An uptick in the accidental ingestion of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) edibles by children and youth prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to release a health alert after many of those ingestions resulted in hospitalizations.
For cannabis licensees, the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) issued an enforcement bulletin specifying that delta-8 products are not allowed in Washington’s regulated system. The bulletin shares what this means for processors and retailers.
Consumers of cannabis products should be wary of insufficient labeling on products containing delta-8 THC, a psychoactive compound found in hemp that often comes in the forms of edibles, like gummies and chocolates, beverages, vapes, and tinctures.
Delta-8 THC intoxication can cause adverse effects, especially in children. These effects include:
- Uncoordinated movements and decreased psychomotor activity
- Slurred speech
- Increased heart rate progressing to slowed heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
Nationwide, from January to July 2021, there were 660 delta-8 THC exposures recorded. Eighteen percent of exposures (119 of 661 cases) required hospitalization, and 39 percent (258 of 661 cases) involved pediatric patients less than 18 years old.
We recommend that health organizations and poison control centers:
- Release information about the psychoactive qualities and the potential health implications of using products containing delta-8 THC and that products labeled as hemp or CBD may contain delta-8 THC.
- Use the new code available to identify delta-8 THC exposures. For patients or providers reporting delta-8 THC consumption, poison control centers should use the American Association of Poison Control Centers code 310146 or product code 8297130 to indicate delta-8 THC exposure and aid in the continued surveillance of these exposures.
Community-based organizations, such as Drug-Free Communities coalitions, can use information from this report to raise awareness in their communities about the potential negative health effects associated with use of delta-8 THC containing products, as well as the emergence of other cannabis-derived products of potential concern.
For the full list of recommendations for the public, public health departments, retailers, and healthcare providers, read the CDC Health Alert.
For more information on cannabis and delta-8 THC:
- CDC marijuana homepage: “Marijuana and Public Health”
- FDA Delta-8 THC Consumer Update: “5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol”
- Latest LCB rulemaking activity: Cannabis, Vapor, and Tobacco Rulemaking Activity
- LCB policy statement on THC isomers: Conformed THC Isomers Policy Statement
- CDC 24/7 Emergency Operations Center: 770-488-7100
If you have questions, email Public Information Officer Eloise Harris.