The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both issued warnings yesterday about the rise of reported incidents in the US regarding the use of delta-8 THC.
The government agencies expressed concern over the increase in adverse cases, which included calls to poison control lines, hospitalisations from accidental ingestion and adverse reactions to products.
The FDA warning informs the public of the cannabinoid’s intoxicating effect, an uptick in adverse events after consuming it, and that the FDA has not approved any delta-8 THC products. It also indicates that it might take action on such products.
The CDC notice warns: “The rise in delta-8 THC products in marijuana and hemp marketplaces has increased the availability of psychoactive cannabis products, even in states, territories, and tribal nations where non-medical adult cannabis use is not permitted under law.”
What can immediately be taken away from the notices is: Expect imminent enforcement action from the FDA on the most egregious violators of existing laws and regulations.
Areas of likely action
These should likely come as no surprise to those familiar with CBD. The FDA will move to take action in areas similar to where it has already acted on CBD. This will include cases where marketing for delta-8 THC is effectively making some form of health claim.
The FDA may also take action on delta-8 products that it believes are marketed towards children or are – in its opinion – overly attractive to children.
The agency expressed concern about the use of delta-8 THC in products such as candies and gummies that would be attractive to children (though curiously it has not made a big deal about delta-9 THC products that could be attractive to children, which are both more widespread in terms of types and more established in terms of presence on the market).
But this by no means the end of the delta-8 THC market as a whole. While the FDA did not directly opine as to the legality of delta-8 as a substance, it does have enforcement authority over unapproved food ingredients.
The agency offered no opinion on how delta-8 THC fits under laws such as the Controlled Substances Act or the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act which leaves delta-8 THC when used outside of ingestible products up in the air but not closed down. And as for delta-8 THC when used in ingestible products, the FDA will not move to blanket enforce against the substance – instead picking and choosing its battles, moving forward to target those it thinks are making health claims or marketing products in such a way as to appeal to children.
– Freddie Dawson CBD-Intel staff