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    Close a loophole allowing dangerous THC products

    In 2018, Congress legalized hemp through the Farm Bill, an agricultural legislative package Congress passes every five years. Hemp is required to have less than 0.3% THC, the intoxicating chemical in marijuana, in order to be considered “hemp” and not “marijuana” and remain exempt from the restrictions imposed on marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.

    However, the legalization of hemp has resulted in the proliferation of products containing synthetic hemp-derived compounds, such as those containing delta-8 THC. Like delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, delta-8 and other synthetic hemp-derived compounds (e.g., delta-10 THC, THC-O, HHC, HHC-O) are psychoactive and can result in a range of negative consequences, including addiction.

    Such compounds exist in a legal gray area and are largely unregulated. Skirting often stringent regulations surrounding marijuana, or full marijuana prohibitions, a growing number of retailers are selling products containing these compounds, which are altered just slightly from traditional delta-9 THC in marijuana. Often, they are sold in flavors and marketed and sold to youth in accessible locations (e.g., gas stations, convenience stores). An investigation by STAT, for example, found disposable vapes containing the compounds in flavors like wedding cake, blackberry, and Hawaiian punch, “Trips Ahoy” cookies, “Snickers” and “Cookies ‘n’ Cream” chocolate bars, and candies that resemble Haribo gummies, Nerds Rope, and Starbursts, all in shops operating in the open.

    The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about delta-8 products, which have prompted reports of adverse events like hallucinations, vomiting, tremors, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Delta-8 products may also contain dangerous byproducts left over from the manufacturing process, and Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects, similar to delta-9 THC. A study has also linked it to symptoms of psychosis, and THC-O, a similar compound, has been linked to respiratory problems when vaped.

    States around the nation are increasingly considering measures to curb the availability of delta-8 THC products due to concerns about consumption by kids, but the products so far remain widely accessible.

    Congress is again considering a Farm Bill this year, and a version of the bill recently passed by the House Agriculture Committee includes a provision to close the loophole.

    Send a letter to your members of Congress urging them to include these provisions in the final bill to close the loophole for delta-8 and other similar products by subjecting the manufacture and sale of all intoxicating and psychoactive hemp-derived compounds to the same regulation as that for marijuana (delta-9 THC).