The FDA and the CDC recently issued warnings about the serious health risks associated with delta-8 THC, a popular, synthetically manufactured cannabinoid product. These warnings underscore much of what we have been calling attention to throughout our efforts: there is not enough, credible testing and transparency around consumer CBD – and THC as this warning suggests – products that are being sold and marketed to consumers.
While THC and CBD are separate cannabinoids, as we’ve highlighted in the past, THC is often found in CBD consumer products due to the lack of necessary testing, labeling, and oversight of CBD products. CBD and THC are both derived from the same plant, and without adequate testing and safety measures in place, THC may be found as an active ingredient in CBD products. In fact, a separate FDA report found that nearly 20 of the top CBD products the agency tested contained THC.
Not only does this new warning underscore our overarching concerns around this marketplace – but it also adds another layer of concern around CBD products currently on the market that may unknowingly contain THC.
In its September Consumer Update newsletter, the FDA stated that “delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context. They may be marketed in ways that put public health at risk and should especially be kept out of reach of children and pets.”
CDC called attention to inconsistent testing methods for synthetically-derived products including delta-8 THC, noting products “may not be tested systematically for contaminants such as heavy metals, solvents, or pesticides that may have adverse health effects.”
Recent statistics and reports highlighted in the warning illustrate a disturbing trend of medical cases involving the harmful side effects of delta-8 THC:
Reporting from consumers and law enforcement included ER and hospitalization cases involving patients that ingested food products with delta-8 THC.
The National Poison Centers recorded 660 cases related to delta-8 THC in the first 7 months of the year, with 18 percent of individuals requiring hospitalization including children who were admitted to intensive care units. Of the cases resulting from unintentional exposure, 77% were pediatric patients less than 18 years of age.
Animal position control centers are reporting a significant increase in cases involving harmful side effects from pet-related exposure to delta-8 THC.
The bottom line – consumer CBD products may contain THC and other substances with serious health risks. We must encourage FDA to regulate these products in the interest of public health.