The number of poison control calls concerning marijuana edibles is already higher this year than all of last year. Nearly 500 panicked calls have been made and many involve children 5 and younger who have consumed an edible, and a guardian is concerned.
Most people have heard of marijuana edibles, which are illegal in Florida without a medical marijuana card, but there’s another drug out there that’s perfectly legal, and even sold in convenience stores, that has similar psychoactive effects.
We’re talking about Delta 8, 9 and 10. The law says you must be at least 18 years old to purchase them, but they’re not hard to find. We bought some at a local smoke shop. They also sell them at convenience stores and CBD stores.
But both the CDC and FDA say Delta products are potentially dangerous drugs that have resulted in thousands of accidental poisonings.
We dug deeper into the warning to understand what you need to know about a drug that’s being called the next big thing in cannabis.
One way people can purchase Delta products is in candy form. They’re sold in lollipops, lozenges, gummies, oils or even an actual joint. Florida state law says you must be 18 years old to purchase Delta products, but at Roots CBD in Jacksonville Beach, they require customers to be at least 21 years old.
Manager Kim Caramela-Lindemann says they check ID.
“We’re helping to still protect younger generation, who at 18, could go into a convenience store and get Delta 8 and not truly know how that’s going to affect them, or how it’s going to interact with their body,” says Caramela-Lindemann.
Delta products are often referred to as “weed-lite.” In thousands of posts on Reddit people discuss the intoxicating effects on both the mind and body. The FDA recently warned it’s aware of these reports of consumers getting high and it’s concerned.
It can’t do much about it because of a loophole in the farm bill.
“It was the way the bill was written. But basically, it’s the distinction between the marijuana versus the hemp plant, and the amount of THC that it has in its dry form when it’s initially weighed,” says Caramela-Lindemann.
Delta 8 products come from hemp plants. The initial weight Caramela-Lindemann is talking about must be less than 0.3% THC. THC is the compound in marijuana that makes you high.
How much people consume of the finished product is up to them. If you’re 18, it’s your choice. The problem is poison control is getting calls about kids younger than 6 years old consuming Delta edibles.
Dr. Dawn Sollee with Poison Control said because of easier access, how the products look -- and even taste -- they can appear harmless, but you can’t underestimate the toxicity these products can have on a small child.
“Their heart rate can be up, their blood pressure can be up, they can be agitated, they can be acting abnormally. And so, therefore, it’s not uncommon, especially when a little kid gets into these, that they end up at a health care facility,” Sollee said.
At Touchdown Smoke Shop in San Marco, they have all kinds of Delta products. A bag of gummies can have 10 servings. That’s one small gummy per serving, but if they get in the wrong hands, a child might be tempted to eat an entire bag.
“A dose could be 1/8 of that chocolate bar. I don’t know about you, not even me, I’m not going to eat 1/8 of a chocolate bar. And I am pretty certain a little kid is not going to if they got exposed to it,” Sollee said.
Caramela-Lindemann at Roots CBD believes in the medicinal benefits of Delta products and that adults should have a choice to use them, just responsibly and never putting a child at risk.
“It’s just like any other medication that you would have in your home. Just because this might look like a candy that you could also purchase, you must be even more cautious of where you’re storing it and are you keeping it in a secure location so that kids don’t have access to it,” said Caramela-Lindemann.