it occurs in the hemp plant but at low concentrations compared to other cannabinoids like THC. However, HHC is also synthetic because it has been synthesized from other cannabinoids.
CBD isolate is made by extracting CBD from the hemp plant and separating it from other plant matter. However, HHC isn't isolated directly from hemp as the process is too expensive for profitable HHC production. Instead, HHC is made by extracting CBD from the hemp plant and synthesizing the HHC by hydrogenation it in a lab. Hydrogenation makes HHC more stable and produces two twin molecules known as inactive and active HHC.
Essentially the active HHC binds to your brain's receptors triggering the beneficial effects. Separating the two molecules wouldn't produce a cost-effective product, so companies don't try to do it. The simplest difference between THC and HHC is the hydrogen attached to the HHC, which is why many consider it a semi-synthetic product.
HHC Edibles in Europe and Ireland: The Current Law
As mentioned, cannabis products for recreation or containing intoxicating levels of THC are illegal in Europe and Ireland. HHC products, on the other hand, are not currently banned as they do not have high levels of THC. In addition, products like HHC that are hemp-derived operate in a gray area in Europe because they are both natural and semi-synthetic.
While Irish law allows the sale of CBD, HHC edibles are derived from industrial hemp. In other words, if a company plans to sell hemp/CBD products like oils, cosmetics, or HHC edibles in Europe, it must comply with general food and cosmetic safety regulations. Furthermore, CBD products sold in Ireland are almost always marketed as food supplements.
Association limits any Cannabis-derived Product;
It seems that despite approval from the government, even acceptable products suffer from stigma. Medical marijuana is also legal in Ireland, but the government has only set aside five medications that utilize medical marijuana in various forms for listed diseases. A medical consultant can prescribe the drugs listed under the Medical Cannabis Programme for approximately six months. The patient must suffer from:
- Spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis
- Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy
- Severe (treatment-resistant) epilepsy
Unfortunately, Ireland doesn't allow medical professionals to prescribe these medications to someone with chronic pain, even though research supports these medications as effective treatments for severe pain. Ireland has also been largely criticized for the lack of treatment options; the limited treatment options are:
- Aurora High CBD oil drops
- Aurora Sedamen Softgels (5mg of THC per capsule)
- Tilray Oral Solution (1% THC and 1% CBD)
- CannEpil (0.5% THC and 1% CBD)
- Sativex and Epidylolex were approved on a case-by-case basis
Patients can also access these medications if they have explicit approval from the Minister of Health. Still, less than 100 hundred patients have obtained drugs this way. In the Irish market, medical cannabis products fall under the definition expressed in the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) Definition of a Human Medicine.
Illegal Cannabis Edibles Raise Concerns
Ireland and many other European countries have ways to go to make CBD products like HHC edibles more available; however, some companies are already selling HHC and other CBD products online due to their unique status. Many conservative organizations support restrictions limiting hemp-derived CBD products because they deem them unsafe. Unfortunately, some of these products are sold on Facebook Marketplace, TikTok, and more social media outlets that are unproven and unregulated. These unproven "sweets" are causing massive concerns within the Irish population, and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has taken notice.
It's a problem because the edibles sold on these platforms aren't regulated or held to any standard. Organizations can't determine the safety of these products because the manufacturers are unreachable, and no one can hold them accountable. Cannabis sweets are a concern because they are attractive to children and teenagers; plus, they can be confused for real candy based on their packaging. Even if the products are lawfully made, there is no way to safely check their potency or ensure they don't contain harmful contaminants. Products like these give safe, legal products a lousy reputation.
CBD is a Gray Area in Many Countries, Not Just in Ireland
While HHC products are legal in Ireland, they are also widely available online. In Europe, most likely due to the increasing awareness of cannabidiol's therapeutic benefits, the CBD market was worth an estimated $4.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to over 47 billion by 2028. The rapid growth of the European CBD market is likely due to the changing public attitude, more lenient regulations, and the wide range of CBD products available.
Also, the EU is making sweeping changes in marketable hemp foods as the limits for THC were lower than those in other jurisdictions. Under these recent changes, the levels for hempseed-derived oils are set at 7.5mg/kg, while the THC levels for dry hemp foods like hulled and dehulled seeds, flour, and protein powder will be 3.0mg/kg. Producers in Canada and many others are higher than these new levels; non-EU members like Switzerland have set the limits for oils and dry food much higher at 20mg/kg and 10mg/kg, respectively.
THC limits for hemp-derived products like HHC are limited to 0.02% in the EU, and Ireland, which puts extreme pressure on manufacturers and growers alike to grow the appropriate strains and manufacture HHC products that meet these regulations. While the current limitations slow the CBD market’s growth, these changes give a better understanding of how HHC products can be marketed and sold in the future. It also makes it more likely that as HHC is studied and CBD's therapeutic benefits are revealed, the Irish government will change its policies to align with other nations like Switzerland or Canada.
The Future of HHC and CBD in Europe and Ireland
The future of Ireland's CBD industry rests with pharmaceuticals; it's appropriate to assume this because Pfizer built its Ringaskiddy facility in 1998 to support Viagra production. As of 2018, it was the largest producer of the drug, and Pfizer's dedication to Ireland and its capacity for "Big Pharma" has translated to other companies planting roots. Within 60 years of an international drug company arriving in Ireland, the world's top-ten pharmaceutical companies have facilities in the country.
Investment in pharmaceuticals in Ireland is second to Switzerland, according to IDA Ireland; the trend shows no signs of slowing down either. In addition, Life Sciences have transformed Ireland's economy, like the hemp industry, making CBD products a natural part of medical science and pain management.
With the expansion of medical cannabis and CBD products, products like HHC and its derivatives will become more available. HHC manufacturers like Hempire Gardens are in a great position to provide CBD products that meet the needs and exceed the expectations of European and Irish HHC users.
Hempire Gardens Provides a High-Quality, Safe HHC Products
At Hempire Gardens, the quality, safety, and efficacy of our HHC products are critical to us. We only use the highest quality strains available to produce a potent HHC product, and our process follows the strict regulations set by the EU. If you were to believe that making HHC products that are safe, organic, and follow 0.2% THC guidelines, you would be right. Hempire Gardens HHC products are all those things, but we also go a step further to ensure that our HHC edibles are of the highest quality.
We moved our operations to Spain because of the optimal climate for cultivating industrial hemp strains. Our dedication to providing safe, great-tasting edibles at competitive prices aligns with our mission statement, and we will always remain transparent about our products. If you're interested in a safe, legal HHC edible, we invite you to shop at our online store. We also have a helpful customer service department for questions; please visit our website for more updates on CBD products.