By Cassidy Morrison Senior Health Reporter for Dailymail.Com
06:02 October 20, 2023, updated 08:34 October 20, 2023
- More than half of retailers use bright, sparkly packaging that attracts teens
- Almost no e-commerce sites verify the age of customers before purchasing
- READ MORE: Marijuana use among children has increased 250% in the past 20 years
Delta-8 THC, the synthetic cousin of the delta-9 variety that gives marijuana its psychoactive high, has become easily accessible online for children.
Hemp-derived oils come in a variety of vapes and edibles, with manufacturers taking a page from the e-cigarette industry’s marketing playbook, making the product appealing to children.
Researchers from New York scoured dozens of websites selling legitimate delta-8 products and found that most of them failed to accurately verify the age of buyers, keeping prices low enough that even a the weekly stipend is also affordable, and specifically seeks to attract young people with excitement and vibrancy. cartoon packaging.
Delta-8 products contain what users say is a gentler alternative to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis, giving them a more relaxing feeling without paranoia or anxiety. Some people have called it diet weed.
But whether this hemp-derived chemical is harmless has been debated for years as thousands of calls to poison centers about delta-8 come in each year. And the lack of regulation around the manufacture and sale of drugs for children is the biggest concern for public health experts.
About a decade ago, when walking through tobacco shops and convenience stores, you would see many displays of brightly colored e-cigarettes wrapped in packaging printed with cartoon characters or Images of fruits and sweets in many colors.
Ten years later, the screen looks the same but the product has changed. Delta-8 vape pens and edibles are frequently packaged in brightly colored bags and boxes with catchy names like Caviar, Cake, and Cloud8.
Its legal status also attracts consumers and business owners in states where cannabis is not yet fully legalized because they can stock a full range of e-cigarettes, gummies, etc. do not violate any laws in the process.
The online marketplace is no different. Researchers from Hofstra University found that, among 45 delta-8 retail sites, more than half sell their products in child-friendly packaging.
Dr. Ruth Milanaik, a pediatrician and professor at Hofstra who led the study, said: “What worries me most about Delta-8 products is the fact that delta-8 distributors seem to are competing with each other to produce attractive packaging. adolescent attention.
It is important to introduce more regulation to ensure that these products do not appeal to teenagers.
The researchers also found only 29 out of 45 websites required customers to verify their age before browsing. Almost all of the sites, 43 in total, did not have any formal age verification measures by third parties, which are often separate companies that specialize in helping businesses comply with sales requirements. age-related odd.
Almost all websites sell edibles and vape products while less than half of the websites market delta-8 tinctures, a delta-8 oil mixture extracted from the cannabis plant that is Dilute in another oil such as hemp seed oil and place under the tongue.
The health effects of marijuana are exposed
A wave of marijuana legalization over the past decade has ultimately resulted in higher rates of depression and addiction.
Most of the products sold on these sites have attractively cheap prices.
Fifteen of the cheapest product sites are priced under $5, and almost all sell delta-8 for under $20.
And online sellers pumped the cheapest products filled with the highest concentrations of delta-8 THC.
Of the cheapest products on each site, four of them contained up to 30mg of D8 and one product contained between 31 and 40mg.
Ten of the cheapest products contained 41 to 50 milligrams of D8, and 21 of them contained 51 milligrams or more of D8.
Nine of them did not list any dosage at all.
The lack of age verification before allowing users to purchase D8 products is extremely worrying, the researchers said.
Low prices, high dosages, and eye-catching packaging make these products extremely appealing to teens looking for premium products.
The legal free-for-all has resulted in thousands of calls to poison control centers.
From January 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022, there were more than 2,300 calls to poison centers due to exposure to delta-8.
The majority of those calls involved adults, but 41% involved minors.
Forty percent of calls involved accidental exposure, such as medication misadministration. Of that 40%, more than 8 out of every 10 children participate.
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to consumers about delta-8, which is not under the agency’s oversight authority, meaning manufacturers can get away with adulteration of products with other synthetic chemicals or even the federally illegal delta-9 THC. .
There is little more the FDA can do because, under the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp, delta-8 is not a criminalized substance.
Hemp is derived from the same cannabis plant that millions of people enjoy recreationally or for medicinal benefits. But unlike marijuana, hemp does not produce delta-9 THC.
The bill stipulates that hemp can be grown legally as long as its THC content remains below 0.3%.
Lawmakers specifically identified THC as the delta-9 variety that remains federally illegal and did not mention its more mellow cousin delta-8, which is extracted from CBD is derived from hemp.
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