The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) has issued a health advisory warning Missourians about the significant health risks linked to the consumption of Hemp-Derived Intoxicating Cannabinoids, such as delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds. These products are not regulated and pose a particular risk to youth, according to DHSS.

Summary of the Health Alert

The amplified availability of Hemp-Derived Intoxicating Cannabinoids has led to an increase in adverse reactions.
These compounds are untested, unregulated, and available to the public without restrictions.
Missourians are urged to avoid these products until safety data for human consumption becomes available.

Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, it also included “derivatives” and “isomers” as long as the delta-9 THC content is under 0.3%. However, this has led to the development of chemically derived intoxicating cannabinoids from hemp, which are not regulated post-harvest. The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates hemp, but only up to the point of harvest. The FDA considers these compounds unapproved food additives or drugs.

Unregulated hemp products sold at a mall kiosk.

The consumption of these cannabinoids is on the rise, particularly among the youth. Earlier this week the Attorney General issued Civil Investigative Demand (CID) letters to multiple businesses including two hemp manufacturers and retailers regarding their products and marketing practices.

A March 2024 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlighted that 11.4% of U.S. 12th graders reported using Delta-8-THC, with higher usage rates in the Midwest. These products are often marketed in ways that appeal to younger consumers, including being available in forms that mimic popular food products.

The health risks associated with these products include poisoning, potential for unexpected intoxication, and appeal to children due to their packaging and availability. There are no regulated potency limits, and the products often contain inaccuracies in labeling. DHSS advises the public, especially youth, to avoid these products. Retailers are encouraged to ensure the products they sell are tested for contaminants and clearly labeled. Missouri currently discourages the sale of these products until further safety data is available.

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