FDA and CDC Warrant Federal Warnings about Delta-8 THC

On September 14, 2021, the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) warranted federal warnings against the usage and marketing of Delta-8 THC. In similar reports, these federal agencies warned against the use of Delta-8 because of the lack of research on the rare cannabinoid and the growing accessibility of these products in the market. 

The federal warnings came shortly after the FDA rejected Charlotte Web’s application for CBD as a dietary supplement. In a long struggle against cannabis products, federal agencies and U.S. lawmakers have an extensive history of avoiding the decriminalization of marijuana and other cannabinoids. Learn more about how these warnings jeopardize the future of Delta-8 THC products below. 

The Marketing of Delta-8 THC and CBD Products

Delta-8 THC is a rare, psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants that has garnered media and market attention in the past few years. Among the reasons that motivated the federal warnings against Delta-8 THC is the observation that Delta-8 THC is marketed similarly to CBD in several markets. The CDC’s report about Delta-8 highlights that the cannabinoid’s availability in CBD markets includes vague marketing strategies that lead to confusion concerning the content of Delta-8 products. The CDC’s warning states the following: “Most states and territories permit full or restricted hemp marketplaces that sell hemp and hemp-derived CBD products. Products sold as concentrated delta-8 THC are also available online. Delta-8 THC products are sometimes marketed as ‘weed light’ or ‘diet weed.’”

Another matter brought forth by the FDA’s report against Delta-8 marketing concerns packaging appearance and the lack of regulation over who can purchase CBD and Delta-8 products. According to the FDA warning, the packaging and labeling of Delta-8 products are designed in ways that may appeal to children and minors. Additionally, there are few regulations over who can purchase these products. The FDA stated the following: 

Manufacturers are packaging and labeling these products in ways that may appeal to children (gummies, chocolates, cookies, candies, etc.). These products may be purchased online, as well as at a variety of retailers, including convenience stores and gas stations, where there may not be age limits on who can purchase these products.

Adverse Reactions Associated with the Use of Delta-8

According to the CDC and FDA federal warnings, a combination of marketing and unregulated manufacturing has resulted in adverse reactions associated with the use of Delta-8 products. Since Delta-8 has psychoactive properties, vague marketing strategies can lead to misuse. According to the CDC, “delta-8 THC products may also have the potential to be confused with hemp or CBD products that are not intoxicating. Consumers who use these products may therefore experience unexpected or increased THC intoxication.” Additionally, the FDA claims that the unregulated manufacturing process may cause Delta-8 products to contain harmful substances:

Some manufacturers may use potentially unsafe household chemicals to make delta-8 THC through this chemical synthesis process. Additional chemicals may be used to change the color of the final product. The final delta-8 THC product may have potentially harmful by-products (contaminants) due to the chemicals used in the process, and there is uncertainty with respect to other potential contaminants that may be present or produced depending on the composition of the starting raw material.

The FDA further noted that there have been reports of adverse reactions to Delta-8 products across several states. The American Association of Poison Control Centers has reported 660 incidents of intoxication in relation to the use of Delta-8 THC within the first seven months of 2021. Of the cases reported, 18% of exposures required hospitalization, and 39% percent involved pediatric patients younger than eighteen years old.

Chelsie Spencer is a cannabis lawyer located in Dallas, Texas. Chelsie is deeply involved in the cannabis, CBD, and hemp legal communities. With years of experience in the marijuana industry, Chelsie is a trusted advisor to many CBD and cannabis businesses. Additionally, her expertise in commercial litigation and intellectual property law makes her even more prepared to guide her clients through unique legal matters. Contact Ritter Spencer Cheng or give us a call at 214.295.5070 for more information.