Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8 THC, is a psychoactive substance found in the cannabis Sativa plant, two of which are marijuana and hemp. Delta-8 THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids naturally produced by the cannabis plant but is not found in significant amounts in the cannabis plant. As a result, concentrated amounts of delta-8 THC are typically manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).
It is important for consumers to be aware that Delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use under any circumstances. It may be sold in a way that endangers public health and should be kept out of reach, especially of children and pets.
Here are five things you need to know about delta-8 THC to keep you and those you care for safe from products that can pose serious health risks.
1. Delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use and may be marketed in ways that endanger public health.
The FDA is aware of growing concerns about 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 under any circumstances. Some concerns include variability in product formulations and product labels, the content of other cannabinoids and terpenes, and variable delta-8 THC concentrations. Additionally, some of these products may simply be labeled as “hemp products,” which could mislead consumers into associating “hemp” with “non-psychoactive.” Additionally, the FDA is concerned about the proliferation of products that contain delta-8 THC and are not FDA-approved but marketed for therapeutic or medical use. Selling unapproved products with unproven therapeutic benefits not only violates federal law but also puts consumers at risk because these products have not been proven safe or effective. This deceptive marketing of unproven therapies creates a serious public health problem because patients and other consumers may use these therapies in place of approved therapies to treat serious and fatal diseases.
2. The FDA has received reports of adverse events related to products containing delta-8 THC.
The FDA received 104 adverse event reports from patients who consumed delta-8 THC products between December 1, 2020, and February 28, 2022. Of these 104 adverse events reported:
77% were adults, 8% were pediatric patients less than 18 years of age, and 15% did not report age.
55% required intervention (eg evaluation by emergency medical services) or hospitalization.
66% described side effects after consuming delta-8 THC-containing foods (e.g. brownies, gummies).
Side effects include, but are not limited to, hallucinations, vomiting, tremors, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
The National Toxic Control Center received 2,362 exposures of Delta-8 THC products between January 1, 2021 (i.e. the date the Delta-8 THC product code was added to the database) and February 28, 2022. Of the 2,362 exposure cases:
58% were adults, 41% were pediatric patients less than 18 years of age, and 1% did not report age.
40% were related to unintentional exposure to delta-8 THC, and 82% of these unintentional exposures affected pediatric patients.
70% required a medical facility evaluation, of which 8% were admitted to an intensive care unit. 45% of patients requiring healthcare facility evaluation were pediatric patients.
One pediatric case was coded as medical death.
3. Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects.
Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects similar to delta-9 THC (i.e., the component responsible for the “high” that people may experience from using cannabis). FDA is aware of reports in the press that delta-8 THC products make consumers “high”. The FDA is also concerned that delta 8 thc products have the potential to expose consumers to much higher levels of the substance than naturally occurring in cannabis raw extracts. Therefore, the historical use of cannabis cannot be relied upon to establish a level of safety for these products for humans.
4. Delta-8 THC products often use potentially harmful substances.
A chemical that produces the concentration of delta-8 THC required on the market.
The natural amount of delta-8 THC in hemp is very small and additional chemicals are required to convert other cannabinoids in hemp, such as CBD, to delta-8 THC (i.e. synthetic conversion). Concerns about this process include:
Some manufacturers may use potentially unsafe household chemicals to make delta-8 THC through this chemical synthesis process. Additional chemicals can be used to change the color of the final product.