In just one week, sales of HHC vapes in the small vejp shop increased tenfold. The likely reason: media warnings focusing on youth use and the risks of the hitherto legal drug derived from cannabis.
"The new customers are actually mostly older people who have heard that it helps with stress and pain. And they often come back and buy more"
From three disposable models sold per day to over 100. After customs authorities and the police have warned that young people are buying the still legal drug HHC, sales have skyrocketed. At least in one of the very few pure vejp shops that actually sell HHC vapes.
"Before the media reported this, they were sold quite slowly, 3-5 a day. Now it's over 100 a day," the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Vejpkollen.
From industrial hemp to vape
HHC extracted from industrial hemp and has similar effects to THC (traditional cannabis hemp). However, due to its origin, HHC has not been classified as a drug in Sweden. The substance has therefore become popular and is available in everything from convenience stores to candy shops in the form of sweets and as an ingredient in the e-liquid of some disposable cigarettes.
Get vejp shops selling
Vejkollen surveyed Swedish vejp shoppers and found that in the month of April just a dedicated e-cigarette shop selling the controversial product - in the form of a disposable model.
"I've had it in the range for a little more than two months" says the owner when Vejpkollen contacts the shop.
Sensitive issue in the 1TP8 World
They want to remain anonymous so as not to offend colleagues in the industry, they say. Cannabis, THC, has long been a divisive issue among entrepreneurs and users in the vejp industry, with many believing that a drug of abuse should not be confused with a technology for inhaling nicotine - a tool primarily used for smoking cessation. Nevertheless, the widespread legalisation of cannabis in the US has gone hand in hand with vejp technology. Properly processed, cannabis extract can be mixed into an e-liquid and vejpas safely, which has become popular with users in several states. However, improperly mixed cannabis juice can lead to both illness and death, as became apparent in 2019 when 60 people died after vejpaking THC juice diluted with it. the non-water-soluble substance e-acetate.
Received media attention
HHC has been relatively unknown in Sweden but has recently received increasing attention, not least since the drug made headlines in some major media outlets in the spring. The reports and articles are characterised by both doctors and police officers warning "about the new drug" that attracts young people with "funny names" and good flavours.
From three to 100 units sold
Ironically, it was precisely after some critical reports on TV4 as the shop owner saw drastic changes in sales.
"We used to sell a maximum of 5 units per day. After the media warnings, we started selling 100+ per day," the shop owner told Vejpkollen.
Mostly older people buy
They also reacted to who was buying the products. According to Swedish Customs, HHC products are targeted at young people through various "candy flavours". In the shop that Vejpkollen was in contact with, each purchase requires a check via BankID, where the age is registered.
"Before it took off, the typical customer was 18-25 years old. Now, after the attention, more than half of the customers are between 50 and 70 years old."
Why do you think that is?
"I think a lot of older people have heard that cannabis can help them get rid of pain, sleep problems, appetite, stress and so on. And they actually come back for refills after trying it."
Could be classified as a drug
HHC is likely to be classified as a drug in the fairly near future. This has happened in both Denmark and Finland. The Public Health Agency is currently investigating HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) and is expected to submit a proposal for a ban to the government before the summer.
"I will of course stop selling the products as soon as they become illegal," the shop owner told Vejpkollen.