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Legal THC causing rise of poison center calls in Georgia

18 states have already regulated, restricted or banned Delta-8 THC. Georgia has not.
Updated: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A psychoactive compound derived from hemp is flying off the shelves of Georgia smoke shops and CBD stores, offering users a cheap high, even in states – like ours – where recreational marijuana is illegal.

18 states have already regulated, restricted or banned Delta-8 THC. Georgia has not.

Despite being almost identical to federally outlawed forms of marijuana, Delta-8 THC is legal for those over the age of 21 even though it can still get you high.

18 U.S. states that have regulated, restricted, or banned Delta-8.
18 U.S. states that have regulated, restricted, or banned Delta-8.(CBS46)

“The main Delta-8 products that we sell are for sleep and people say it works really well,” said Xavier Carter, who runs Inno Medicinals in Grant Park. “I’m in the business of helping people.”

Carter has been selling Delta-8 for the last year, thanks to a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp. The bill said hemp is defined as a cannabis plant that contains 0.3% Delta-9 THC or less. The bill does not address Delta-8 THC thus, the loop hole.

“Since April, we’ve had nearly 100 calls about this stuff,” said Dr. Gaylord Lopez, executive director of Georgia Poison Center. “It’s basically roulette.”

But now, the Georgia Poison Center is sounding the alarm after its call center received 92 calls related to Delta-8 THC over the last six months. 22 of those calls involved children.

“And for a kid whose not knowing, whose thinking it may be candy, this can be dangerous and in fact has resulted in a number of hospitalizations,” said Dr. Lopez.

Seven hospitalizations to be exact in our metro Atlanta hospitals.

The Food and Drug Administration also published this warning – advising the public of “serious health risks” involving Delta-8 THC.

Even the Georgia Cannabis Trade Association is speaking up.

“The safety concerns do not come from the molecule itself,” said Zane Bader, with the Georgia Cannabis Trade Association.

But their concerns do not stem from Delta-8 itself rather from a lack of oversight.

“The safety concerns that do exist come from that fact this is an unregulated market. So if you buy a Delta-8 product, there is a chance that product contains pesticides or heavy metals or some other contaminant because it is unregulated,” Bader added.

Xavier Carter, who runs Inno Medicinals, would also like to see more regulation in the industry.

Right now he says it’s up to him to buy safe products from reputable companies who do third party testing.

He also steers clear of products like the below, which he says are targeting children.

“We don’t want to appeal to people who are too young to take them,” Carter said.

If you still want to try one of these products despite the warnings, make sure you ask the seller if its third party tested, then check yourself.

Look for a QR code on the product’s packaging. Using your cell phone, scan the QR code. It should take you to third party laboratory results. Make sure the lab results you’re seeing match the batch number listed on the product.

Georgia Poison Center shares photo of Delta-8 products reported.
Georgia Poison Center shares photo of Delta-8 products reported.(Georgia Poison Center)

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