The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration have issued official health warnings to Americans who are considering or already use Delta-8, a cannabinoid derived from hemp, reports Fast Company.
Canadian readers might be less familiar with the cannabinoid, which was previously believed to be a less potent form of Delta-9 THC, which is federally illegal in the US. Delta-8 has risen in popularity in the US, particularly states where cannabis is illegal or restricted.
Now, regulators are warning that it could be more potent than Delta-9 THC, and also carries health risks such as comas. More than 100 Americans have been hospitalized after using it, but it’s tough to know how popular it is: according to Hemp Benchmarks, it’s the fastest growing segment of the market for hemp chemicals, reports Fortune.
Wither the regulation?
Hemp products containing CBD are legal but are not yet federally regulated — something many in the industry and consumer advocacy groups say should be the case. Delta-8 is perceived more like a loophole, with some jurisdictions even raiding producers and shutting them down.
“It is still a form of cannabis that can get you high, and it is unregulated and untested,” Jacqueline McGowan, a California cannabis licensing consultant (and a California gubernatorial recall candidate) told the Associated Press.
Hard times for hemp
For some hemp producers, the crackdown on Delta-8 has been devastating. And merchants, like Miami’s William Goodall of Bay Smokes, told Fortune that the cannabinoid’s potential harms are being overblown.
“Ultimately, I think Delta-8 is a great product.”