The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory concerning delta-8 THC.
The acronym THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is most often associated with delta-9 THC – the intoxicating cannabinoid. However, it’s not the only tetrahydrocannabinol in town. Among others, cannabis also contains small quantities of delta-8 THC, which isn’t as potent as delta-9.
Furthermore, cannabidiol (CBD) can be converted into delta-8 THC. Given hemp is legal in the USA and can have high levels of CBD, this gave rise to using hemp as a source of CBD to then convert to delta-8.
The legal side of this is murky and it’s this grey area that has given rise to delta-8 products increasingly appearing for sale in the USA in all sorts of outlets. The Hemp Industries Association has taken a position delta-8 extracted from hemp is not a controlled substance under federal law. But some states have and are seeking to ban or tightly control delta-8 THC.
The CDC has issued an alert regarding the potential for adverse events due to insufficient labeling of products containing THC and CBD..
“As such, products that contain delta-8 THC but are labeled with only delta-9 THC content rather than with total THC content likely underestimate the psychoactive potential of these products for consumers,” it states.
The CDC is also concerned delta-8 products may also have the potential to be confused with hemp or CBD products that are not intoxicating. This could be particularly problematic in relation to activities such as driving and and safety at work.
The CDC reports there have been an increase in “adverse events” involving delta-8 THC. From January 1 to July 31, 2021, 660 delta-8 THC exposures were recorded, with 18 percent of exposures resulting in hospitalization and 39% involving pediatric patients less than 18 years of age.
While in many cases these hospitalisations may just consist of monitoring, consumers need to understand what they are consuming and ensuring those who shouldn’t be consuming such products – such as their children – don’t have access to them.
The CDC also notes the health effects of delta-8 THC have not yet been researched extensively and are not well-understood.
The full CDC advisory can be viewed here.