The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have jointly issued warning letters to six companies, alleging illegal marketing of copycat food products infused with Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8 THC).
Like Delta-9, Delta-8 THC, has psychoactive and intoxicating effects. Delta-8 occurs naturally in hemp, but only in small quantities. However, it can be created by manipulating cannabidiol (CBD). Delta-8 products have proliferated due to this and the fact there appears to be a loophole in the federal legal definition of hemp, which only puts restrictions on Delta-9 levels specifically.
Products containing Delta-8 can pose serious health and safety hazards if accidentally consumed by unsuspecting individuals, including children.
The FDA and FTC accuse the companies in question of intentionally mimicking well-known snack food brands, potentially leading consumers, especially children, to ingest high doses unknowingly.
The FDA says it received more than 125 adverse event reports from Jan. 1, 2021, through May 31, 2022 in relation to children and adults who consumed edible products containing delta-8 THC. Ten of those reports specifically mentioned the edible product to be a copycat of a popular snack food.
“Marketing edible THC products that children can easily mistake for regular foods is both reckless and illegal,” said Samuel Levine, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection director. “Companies have a duty to market their products responsibly, with the well-being of children being of paramount importance.”
The FDA has given the companies 15 working days to provide written responses outlining their proposed corrective actions. The agencies state failure to promptly rectify these violations could lead to legal actions, including product seizures and/or injunctions.
In June, the FDA published a consumer warning concerning the accidental ingestion by children of food products containing THC.
The FDA’s concerns about Delta-8 go beyond its use in food. In May this year, it started sending warning letters to companies selling products labelled as containing delta-8 THC that the Administration says were being marketed as unapproved treatments for various medical conditions, or for other therapeutic uses in humans.
National poison control centers received 2,362 delta-8 THC product exposure cases from January 1, 2021 to February 28 last year.