On July 5, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to six businesses for selling counterfeit food items that included delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8 THC.
These goods often need clarification with snacks like chips, cookies, candies, gummies, or other snack foods. The FDA worries that customers, especially younger audiences, may mistakenly eat these items or take them in larger dosages than recommended.
The six companies that received warning letters include:
- Delta Munchies
- Dr. Smoke LLC (Dr. S LLC)
- Exclusive Hemp Farms/Oshipt
- Nikte's Wholesale LLC
- North Carolina Hemp Exchange LLC
- The Haunted Vapor Room
"Children are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of THC, with many who have been sickened and even hospitalized after eating 'edibles' containing it. That's why we're issuing warnings to several companies selling copycat food products containing delta-8 THC, which can be easily mistaken for popular foods that are appealing to children and can make it easy for a young child to ingest in very high doses without realizing it."- FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Janet Woodcock
Since the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and its derivatives legal, the market for delta-8 THC and other new cannabinoids has grown significantly. FDA and FTC have often used discretion when deciding whether to take enforcement action against companies that sell goods containing ingredients like CBD or delta-8, focusing on those whose packaging or medical benefit claims are remarkably deceptive.
Woodcock continues that by adopting identical brand names, logos, or packaging images to well-known snack food companies, the items they advise about risk confusing consumers, particularly young children, with traditional snack foods. Additionally, the agencies worry that people may mistakenly consume them or consume more than recommended, which might have detrimental effects.
This risk is particularly hazardous for people operating a vehicle, working, or having other duties. The FDA is still committed to pursuing legal action against any business selling regulated goods violating the law and endangering the public's health.
A compound called delta-8 THC is present in the Cannabis sativa plant, of which hemp and marijuana are two forms. It may harm consumers because of its psychotropic and euphoric properties, and the FDA has not deemed it safe for use in any situation, even when added to food.
The FDA has received reports of severe adverse effects, including hallucinations, vomiting, tremor, anxiety, disorientation, confusion, and loss of consciousness, that consumers of these products have experienced. The FDA also worries that businesses are using unsafe production methods to create delta-8 THC, which might lead to contaminated goods.
The agency also issued a consumer alert in June 2022 regarding using food items containing delta-8 THC. According to the warning, the government received over 125 complaints of adverse events involving children and adults who ingested edible goods containing delta-8 THC from January 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022.
In ten of the reports, it is expressly stated that the edible product is a knockoff of well-known snack items. Consumers should cease using the product immediately and contact their doctor if they believe a product may have triggered a response or an illness.
The FDA further urges consumers and healthcare professionals to use MedWatch or the Safety Reporting Portal to submit reports to the organization regarding adverse events related to goods under FDA regulation.
According to these warning letters, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act has been violated by adding delta-8 THC to regular meals. The FDA has asked the six firms that received warning letters to respond in writing within 15 business days, outlining how they plan to rectify these breaches and avoid them happening again.
Legal action, including product seizure and injunctions, may be taken if the infractions are not corrected immediately.
The director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, Samuel Levine, concludes: "Marketing edible THC products that can be easily mistaken by children for regular foods is reckless and illegal. Companies must ensure that their products are marketed safely and responsibly, especially when it comes to protecting the well-being of children."