Above: The FDA has criticized colorful Delta-8 products like these, because they may dangerously appeal to children.

Last year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a strong warning highlighting five serious health risks associated with Delta-8 THC.

Delta-8 THC is a mind-altering substance made from cannabis. Earlier this year, the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 629 of 2023 by Sen. Tyler Dees (R – Siloam Springs) and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould). Act 629 is a good law that prevents Delta-8 THC from being manufactured via industrial hemp — or cannabis — in Arkansas, but the law currently is tied up in federal court.

The FDA’s health warning highlights five key problems with Delta-8 THC.

#1 Delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA, and they may be marketed in ways that put the public health at risk.

As the FDA notes, “Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of federal law, but also can put consumers at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective. This deceptive marketing of unproven treatments raises significant public health concerns.”

#2 The FDA has received numerous reports of health complications from Delta-8.

From December 1, 2020, to February 28, 2022, the FDA documented 104 “adverse event reports” concerning Delta-8 THC. These included hallucinations, vomiting, tremor, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

National poison control centers received 2,362 Delta-8 THC calls — most of which required evaluation at a healthcare facility. Eight percent of these calls resulted in admission to a critical care unit, and one child reportedly died as a result of exposure to Delta-8 THC.

#3 Delta-8 THC is psychoactive and intoxicating.

The FDA notes that, “Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects, similar to delta-9 THC.” Delta-9 THC is the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana. The FDA’s warning also notes that many products contain extremely high levels of Delta-8 THC, which raises safety concerns.

#4 Delta-8 THC products often are manufactured with harmful chemicals.

The FDA writes that, “The natural amount of delta-8 THC in hemp is very low, and additional chemicals are needed to convert other cannabinoids in hemp, like CBD, into delta-8 THC. . . . The final delta-8 THC product may have potentially harmful by-products (contaminants) due to the chemicals used in the process.”

#5 Delta-8 THC products may be designed to appeal to children.

Colorful Delta-8 gummies, chocolates, candies, and cookies naturally appeal to children. The FDA noted that these products may be part of the reason Poison Control centers received so many reports of children exposed to Delta-8 THC.

The FDA’s warning makes one thing clear: Delta-8 THC may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them.