6 Apr, 2024 @ 09:48
2 mins read

Warning over ‘weed cookies’ sold in Spain: Woman claims she was ill and vomiting for seven hours after eating the laced treat

SPANISH media has reported that two people were poisoned in Madrid and exhibited symptoms of vomiting and intense dizziness after ingesting cookies laced with HHC, a semi-synthetic CBD derivative made from the cannabis plant.

The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition received a notification from the Community of Madrid that HHC was present in two products being sold by a Czech brand called Weed Nation and released an advisory on March 22. 

The two victims reportedly suffered severe nausea, vomiting, and neurological symptoms after ingesting the edibles.

One of the products is sold under the name “Cookies HHC,” and looks like a bag of 30 edible biscuits, while the other is called “HHC Gummies” and comes in a cylindrical plastic container of 42 gummies. 

Confusingly, both products display messages on their packaging warning against consumption, despite being cookies and gummies. 

“Product for technical or research use,” the message reads. 

“Not fit for human consumption. Keep out of reach of children.”

HHC is a semi-synthetic cannabis derivative present in many “cannabis” products sold in countries where THC is illegal, like Spain. Photo: Aesan

The alert has been sent to each autonomous community for authorities to monitor for the products, and warns anyone who has the products in their home to abstain from using them. 

Hexahydrocannabinol — or HHC — occurs naturally in small amounts in the cannabis plant. 

It was discovered in the 1940s and its synthesis process was patented. 

According to a report by Spanish alternative newspaper El Salto Diario, 20 European Union countries have detected HHC circulating within their borders. 

The substance has been banned in France, Austria, and Finland. 

But while the open sale of THC is illegal in Spain, few European countries have legal frameworks to regulate HHC. 

This means HHC products can be sold legally in specialty stores in Spain. 

There are reportedly dozens of these shops in Madrid.

These shops sell cookies, gummies, creams, drinks, vapes, and other products made from CBD — a legal, non-psychoactive chemical derived from the cannabis plant used around the world to treat seizures, chronic pain, and other conditions. 

Many also sell vapes, plant material, and gummies made with HHC, a cannabis-derived chemical that is reported to have psychoactive effects similar to those of THC — the psychoactive component in marijuana that heightens sensations and makes users feel high. 

Nowadays, most HHC sold in stores in Europe is semi-synthetic, obtained via adding hydrogen to CBD molecules, as it can only be naturally obtained via THC, which remains illegal. 

According to a 2023 report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drugs Addiction, the effects of HHC on humans have not been widely studied, although animal testing has revealed that its effects would likely be “qualitatively and quantitatively similar to those of THC.” 

However, the report also notes that exposure to contaminants and byproducts produced in the unregulated manufacturing process may pose unforeseen risks. 

Additionally, there’s a chance that HHC products may contain traces of heavy metals produced by the catalyst used to saturate the molecules in hydrogen.

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