(WJW) — Amid the growing popularity of products containing Cannabis sativa – think brownies and gummies – the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has shared five things they say you should know about the psychoactive substance that brings some serious health risks.

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8 THC, may be marketed in ways that put public health at risk and might be appealing to children, according to an update from the FDA.

The FDA recently sent warning letters to five companies Wednesday that sell delta-8 claiming the companies are illegally marketing the drugs with a promise of relief for various medical conditions. The companies have 15 working days to file a written response on how they will correct the violations.

Here are five things the FDA says to keep in mind about delta-8 THC:

  1. Delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use – The products, sold online and in stores, are sometimes marketed for therapeutic or medical uses. The FDA says it might deceive patients and other consumers who may use them instead of approved therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases.
  2. The FDA has received adverse event reports involving delta-8 THC-containing products – 104 reports of adverse events were received about patients who consumed delta-8 products between December 2020 and February 2022 including hallucinations, vomiting, tremor, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. One pediatric case ended in death.
  3. Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects – Delta-8 has psychoactive and intoxicating effects, similar to delta-9 THC – the one responsible for the “high” people get from cannabis. But the concern is that delta-8 products likely expose people to much higher levels of the substance than what naturally occurs in hemp cannabis raw extracts.
  4. Delta-8 THC products often involve use of potentially harmful chemicals during manufacturing – The FDA warns that some manufacturers may use potentially unsafe household chemicals to make delta-8 and also that manufacturing may happen in uncontrolled or unsanitary settings.
  5. Delta-8 THC products should be kept out of the reach of children and pets – These products are packaged in ways that may appeal to children including gummies, chocolates, cookies, candies and more. They may be purchased online and even convenience stores and gas stations, where there may not be age limits on who can purchase these products.

The FDA released the following statement when it announced the warning letters:

“The FDA is very concerned about the growing popularity of delta-8 THC products being sold online and in stores nationwide. These products often include claims that they treat or alleviate the side effects related to a wide variety of diseases or medical disorders, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, nausea and anxiety,” said FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “It is extremely troubling that some of the food products are packaged and labeled in ways that may appeal to children. We will continue to safeguard Americans’ health and safety by monitoring the marketplace and taking action when companies illegally sell products that pose a risk to public health.” 

The FDA says it has not approved any CBD products other than one prescription human drug product to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy.