"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Delta-8 is the “Russian Roulette” of cannabis

September 6, 2023 – A cannabis-derived product created in labs across the country has generated 1000’s of calls to poison control centers nationwide and sent tons of of individuals to the emergency room complaining of vomiting, hallucinations, difficulty standing and even fainting.

And it’s widely available and legal.

The perpetrator known as delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, or more commonly delta-8-THC. Last May, the FDA issued a Consumer Update Warning of significant health risks related to Delta-8 after ingestion, including unintentional exposure in children.

Commercially available delta-8 products are made in labs from cannabidiol (CBD) and a large mixture of chemicals equivalent to pesticides, petroleum, and unknown ingredients. Because the FDA doesn't regulate CBD, delta-8 THC products go unnoticed by way of oversight. As delta-8 products land on the shelves of local gas stations and supermarkets, what questions should consumers be asking before making a purchase order?

What is Delta-8-THC?

Delta-8 THC is a compound within the cannabis plant and a cousin of delta-9 THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that offers users a “high.” In its purest form, it rivals delta-9; they bind to similar receptors within the body and each produce a high. But unlike delta-9, delta-8 is barely present in trace amounts within the plant, limiting manufacturers' ability to make use of it commercially. This implies that the delta-8 you discover in your local smoke shop isn’t the delta-8 you discover in nature.

The story behind the expansion of the Delta-8 market might be traced back to the Agriculture Act 2018A clause allowed producers toIndustrial hemp, including Extraction of CBD and other components of the plant that contain lower than 0.3% THC. An oversupply of extracted CBD has led to a plethora of modified products that use household chemicals and other chemicals to convert cannabinoids from hemp into synthetic delta-8.

“They are literally atoms that have been rearranged into arrangements that do not occur in nature,” said Dr. Chris Hudalla, an analytical chemist and founder and chief scientific officer of ProVerde Laboratories, a cannabis testing lab based in Milford, MA. “They don't even have a name because they have never been seen before; we have no idea of ​​their toxicity.”

Hudalla's lab tested nearly 5,000 Delta-8 samples and one hundred pc of them were contaminated, some with as much as 30 sorts of unintended secondary products of unknown toxicity.

“It's a bit like Russian roulette: Every chemist has a different recipe, and every recipe produces a contaminant profile,” Hudalla said. “We know literally nothing about them. We don't know if they cause birth defects … or if they cause cancer.”

Ethan Russo MD, a neurologist and researcher who studies how drugs affect the mind and behavior, said research within the Nineteen Seventies and newer from Johns Hopkins Cannabis Science Laboratory, has shown that Delta-8 is about half as effective as Delta-9, This means you would like twice the quantity to attain the identical effect.

However, a double dose brings with it various potential problems, including overdose and a syndrome called cannabinoid hyperemesis. Long-term use could cause repeated, severe bouts of vomiting that may result in a visit to the emergency room.

People who Delta-8 “The toxicity may not be noticed immediately, but we have no idea what the long-term consequences of these products coming into contact with the body might be,” said Russo, founder and CEO of CReDO Science. a corporation that advises the industry to assist design and guide research and clinical trials on medical cannabis.

Incidentally, the Biden administration recently proposed changing the treatment of cannabis within the Narcotics Act. The government is asking for it to be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III, a category that features drugs equivalent to ketamine and certain steroids which might be considered to have a “moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.”

The rescheduling would mean that scientists would have greater access to cannabis for his or her research, potentially opening the door to eventual legalization of marijuana and thus reducing consumer interest in Delta-8.

Buyer’s remorse: A large number of dangerous unintended effects

The FDA relies on voluntary reports by consumers, patients, doctors, and other healthcare professionals to observe for unintended effects of some products equivalent to Delta-8. Between December 2020 and February 2022, there have been 104 reports of unintended effects from Delta-8. Poison control centers also documented over 2,300 calls for exposure to Delta-8 THC in the course of the same time period.

But when researchers began searching the social media site Reddit for self-reported effects of Delta-8 – reports that never reached the FDA – they found that the numbers were considerably higher, including greater than 2,000 adversarial events and greater than 400 serious adversarial events. They found:

  • Over 40% were of a psychiatric/mood nature (e.g. anxiety, delusions, panic attacks or paranoia).
  • In about 30% of cases, the lungs, chest or throat were affected (e.g. feeling of suffocation, painful respiratory, coughing or a sense of tightness within the throat).
  • 22% were of a general nature (e.g. tiredness, malaise with symptoms equivalent to feeling hot and nervous or discharge).
  • 17% had problems with the intestines (e.g. stomach pain/discomfort, diarrhea, flatulence, nausea or vomiting).
  • Almost 9% of cases were accidental overdoses and seven.5% reported increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and increased weight.

Hudalla recalled the case of a young father who Delta-8 He ate gummy bears for months, but at some point he decided to double his intake.

“He was unconscious for a while and when he woke up he had a psychotic episode; he literally thought he had murdered his two children who were sleeping upstairs,” Hudalla said.

Before the acquisition

Until the FDA and states begin regulating synthetic delta-8, consumers can take some steps to guard themselves.

  • Do your homework. Find out how and where the products are made. Search for sources online and ask directly in regards to the key ingredients used to make the product and the status of the lab that made it.
  • Examine the label. A good product could have a Certificate of Analysis (COA), a document from an accredited laboratory confirming that the product meets certain standards. This should include the product name, the corporate that commissioned the testing, the batch number, and the date of manufacture.
  • Limit your purchases to regulated pharmacies. This could possibly be a deal breaker for individuals who need to try Delta-8 products, as most of them are sold online or at gas stations and supermarkets, in addition to through illegal channels.
  • Be attentive.

But even with a certificate, Delta-8 manufacturers should not have a standardized procedure for testing effectiveness.

“The big difference between Delta-8 and other THC isomer products is that there are no testing requirements,” said Tracey Lancaster Miller, executive vice chairman of Maryland-based Peake ReLeaf Dispensary.

Not only is its effectiveness unclear, but “it hasn't been tested for contaminants, so we don't know if it might contain mold, heavy metals or other substances,” she said.

“These products should be banned,” Russo said. But “if they are to be sold, they must be properly analyzed, there must be certificates of analysis, and they must be properly and accurately labeled. Lack of information about the dangers does not automatically mean safety.”