The explosive, unregulated growth of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is coming with a dangerous consequence: Poison control centers across the country are reporting a rise in calls from those who have ingested the cannabinoid.
So far this year, as of July, the North Carolina Poison Control Center reported 157 cases related to delta-8, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. Virginia is reporting “dozens” of calls this year.
The rise in calls can be attributed to a number of factors, from the market’s lack of standards to delta-8’s accessibility to minors.
But perhaps the most concerning cause for an increase in delta-8 poison center calls is due to mislabeling–in some cases, consumers hoping to buy these products may be purchasing unregulated, illegal cannabis without knowing.
“This is part and parcel for what happens when you have an unregulated market,” says Jonathan Miller, general counsel for U.S. Hemp Roundtable.
Mislabeling Plays a Role
A recently published report shines a light on just how prominent mislabeling is in the industry. Leafreport.com, a peer-reviewed watchdog website for the cannabidiol (CBD) industry, found that more than half of the 38 products it tested had illegal levels of delta-9 THC. In addition, only 32% had the advertised amount of delta-8. The rest were off by 10.7% to 102.7% from the label.
And Wayne State University, based in Michigan, reports that law enforcement agencies in Michigan have seized delta-8 products that were falsely labeled as CBD products.
Lev Spivak-Birndorf, Ph.D., chief science officer at PSI Labs, a Michigan-based cannabis testing lab, says the mislabeling of these products could be linked to the risks associated with producing delta-8, as byproducts can be left during the process of converting it from CBD or delta-9 THC.
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