National poison control centers received 661 exposure cases of delta-8 THC products between January 2018 and July 31, 2021, 660 of which occurred between January 1, 2021, and July 31, 2021. Of the 661 exposure cases:
Here are 5 things you should know about delta-8 THC to keep you and those you care for safe from products that may pose serious health risks:
3. Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects.
Manufacturers are packaging and labeling these products in ways that may appeal to children (gummies, chocolates, cookies, candies, etc.). These products may be purchased online, as well as at a variety of retailers, including convenience stores and gas stations, where there may not be age limits on who can purchase these products. As discussed above, there have been numerous poison control center alerts involving pediatric patients who were exposed to delta-8 THC-containing products. Additionally, animal poison control centers have indicated a sharp overall increase in accidental exposure of pets to these products. Keep these products out of reach of children and pets.
The FDA is aware of the growing concerns surrounding delta-8 THC products currently being sold online and in stores. These products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context. Some concerns include variability in product formulations and product labeling, other cannabinoid and terpene content, and variable delta-8 THC concentrations. Additionally, some of these products may be labeled simply as “hemp products,” which may mislead consumers who associate “hemp” with “non-psychoactive.” Furthermore, the FDA is concerned by the proliferation of products that contain delta-8 THC and are marketed for therapeutic or medical uses, although they have not been approved by the FDA. Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of federal law, but also can put consumers at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective. This deceptive marketing of unproven treatments raises significant public health concerns because patients and other consumers may use them instead of approved therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases.
2. The FDA has received adverse event reports involving delta-8 THC-containing products.
Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects, similar to delta-9 THC (i.e., the component responsible for the “high” people may experience from using cannabis). The FDA is aware of media reports of delta-8 THC products getting consumers “high.” The FDA is also concerned that delta-8 THC products likely expose consumers to much higher levels of the substance than are naturally occurring in hemp cannabis raw extracts. Thus, historical use of cannabis cannot be relied upon in establishing a level of safety for these products in humans.
“Cannabis has over 150 cannabinoids. Delta-8 is one of them,” explains Dr. Felecia Dawson, a physician and cannabis advocate. “Delta-8 can naturally occur in cannabis and hemp in minute amounts, [but] what’s being sold as Delta-8 is actually being produced by a chemical reaction from CBD using some type of acid.”
That means the Delta-8 available in many states isn’t simply extracted from a plant, it’s being made in a lab. While this doesn’t necessarily mean Delta-8 is bad for you, Dr. Dawson explains that it does mean that we don’t necessarily know about the long-term safety of taking large amounts of Delta-8 when it normally occurs in such small amounts in the plant.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Delta-8 is listed as a Schedule 1 Drug — meaning some legal experts consider Delta-8 to be a federally controlled substance — especially now that it has been banned by several states.
“Delta-9 THC is the most widely studied cannabinoid in the cannabis plant and is believed to be primarily responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis,” explains Dr. Jeff Chen, who is the founder (and former direct) of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, as well as the CEO and CoFounder of Radicle Science. “Delta 8-THC is an isomer of Delta-9 THC, which means they have very similar atoms and structure but are not identical.”
What’s the difference between Delta-8 and regular cannabis?
The main difference? While Delta-8 is very similar to Delta-9 THC, Dr. Chen explains that it may be less potent — meaning you’ll need a significantly larger dose of Delta-8 to experience the same level of high. This might be a selling point for some people who are looking for an alternative in states where cannabis isn’t legal, but there are two problems with Delta-8: legality and safety.
The second problem with Delta-8? Its questionable legal status means there isn’t as much research on the safety and efficacy of Delta-8, as well as a lack of regulation over the production and sales of Delta-8 products, so it’s hard to determine whether or not these products are safe for consumption over the long-term.
With so many options to choose from, even avid users might be feeling a little lost. Wondering which choice is right for you? Here’s what you need to know.
What are the differences between CBD, Delta-8, and regular cannabis?
As many states across the country have legalized cannabis — and CBD products can now be found almost everywhere — the popularity of cannabis-based products continues to rise. In the last few months, however, there’s been another surge in popularity for another type of cannabinoid: Delta-8.
The marijuana plant contains a wide variety of chemical compounds referred to as cannabinoids. The most commonly known cannabinoid is Delta-9 THC, typically known only as THC. This is the naturally occurring psychoactive drug found in regular cannabis that produces a “high” effect for its users.