- Everything you need to know about THC including 4 health benefits, potential risks, and how long it stays in your system
- CBD vs. THC
- How long does THC stay in your body?
- 4 Benefits of THC
- Insider's takeaway
- 5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC
- 1. Delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use and may be marketed in ways that put the public health at risk
- 2. The FDA has received adverse event reports involving delta-8 THC-containing products.
- 3. Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects
- 4. Delta-8 THC products often involve use of potentially harmful chemicals to create the concentrations of delta-8 THC claimed in the marketplace.
- 5. Delta-8 THC products should be kept the reach of children and pets
- Why is the FDA notifying the public about delta-8 THC?
- How to report complaints and cases of accidental exposure or adverse events:
Everything you need to know about THC including 4 health benefits, potential risks, and how long it stays in your system
Short for tetrahydrocannabinol, THC is the component in marijuana responsible for the plant's psychoactive effects. When you feel «high» after using marijuana, that's because of THC.
THC is a cannabinoid, a category of chemicals that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system. By attaching to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, THC activates neurons that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, coordination, and time perception.
Some research and anecdotal evidence indicate THC may be used to treat a range of medical conditions. And from a recreational standpoint, it can feel good, causing a sensation of euphoria and relaxation in some.
Here is what you need to know about THC from how it differs from CBD to its therapeutic uses.
CBD vs. THC
Related What's the difference between CBD and THC? Understanding their health benefits and side effects
After THC, CBD is the most prevalent cannabinoid in marijuana.
Un THC, CBD won't get you high. That's because CBD does not stimulate cannabinoid receptors in the brain THC, says Jordan Tishler, MD, President of the Association of Cannabis Specialists. Instead, it changes how those receptors react to THC. For example, researchers have found CBD can weaken THC's anxiety-causing effects.
Another difference between THC and CBD is legality. In the United States, cannabis is federally illegal. However, on the state level legality varies:
- 16 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have legalized small amounts of marijuana for recreational use
- 27 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana
- 19 states have legalized medical marijuana only
As for CBD's legality? It's complicated.
CBD from industrial hemp (or cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) is legal, but CBD obtained from marijuana (cannabis with more than 0.3% THC) can only be used in states where weed is legal.
- Concentrates (oil)
- Marijuana-infused edibles (candies, drinks, baked goods)
Important: The drugs Marinol and Syndros contain a synthetic form of THC and are available by prescription to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, as well as stimulate appetite and weight loss in people with HIV/AIDs.
How long does THC stay in your body?
Related Weed can stay in your system for a few days to a few months — here's how to get it out faster
THC will build up in your system over time, so how frequently you use THC determines how long it remains in your body. In general, THC can be detected in infrequent users for one to three days after last use and 30 days or longer in chronic users.
Your method of consumption plays a role, too: For example, your body takes longer to process the THC in an edible, meaning it will stay in your system longer than vaping or smoking.
Here's how long THC can be detected in your system using various testing methods:
Important: Contrary to popular belief, you can't flush THC your system by sweating or drinking water, but experts say the only way to detox THC is by waiting it out and stopping use.
4 Benefits of THC
THC is used medicinally to relieve symptoms of certain conditions. But, because cannabis is federally illegal in the United States, research on THC is significantly limited.
«Most of the clinical data we have is anecdotal evidence or evidence from practitioners in states where they allow medical marijuana,» says Amol Soin, MD, the medical director of the Ohio Pain Clinic and member of the Ohio Medical Marijuana board. «Marijuana is a [DEA] schedule one substance, which eliminates the ability to do a lot of clinical trial work.»
Here are some of the emerging benefits, researchers have found so far:
1. Alleviates pain
Chronic pain relief is the most common reason why people seek medical marijuana. A large 2015 systematic review evaluated cannabis studies in patients with chronic pain and found THC increased the odds for pain improvement by around 40%.
While clinical trials support the use of cannabis for chronic pain, researchers agree more studies are needed to determine what doses, forms, and combinations of cannabinoids are most therapeutic for chronic pain patients.
2. Reduces nausea from chemotherapy
Two oral THC-containing drugs — nabilone and dronabinol — have been available for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting for more than 30 years.
A small 2010 study of chemo patients found those who took a THC-containing medicine in combination with standard treatment experienced stronger protection against nausea and vomiting than patients who received the standard treatment alone.
3. Reduces muscle spasms in paraplegics
Studies suggest THC products can modestly reduce muscle spasms, a common symptom experienced by people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and paraplegia.
In fact, a large 2015 systematic review concluded that THC used in combination with other cannabinoids improved self-reported muscle spasms more than a placebo, although the difference was not statistically significant.
4. Improves sleep
Sleep disturbances are typical in people living with health problems MS and chronic pain. Studies in these groups show THC products can improve short-term sleep problems, reduce sleep disturbances, and decrease the time it takes to fall asleep. However, it's unclear whether the THC directly affects sleep quality or whether sleep is improved because chronic symptoms were reduced.
THC is the active ingredient in marijuana responsible for making you feel high. Some studies indicate it can relieve chronic pain and other health problems.
But, THC isn't all good — for some it can be addictive, and, while, you can't fatally overdose on THC, consuming too large of a dose could trigger uncomfortable side effects, including paranoia, anxiety, dry mouth, and nausea or vomiting.
5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8 THC, is a psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis sativa plant, of which marijuana and hemp are two varieties.
