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Travelling with HHC in Europe: Which countries allow HHC and which do not?

Controversial HHC

HHC stands for hexahydrocannabinol. It is a compound that is produced in the laboratory where CBD/THC extracted from the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa) is combined with hydrogen molecules. Since THC is illegal in most countries, industrial hemp with a high CBD (cannabidiol) content is used to produce HHC.

The European Union defines legal (technical) hemp as follows: 'Cannabis sativa Linn is a plant of the Cannabaceae family which, according to the provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), contains very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis is mainly grown for industrial purposes and 75 different varieties are registered in the EU catalogue. Due to the very low THC levels, hemp which complies with the provisions of the CAP is not used for the production of narcotic substances."

All imports of hemp are subject to an import licence and there is also a limit of 0.3% for the THC content of raw true hemp and for the THC content of sown seeds.

HHC is found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant, but is more often produced by a chemical process (hydrogenation) and is therefore referred to as a semi-synthetic or synthetic cannabinoid.

Spring and summer 2023: HHC bans several European countries

HHC was discovered in the 1940s. However, it only gained popularity after the 2018 US Farm Bill legalised the cultivation of cannabis with less than 0.3% THC and allowed the extraction of cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, giving rise to new cannabinoids such as CBD and HHC. Cannabis derivatives, including HHC, flooded the US market, from where they entered Europe.

If we look at treaties at international level, such as the 1961 Single Convention and European drug laws, they do not yet regulate this category of cannabinoids, because hexahydrocannabinol is a new substance on the market.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the central resource and confirmed authority on drug issues in Europe (based in Lisbon) and is one of the decentralised agencies of the European Union. 

In April 2023, the EMCDDA issued a report: Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) and related substances, according to which European monitoring authorities recorded HHC for the first time in October 2022. By the end of March 2023, HHC had been detected in 20 EU countries as well as Norway and Switzerland. The EMCDDA also warned that there is currently a lack of research and studies that thoroughly investigate the effects of hexahydrocannabinol on the human body. 

This situation was immediately addressed by some countries, such as Estonia, which was the first EU country to issue a draft law placing HHC on the list of banned psychotropic substances, followed by Austria, Norway, Finland and Switzerland. 

In the Czech Republic, an amendment to the Addictive Substances Act is under preparation to regulate the market for new psychoactive substances, including HHC. This means that HHC will most likely no longer be banned but regulated.

European countries where HHC is likely to be allowed 

Currently, HHC is likely to be allowed in the popular holiday destinations of Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece and Cyprus, as well as Ireland, Luxembourg, Moldova and Romania. Circumstances regarding new cannabinoids are changing rapidly, always check the legislation of the country before travelling to avoid getting into trouble.

Interesting fact: Did you know that Malta became the first EU country to legalise cannabis for recreational use in December 2021? Cannabis can be consumed without penalty in Malta and Luxembourg.

List of European countries where HHC is illegal

  • Albania
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Hungary
  • Netherlands
  • Norway - cannabinoids can only be purchased in a pharmacy
  • Poland
  • Austria
  • Slovakia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

3 tips for travelling with HHC

  • Always check the current legislation of your destination

As national laws can change from day to day, always check the current legislation of your destination before you travel. Make sure you are well informed about local legal standards and behave in accordance with them. What is accepted in one place may not be tolerated elsewhere.

  • Choose safe packaging

When travelling with HHC, choose appropriate packaging to ensure safe transport. Specially designed packaging, containers and cases can be purchased for transporting a variety of substances and substances. These containers protect the contents from moisture, odour leakage and accidental opening. Choose packaging that meets safety standards and reduces the risk of potential complications when transporting HHC.

  • Enquire about the permitted quantity

Check before you travel what is the maximum amount of HHC you can carry. Always observe such limits.

With HHC on the plane?

If you are travelling by plane, it is better to leave the HHC at home. Hexahydrocannabinol is banned in most European countries and could cause you unpleasant problems at the airport. 

If you are travelling to countries where HHC is allowed, you can most likely get it there. Our advice is: "It is better not to travel with HHC, familiarise yourself with the local laws, you may have to buy your products in that country."

Tip: If you want to bring vapes on vacation, be sure to check with the airline about how to transport the vaporizer.

Travelling by car with HHC 

If you will be travelling by car, again check the laws of your destination and the countries you will be passing through. Internet experience of transporting HHC vape pen and cartridges (4×1ml) to Germany suggests that if checked, HHC will be confiscated by customs and German authorities will usually issue a fine. 

Tip: CBD may be preferable for travelling, as CBD derived from hemp with a THC content of up to 0.3% is legal according to the European Union. In the Czech Republic, the THC limit has been raised from 0.3% to 1% for industrial hemp in 2022. Be sure to double-check the laws of the country before you travel.


In the Czech Republic, e-shops and brick-and-mortar stores have been and still are stocked with products containing HHC, but the majority of European countries define HHC as illegal. The situation is the same in neighbouring countries, with HHC banned in Poland, Austria and Slovakia.

Even if you are going to countries where HHC is probably allowed, we recommend that you do not travel with HHC and check the current legislation before you travel.


Author: Canatura

Photo: Shutterstock

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