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Taiwanese tourists report falling ill after eating ‘cannabis gummies’ in Japan

Gummies containing HHCH face imminent ban in Japan after reported illnesses

HHCH gummies manufactured by a Japanese company. (Company website photo)

HHCH gummies manufactured by a Japanese company. (Company website photo)

Update: 2023-11-22 14:30

Taiwan's food and drug regulator said Wednesday (Nov. 22) that although HHCH has not been classified as a prohibited substance or medication, the import or sale of related products contravenes the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法). Breaches are subject to penalties, including fines of up to NT$200 million (US$6.34 million), wrote CNA.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Travelers to Japan are advised to avoid consuming gummies containing HHCH, a synthetic cannabinoid derivative, due to reported cases of individuals developing health issues following ingestion.

Fan Chen-kuo (范振國), secretary-general of the government-funded Taiwan-Japan Relations Association (TJRA), said in a press conference on Tuesday (Nov. 21) that Taiwan’s representative offices in Japan have received reports of citizens seeking assistance for symptoms like nausea, convulsions, and lethargy linked to HHCH gummies, wrote CNA.

TJRA emphasized caution against the growing popularity of HHCH-laced snacks in Japan. HHCH, also known as Hexahydrocannabihexol, is a cannabis-derived compound that emulates THC found in marijuana.

Known for its hallucinogenic effects, THC is prohibited in Japan, but not HHCH. The Japanese government is considering a ban on HHCH that could take effect this week, according to the Japan Times.

The measure was prompted by illnesses in Tokyo and Osaka associated with the consumption of HHCH gummy candies. The Osaka-based company responsible for manufacturing these gummies has been instructed to halt sales amid an investigation, reported the Asahi Shimbun.

Despite potential bans, the report suggested that prohibiting HHCH may not entirely prevent the creation of products containing similar chemical compositions.