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June 24, 2021

Blue Ridge Poison Center Raises Concerns About Delta-8 THC

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The Blue Ridge Poison Center at UVA Health has seen more calls over the past six months for adverse reactions to Delta-8 THC, a substance extracted from hemp and marijuana plants or created synthetically. Delta-8 THC is structurally similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

A host of Delta-8 THC products – including vape cartridges, gummies and other edibles – can be purchased over the counter at gas stations, CBD and vape shops, convenience stores and online. The poison center received dozens of calls related to Delta-8 THC between January 2021 and June 15, 2021, compared with zero calls during the same time period in 2020. 

“There is no required quality control for these products, and consumers must blindly trust that these products match the labels, if there is a label with an ingredient list present,” said Christopher Holstege, MD, director of the Blue Ridge Poison Center. “Unfortunately, these gummies and other edibles frequently resemble candy and thus are enticing to young children.”

Calls received at the poison center this year included a toddler that required hospitalization after eating gummies containing Delta-8 THC, Holstege said. The child’s adverse reaction included a slowed heart rate, sedation, and decreased responsiveness. Another call involved a middle-aged woman who required an emergency department visit after rapid developing anxiety, tremor and a heart rate of 160 beats per minute after ingesting a Delta-8 THC product.

If someone has an adverse reaction to Delta-8 THC, experts at the Blue Ridge Poison Center are available to help around the clock. Call 800.222.1222 any time for assistance. The Blue Ridge Poison Center can also be reached at 800.451.1428. Trained healthcare providers will tell you exactly what to do. Calls are FREE and CONFIDENTIAL.

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