Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued warnings for cannabis products that contain delta-8. The CDC and FDA warn that delta-8 cannabis products can get users higher than thought due to the products often being marketed as “hemp” products, which some consumers may conflate with “nonpsychoactive.” And while some may find that amusing, the bodies warn that delta-8 cannabis products also have more adverse health effects than generally known—including the possibility of coma.
Delta-8 is short for delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance found in cannabis plants. While THC products are legal in many states, the FDA now stresses that no delta-8 products have been evaluated by the organization. The lack of regulated marketing of the product—and lack of warning labels—means that consumers may not know what they are getting themselves in for.
Between December 2020 and July 2021, poison control centers and emergency rooms have seen an increase in people needing care due to ingesting delta-8 products. Eighteen percent of those incidents required intensive care unit hospitalizations, and 39% of those incidents were related to people under 18 years of age. Another worry pointed out by the CDC is that delta-8 products often come in the form of gummy candies, which may make them appealing to children who may have no understanding that they contain psychoactive substances.
The CDC and FDA are urging people to be aware of the dangers of delta-8 cannabis products as well as to be aware that “hemp” products may contain delta-8 THC even if not explicitly stated, which means a user could consume the hemp product thinking it won’t make them high, when in actuality it may. And of course, it goes without saying that parents who are consuming any kind of “hemp” gummies, candies, or chocolates should keep the products out of reach of their kids as such products may contain delta-8 THC without the purchaser being aware.
The CDC says that if a user experiences adverse effects after consuming a product that may contain delta-8 they should immediately call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or dial 911.