Summary: A study published in JAMA reveals that over one-fifth of American adults have used unregulated hemp-derived products, such as cannabidiol (CBD), Delta-9 THC, CBG and other cannabinoids. The study, which surveyed over 1,100 adults, highlights concerns about the unregulated nature of these products and their potential risks, including unknown contaminants.
2023 Recap: Concerns Raised Over Use of Unregulated Hemp Products in the US
- Widespread Use of CBD and Other Cannabinoids: Approximately 25.2% of adults reported using emerging cannabinoids, including Delta-8 THC, with 21% specifically using CBD. Other hemp-derived products like delta-8 THC, cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN) also showed varying rates of usage among the respondents.
- Lack of Regulation and Safety Concerns: The study raises concerns about the unregulated nature of hemp-derived products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these products, leading to no federal standards for testing ingredients for safety or verifying ingredients as listed on labels. This lack of regulation could expose users to adverse effects from unknown contaminants.
- Potential Health Risks: Kevin F. Boehnke, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan, warns about the risks of using medically unregulated products that may contain heavy metals, pesticides, and may lack the active ingredient. The study also highlights concerns about delta-8 THC, which has been associated with psychiatric issues, painful breathing, gastrointestinal problems, and accidental overdose.
- Impact of Cannabis Legalization on Delta-8 THC Use: The study suggests that cannabis prohibition may unintentionally promote the use of delta-8 THC. In states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, residents had significantly lower odds of using delta-8 THC compared to those in states without legalization.
- Patient Perceptions and Physician Responses: Alice Kuo, MD, Ph.D., a pediatrician and professor at the University of California, notes an increase in patients using nonpsychotropic cannabinoid products, often perceived as “natural.” However, she expresses caution about the mental and emotional impact of psychotropic cannabinoids like delta-8 THC.
The study was partially supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health and involved various authors receiving grants from different entities.
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