Mississippi right to address intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids

  • Just because a retailer sells these items doesn’t mean they’re safe.

If you’ve recently been inside a convenience store in our state to buy a soda or snack, you may have noticed a large number of items behind the counter, or a locked cabinet, that have colorful packaging and names like Delta 8, THC-P. , HHC and THC-O, among many others. Unbeknownst to most customers, these products contain what are known as intoxicating cannabinoids derived from hemp. But just because a retailer sells these items doesn’t mean they’re safe.

In 2020, Dr. Bill Gurley, Principal Scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi (UM), along with his colleagues, published a study that looked at some of these products that were sold in our state. . At the time, most of the available products being sold were promoted as CBD (cannabidiol), a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis. Undercover law enforcement officers purchased twenty-five of these products, which were sent to UM researchers for analysis. The results were alarming: only three products claiming to contain CBD were within 20% of what the product label said; three products contained delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (d-9 THC), a predominant intoxicating compound found in cannabis; and three products did not contain any type of cannabinoid material.

In another study published by UM in 2023, Dr. Mohamed Radwan and colleagues analyzed products containing delta-8 THC, an intoxicating compound found in trace amounts in cannabis. Because only trace amounts of delta-8 THC are found in cannabis naturally, manufacturers chemically alter CBD to make delta-8 THC for the active ingredient in products. This process of adding chemicals to create synthetic products like those mentioned above (delta-8, THC-P, HHC, etc.) results in many byproducts that could be harmful when ingested. Also, the manufacturers of these products often do not disclose what these by-products are or how much you are ingesting. This study found several impurities in these products and a wide variability in their content.

Some of the side effects of these products are anxiety, vomiting, dizziness, loss of consciousness, tremors, hallucinations, and rapid heart rate. The Centers for Disease Control found that since these products have become widely available to the public, hospitalizations of children under the age of 10 have skyrocketed as a result of accidentally ingesting edible cannabis products (gums , cookies, etc.). The Mississippi Poison Control Center has seen similar cases of emergency room visits and hospitalizations, primarily due to children having access to these products purchased by a parent or guardian and thinking it was candy or a appetizer, and then they had a horrible side effect.

A reasonable question to ask is, why are these products allowed to be sold in the first place? In 2018, US lawmakers passed the Agricultural Improvement Act, commonly known as the Farm Bill of 2018. As we previously discussed about the 2020 CBD study, when these products were obtained, most of the products were based on CBD. However, as companies took a closer look at the Farm Bill, a loophole was noticed that also allowed the sale of declared derivatives. This may have been an unintended consequence of the language of the bills, but nevertheless, companies started making these highly intoxicating products like the ones we’ve discussed (delta-8, THC-P, HHC, etc.). These products are outside the government of the FDA and DEA, so they are not regulated and can be sold at gas stations, convenience stores, vape shops, etc.

This problem is not unique to Mississippi and the federal government realizes it needs to act to solve it, but until then, states must take steps to protect their citizens. Fortunately, Mississippi now has one of the most comprehensive solutions in the country on the table. Representative Lee Yancey (District 74) has sponsored House Bill 1676, which addresses this issue, the primary focus being consumer safety. By taking these products off the shelves of gas stations and vape shops and placing them under the strict rules and parameters of Mississippi’s medical cannabis program dispensaries, we can be assured of product purity, correct dosage/labeling, and consistency, which they are not currently. the case of products sold today in retail outlets.

I commend Representative Yancey and his colleagues who have supported this bill, as Mississippi can lead the way in how to address this issue and other states can follow our lead.

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