Suzanne Kennedy has smoked marijuana, and says her Wisconsin roots mean she can handle alcohol, so she wasn’t concerned earlier this year when a bartender in St. Paul, Minnesota reported the cannabinoid delta-8 THC. described a cocktail with “a little bit”. Predominant.”
Hours after enjoying the delicious drink and the lull that reminded Kennedy of a weed high, she said, she began to feel “really unsteady and faint” before falling into her friend’s arms. Kennedy regained consciousness and recovered, but his distaste for Delta-8 remains, even though the substance is legal at the federal level, unlike marijuana.
“I’m not really going to tell people what to do,” said Kennedy, 35, who lives in Milwaukee and works in software sales. But if a friend tries to order a Delta-8 drink, “I’ll tell them, ‘Of course not. You’re not putting this in your body.'”
The FDA and some marijuana industry experts share Kennedy’s concerns. At least a dozen states have banned the hemp-derived drug, including Colorado, Montana, New York and Oregon, which have legalized marijuana. But delta-8 makers call the concerns unfounded and say they are trying to protect their market share by marijuana businesses.
So what is the difference? The flower of the marijuana plant, the oil derived from it, and the foods made from them contain delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, the substance that makes the drug high, and can be sold legally only in dispensaries in states that have legalized marijuana. has made. Similar products that contain delta-8 THC are sold online and at bars and retailers in much of the US, including some places where pot is illegal. That’s because a 2018 federal law legalized hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant. Hemp is not permitted to contain more than 0.3% of the psychotropic delta-9 THC found in marijuana.
Concerns about the Delta-8 have largely centered on how it is made. Delta-8 is typically produced by dissolving CBD—a compound found in cannabis plants—in solvents, such as toluene that is often found in paint thinners. Some in the marijuana industry say the process leaves a potentially harmful residue. a study published Lead, mercury and silicon were found in Delta-8 electronic cigarettes last year in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.
FDA is warning issued There have been more than 100 reports of people having hallucinations, vomiting and losing consciousness after consuming it, citing concerns about the conversion process, about the “serious health risks” of delta-8. From January 2021 to this February, national poison control centers received more than 2,300 Delta-8 cases, 70% of which were required to evaluate users at health care facilities, according to the FDA.
Delta-8 “is an obvious solution for people who want to use cannabis but live in a situation where it is illegal,” Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and a longtime medical cannabis provider. “You can either have a lot of trouble buying cannabis, or you can get Delta-8.”
Grinspoon describes Delta-8 as about half as potent as marijuana. But because of the lack of research into the potential benefits of delta-8 and the absence of regulation, he would not recommend using it to his patients. If it were regulated like Massachusetts’ medical and recreational marijuana programs, he said, harmful contaminants could be flagged or removed.
Christopher HoodlaThe chief scientific officer of ProVerde Laboratories, a Massachusetts marijuana and hemp testing company, said they have tested thousands of Delta-8 products and all contaminants that could be harmful to consumers’ health.
Delta-8 has “unbelievable potential as a therapeutic,” Hudalla said, because it has many of the same benefits as marijuana, with some being less addictive. “But Delta-8, like the Unicorn, does not exist. What does exist on the market is a synthetic mixture of unknown wastes.”
Justin Jarney, owner of the Delta-8 brand 3Chi, is skeptical about concerns about the products. He started the company in 2018, when hemp oil helped relieve his shoulder pain. He soon began to wonder what other cannabinoids in cannabis might do. “‘There must be some gold in those hills,'” Jarne remembered thinking. He said his Indiana-based company now has more than 300 employees and sponsors the NASCAR team.
When asked about the FDA’s reports of bad reactions, Jarney said: “There are risks with THC. Absolutely there are. There are risks with cheeseburgers.”
He attributes the side effects to taking too much. “We say, ‘Start low.’ You can always take more,” Jarne said.
Jarne said he understands the concerns about contaminants in Delta-8 products and that his company was conducting tests to identify the small portion of the unknown remains, which he claims are cannabinoids from the plant.
One Analysis of 3 Chi Delta-8 Oil Organized by Hudalla’s firm last year and posted on 3Chi’s website, several unidentified compounds were found that “do not occur naturally” and thus “would not be recommended for human consumption.” Delta-8 oil is still sold at 3Chi’s site.
Jarne said the analysis found that only 0.4% of the oil contained unknown compounds. “Then how can they say with certainty that the compound is not natural when they don’t even know what it is?” He said in an email.
“The vast majority of the negative information and the push to make Delta-8 illegal is coming from the marijuana industries,” Jarney said. “It’s cutting into their profit margins, which is funny given that marijuana people would suddenly be in for prohibition.”
Delta-8 products appear to be significantly cheaper than weed. For example, Curaleaf, one of the world’s largest cannabis companiesOffers a package of gummies containing 100 mg Delta-9 THC for $25, plus sales tax, Massachusetts Dispensary, on 3 chi, Gummies with 400 mg Delta-8 cost $29.99 onlinewithout any tax
There’s Some Truth in Journey’s Criticism of the Marijuana Industry, Said Chris Lindsay, Director of Government Relations Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for the legalization of marijuana for adults. “We see this happen in every single adult-use legalization state,” Lindsay said. “Their established medical cannabis industry will sometimes be your biggest adversary, and that’s a commercial thing. It’s not a marijuana thing.”
Still, the restrictions may not work completely. In New York, which banned the Delta-8 in 2021, Lindsay said, it is available in any bodega.
In July, Minnesota enacted a law that limits the amount of THC, including delta-8, allowed in hemp products outside of its medical marijuana program. news report Said the law would wipe out Delta-8. But the state “cannot control what is being sold on the Internet outside of Minnesota and shipped in,” said Maren Schroeder, policy director. Sensitive Change MinnesotaWhich aims to legalize recreational cannabis for adults.
Max Barber, a writer and editor in Minneapolis, is interested in Delta-8 despite his state’s restrictions. Even though he could have gotten a medical marijuana prescription because he has an anxiety disorder and chronic sleep problems, he didn’t pursue it because the pot made his anxiety worse. He used CBD oil but found the effects inconsistent. In March 2021, he tried 10 mg Delta-8 Viscous.
“It got me too high, which I didn’t enjoy,” he said.
Then he found what he believed to be the right dosage for him: a third gummy, which he took in the evening. He said he now gets six to eight hours of sleep every night, has less anxiety and is better able to concentrate. “I’ve become an evangelist for Delta-8 for everyone I know who has sleep problems,” said Barber, who bought enough gummies to last for months after the new law went into effect.
To address concerns about Delta-8, the federal government should regulate it and make it easier for consumers to access cannabis, said Paul Armentano, deputy director National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws,
he pointed for a recent study The number of Google searches for delta-8 in the US increased in 2021, showed the International Journal of Drug Policy and that interest was particularly high in states that restricted cannabis use. “In an environment where whole plant cannabis is available legally, there will be little or no demand for these alternative products,” Armentano said.
Lindsay of the Marijuana Policy Project isn’t so sure it will make a difference. When he first learned of Delta-8’s growing popularity in 2021, he thought it would go the way of drugs like K2 or Spice, which he said would arrive on shelves before a prolonged shutdown amid regulatory regulations. enough for.
“It didn’t materialize,” Lindsay said. “The more we understand about that plant, the more different cannabinoids are going to come out.” And, he said, that in turn will increase interest from consumers and businesses.
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