CDC: Lightly Researched THC Compound May Lurk in CBD Products
By Joey Berlin

Cannabidiol 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning physicians, public health departments, and others about insufficiently labeled cannabidiol (CBD) products that may contain a certain compound of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that creates the psychotropic high for marijuana users. 

A CDC alert explained that the delta-8 THC compound “exists naturally in the cannabis plant in only small quantities and is estimated to be about 50-75% as psychoactive as delta-9,” the compound usually referred to as “THC.” 

CBD, now widely available in Texas, is a derivative of hemp. A 2019 Texas law brought the state in line with federal law allowing the sale of hemp and its derivatives. “Hemp” is defined as any part of the cannabis plant containing 0.3% THC or less. 

CDC said the health effects of delta-8 THC “have not yet been researched extensively and are not well-understood. However, delta-8 THC is psychoactive and may have similar risks of impairment as delta-9 THC. As such, products that contain delta-8 THC but are labeled with only delta-9 THC content rather than with total THC content likely underestimate the psychoactive potential of these products for consumers.” 

Nonetheless, delta-8 THC products are appearing in both marijuana and hemp marketplaces and online, and are sometimes marketed as “weed light” or “diet weed,” CDC says. Those products include vapes, infused beverages, gummies, and chocolates. 

Between January and July 2021, according to the CDC release, the American Association of Poison Control Centers recorded 660 delta-8 THC exposures, plus one recorded retroactively from 2020. Eighteen percent of those cases required hospitalization, CDC says, and 39% involved patients under 18. 

CDC recommended that health care professionals “be vigilant in observing patients presenting with THC-like intoxication symptoms who do not report an exposure to marijuana or history of use. Symptomatic patients should be questioned about their use of CBD or delta-8 THC products.”  

The agency also recommends consulting with your hospital’s medical toxicologist or the local poison control center for consultations on treatment. 


Last Updated On

September 15, 2021

Originally Published On

September 15, 2021

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Joey Berlin

Associate Editor

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Joey Berlin is associate editor of Texas Medicine. His previous work includes stints as a reporter and editor for various newspapers and publishing companies, and he’s covered everything from hard news to sports to workers’ compensation. Joey grew up in the Kansas City area and attended the University of Kansas. He lives in Austin.

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