HHC is not banned in the country. It is a cannabinoid obtained from hemp. In the past three months, the Pilsen University Hospital has admitted eleven juveniles who overdosed on HHC. “We treated most of them at the emergency department and then released them to home care,” explained Gabriela Levorová, spokeswoman for the medical facility.
The patients had convulsions, stomach problems and were disorientated. Levorová added that some of them ended up in a psychiatric clinic, where the results confirmed that they had taken a combination of several addictive substances.
We also observed aggressiveness or, on the contrary, sleepiness, possibly convulsions.
Doctors at the Children’s Department of the Domažlicka Hospital have recently treated three teenagers with acute HHC poisoning. “Girls aged fourteen and sixteen took the candies, I suppose. The 16-year-old boy had an electronic cigarette with the specified substance,” said the head of the local department, Lenka Dvořáková.
Patients complained of intense heart palpitations, a feeling of vomiting, dry mouth. “We also observed aggressiveness or, on the contrary, sleepiness, possibly convulsions,” the doctor described.
Cases of HHC intoxication were also dealt with in the České Budějovice hospital, as confirmed by its spokeswoman Iva Nováková. However, she did not disclose the exact number of cases. She only wrote that they are registering an increase in units. They are mostly high school students.
Employees of the Pilsen Drug Prevention and Therapy Center usually work with the same age group. Its director, Petr Hrouzek, told Novinkám that young people often encounter HHC. “Last year, twenty clients came to our clinic who already had problems with the use of cannabis substances. It was usually a combination of HHC with THC or CBD,” he outlined.
He added that the market offer is developing very quickly and the state does not have time to regulate sales. “HHC is readily available in vending machines, grocery stores, online. It is sold as candies, but also as oils, various solutions or as refills for electronic cigarettes. They don’t usually test for this substance, which young people take as an advantage,” he pointed out.
According to Matěj Šolec, who works at the Cannaland store in Pilsen, high school students try to circumvent the rules. “During the holidays and the beginning of the school year, someone came to us at least once a day and wanted to buy an HHC product. But we always want a passport. Once they even presented a fake document. We are trying to be careful in this regard,” stressed Šolc.
However, the products can also be ordered from their e-shop. “The documents should be checked by the courier. We know that the system is not perfect, so we are working to improve it,” he said.
National anti-drug coordinator Jindřich Vobořil (ODS) identified candies and confectionery with HHC as a big problem. He considers it extremely unethical to offer them to children, even in an attractive form. He therefore called on manufacturers and sellers to recall the products. The regulation of the market with new psychoactive substances is dealt with by a parliamentary proposal, which is currently in its second reading.