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Health, Science & Environment

Utah Cannabinoid Product Board takes a stance on delta-8 THC

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to study or approve delta-8 THC products.

Patient advocates and some Utah pharmacists have been raising awareness about cannabis products containing delta-8 THC due to its potential health effects.

It is a naturally occurring substance that appears in small amounts in the cannabis plant. While it can still get you high, it’s less potent than the more commonly known delta-9.

Mindy Madeo, a pharmacist at the medical marijuana Beehive Farmacy in Brigham City, said delta-8 came onto the medical market pretty early. Madeo said it’s been commonly advertised as a “THC lite” or a “diet weed.”

“They still say it today that the delta-8 will help treat your symptoms without getting you high,” she said. “So if you don't want to get high, you should use delta-8. But to me, that's a very dangerous statement for something that is psychoactive.”

She has been concerned with the messages about these products, particularly with vape cartridges and their safety. She pointed out the lack of scientific research that’s been done in the area.

Madeo said she’s not against delta-8 but she wants to see more studies on it. Patient safety is her biggest worry.

Federal regulators like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have yet to study or approve the cannabinoid which is typically manufactured from hemp. They along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued healthy safety warnings about it.

After listening to researchers and reviewing literature on the matter, the Utah Cannabinoid Product Board voted unanimously to take a stance against analog cannabinoids Tuesday.

Dr. Perry Fine, chair of the board, said “at this time, there is no evidence of therapeutic benefit of the analog derived synthesized cannabinoids, [including] delta-8 THC.”

“Risks have been described by federal regulatory bodies and peer reviewed publications regarding delta-8 THC,” Fine said. “At this time, we do not support any therapeutic uses of analog cannabis products.”

Rich Oborn, director of the Center for Medical Cannabis for the Utah Department of Health, said the board's position on this issue is a big factor to consider when thinking about what products are on the market.

“I think the board and its recommendations do hold a lot of value in policy, and we would hope that they would continue to be considered as a factor in decisions that the policymakers make,” he said.

Oborn said it will be up to lawmakers to make legislative changes. But until then, the next step is sharing the board’s position with state leaders, and for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to make a decision on this issue.

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