DELTA-8 comes from the hemp plant, which is legal to grow in South Carolina and is sold in a variety of stores.
CBD specialist at Crowntown Cannabis in Five Points Jiamez Johnson said demand for Delta-8 is booming.
“DELTA-8 has been big for about a year and a half, almost two years now," said Johnson.
“It can cause sedation or euphoria, prolonged use can cause paranoia, some even depending on the quantity can cause hallucinations," said Dr.Sasa Sunjas.
Products containing delta-8 are sold in varying forms, like candy, cookies, gummies, and tinctures.
The warning letters claim the companies are illegally marketing the drugs with a promise of relief for various medical conditions.
“The FDA is very concerned about the growing popularity of delta-8 THC products being sold online and in stores nationwide. These products often include claims that they treat or alleviate the side effects related to a wide variety of diseases or medical disorders.”
“It is extremely troubling that some of the food products are packaged and labeled in ways that may appeal to children,” the FDA's warning said. “We will continue to safeguard Americans’ health and safety by monitoring the marketplace and taking action when companies illegally sell products that pose a risk to public health.”
According to the FDA, there are no FDA approved drugs containing Delta-8 THC that can diagnose, cure, or treat diseases However, Johnsons speaks with many customers who say they benefit from its use.
“Pain relief, some sleeping disorders, Number one is anxiety," said Johnson.
Without substantial research, Strunjas cannot recommend the use of Delta-8 THC to any of his patients.
“You don't know how much to take," said Strunjas. "You're going by the word of a manufacturer who didn't test it and was just basically winging it.”
The FDA has received 104 reports of adverse events were received about patients who consumed delta-8 products between December 2020 and February 2022 including hallucinations, vomiting, tremor, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. One pediatric case ended in death.
Johnson said staff at Crowntown Cannabis take the FDA's warning seriously.
"We abide by every rule that we can that they tell us to follow." said Johnson.
Delta-8 THC is currently illegal in 13 states. South Carolina has no plans to ban it for now.