According to Cannabis Business Times, Poison Control Centers have seen a spike in calls on a national scale relating to Delta-8 THC. Michigan, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina have issued cautionary statements to the public concerning the rising use of the cannabinoid. North Carolina’s Poison Control Center, specifically, has seen a massive increase in Delta-8 THC reported cases in the past year, upwards of 157.
Experts believe that there are a few factors that play a role in this issue but it can largely be blamed on the lack of regulations. The grey area surrounding Delta-8 THC has allowed it to thrive in the black market, but it’s also due to potential mislabeling. “This is part and parcel for what happens when you have an unregulated market,” general counsel for U.S. Roundtable Jonathan Miller said.
A recent study done by Leafreport.com highlighted the issues of mislabeling. The published study revealed that out of 38 products, they found over half of them had illegal levels of Delta-9 THC. Meanwhile, 32% of these products contained the same levels of Delta-8 as advertised.
On top of the reports that Michigan law enforcement seized Delta-8 products that were mislabeled as CBD, the industry is at the crossroads over this issue. On one hand, Delta-8 THC can boost appetite and reduce anxiety, largely because the intensity of the high is a level down from Delta-9 THC. However, the problems that mislabeling is providing, as well as the access to minors, present a massive dilemma in moving forward with Delta-8 THC.
“This raises lots of questions about what residual other byproducts might be in [the Delta-8 products] that are sort of not familiar cannabinoids, but maybe harmful substances, like heavy metals, which can often be used in these processes,” said chief science officer at PSI Labs Lev Spivak-Birndorf, Ph.D. Spivak-Birndorf explained that he’s recently tested Delta-8 products from vape shops and gas stations and discovered that the products were pure yet not within regulation.
“We often find that some of [the products] are very pure Delta-8, but still contain traces of Delta-9 that are technically above the legal 0.3% THC limit,” Spivak-Birndorf continued. “It’s just a mixed bag, and that’s what I think is so risky about it, is that it’s very uncontrolled in terms of these processes, where one product could be pretty genuine to its label, but another one might be very different.”
The American Association of Poison Control Centers also shared some interesting information pertaining to another cannabinoid — CBD. In 2021, the national control centers have received 2,158 cases related to CBD, along with 2,226 calls placed the year before. AAPCC similarly blamed this on inaccurate levels on labels.