Delta-8 THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids produced naturally by the cannabis plant but is not found in significant amounts in the cannabis plant.
As a result, concentrated amounts of delta-8 THC are typically manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).
It is important for consumers to be aware that delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context. They may be marketed in ways that put the public health at risk and should especially be kept reach of children and pets.
Here are 5 things you should know about delta-8 THC to keep you and those you care for safe from products that may pose serious health risks:
1. Delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use and may be marketed in ways that put the public health at risk
The FDA is aware of the growing concerns surrounding delta-8 THC products currently being sold online and in stores. These products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context. Some concerns include variability in product formulations and product labeling, other cannabinoid and terpene content, and variable delta-8 THC concentrations.
Additionally, some of these products may be labeled simply as “hemp products,” which may mislead consumers who associate “hemp” with “non-psychoactive.” Furthermore, the FDA is concerned by the proliferation of products that contain delta-8 THC and are marketed for therapeutic or medical uses, although they have not been approved by the FDA.
Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of federal law, but also can put consumers at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective.
This deceptive marketing of unproven treatments raises significant public health concerns because patients and other consumers 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.
From December 2020 through July 2021, the FDA received adverse event reports from both consumers and law enforcement describing 22 patients who consumed delta-8 THC products; of these, 14 presented to a hospital or emergency room for treatment following the ingestion. Of the 22 patients, 19 experienced adverse events after ingesting delta-8 THC-containing food products (e.g., brownies, gummies). Adverse events included vomiting, hallucinations, trouble standing, and loss of consciousness.
National poison control centers received 661 exposure cases of delta-8 THC products between January 2018 and July 31, 2021, 660 of which occurred between January 1, 2021, and July 31, 2021. Of the 661 exposure cases:
- 41% involved unintentional exposure to delta-8 THC and 77% of these unintentional exposures affected pediatric patients less than 18 years of age.
- 39% involved pediatric patients less than 18 years of age
- 18% required hospitalizations, including children who required intensive care unit (ICU) admission following exposure to these products.
3. Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects
Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects, similar to delta-9 THC (i.e., the component responsible for the “high” people may experience from using cannabis). The FDA is aware of media reports of delta-8 THC products getting consumers “high.
” The FDA is also concerned that delta-8 THC products ly expose consumers to much higher levels of the substance than are naturally occurring in hemp cannabis raw extracts.
Thus, historical use of cannabis cannot be relied upon in establishing a level of safety for these products in humans.
4. Delta-8 THC products often involve use of potentially harmful chemicals to create the concentrations of delta-8 THC claimed in the marketplace.
The natural amount of delta-8 THC in hemp is very low, and additional chemicals are needed to convert other cannabinoids in hemp, CBD, into delta-8 THC (i.e., synthetic conversion). Concerns with this process include:
- Some manufacturers may use potentially unsafe household chemicals to make delta-8 THC through this chemical synthesis process. Additional chemicals may be used to change the color of the final product. The final delta-8 THC product may have potentially harmful by-products (contaminants) due to the chemicals used in the process, and there is uncertainty with respect to other potential contaminants that may be present or produced depending on the composition of the starting raw material. If consumed or inhaled, these chemicals, including some used to make (synthesize) delta-8 THC and the by-products created during synthesis, can be harmful.
- Manufacturing of delta-8 THC products may occur in uncontrolled or unsanitary settings, which may lead to the presence of unsafe contaminants or other potentially harmful substances.
5. Delta-8 THC products should be kept the reach of children and pets
Manufacturers are packaging and labeling these products in ways that may appeal to children (gummies, chocolates, cookies, candies, etc.). These products may be purchased online, as well as at a variety of retailers, including convenience stores and gas stations, where there may not be age limits on who can purchase these products.
As discussed above, there have been numerous poison control center alerts involving pediatric patients who were exposed to delta-8 THC-containing products. Additionally, animal poison control centers have indicated a sharp overall increase in accidental exposure of pets to these products. Keep these products reach of children and pets.
Why is the FDA notifying the public about delta-8 THC?
A combination of factors has led the FDA to provide consumers with this information. These factors include:
- An uptick in adverse event reports to the FDA and the nation’s poison control centers.
- Marketing, including online marketing of products, that is appealing to children.
- Concerns regarding contamination due to methods of manufacturing that may in some cases be used to produce marketed delta-8 THC products.
The FDA is actively working with federal and state partners to further address the concerns related to these products and monitoring the market for product complaints, adverse events, and other emerging cannabis-derived products of potential concern. The FDA will warn consumers about public health and safety issues and take action, when necessary, when FDA-regulated products violate the law.
How to report complaints and cases of accidental exposure or adverse events:
If you think you are having a serious side effect that is an immediate danger to your health, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency room. Health care professionals and patients are encouraged to report complaints and cases of accidental exposure and adverse events to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
For more information about Delta-8 THC: CDC HEALTH ALERT NETWORK (HAN)
The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) maintains the National Poison Data System (NPDS), which houses de-identified case records of self-reported information collected from callers during exposure management and poison information calls managed by the country’s poison control centers (PCCs).
NPDS data do not reflect the entire universe of exposures to a particular substance as additional exposures may go unreported to PCCs; accordingly, NPDS data should not be construed to represent the complete incidence of U.S. exposures to any substance(s).
Exposures do not necessarily represent a poisoning or overdose and AAPCC is not able to completely verify the accuracy of every report. Findings NPDS data do not necessarily reflect the opinions of AAPCC.