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Don’t believe the high: FDA issues warning over misleading legal weed claims

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Food and Drug Administration ‘concerned’ about unproven health claims and packaging that appeals to children

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings to companies selling products including delta-8 THC, a cannabis compound, for making unsupported claims about the health benefits of the items.

The FDA said even though there is very little research on delta-8 THC, a substance found in the cannabis sativa plant, online retailers and cafes are claiming products containing the compound will reduce anxiety or help with sleeping.

Delta-8 can induce a “high” in users but is derived from a similar part of the marijuana plant to CBD, a non-psychoactive and legal compound, which makes the legality of delta-8 unclear.

The FDA said several people had been hospitalized after taking delta-8 and sent warning letters to five companies – ATLRx, BioMD Plus, Delta 8 Hemp, Kingdom Harvest, and M Six Labs – for allegedly making false claims about its benefits.

“The FDA is very concerned about the growing popularity of delta-8 THC products being sold online and in stores nationwide,” said Janet Woodcock, deputy commissioner of the FDA. “It is extremely troubling that some of the food products are packaged and labeled in ways that may appeal to children.”

The FDA crackdown on delta-8 comes at a time when laws concerning marijuana, which is still federally banned, are in a state of flux. There is a new push in Congress, from lawmakers in both major parties, to enable cannabis firms to use banking services, which would be a significant step towards establishing their legitimacy across the US.

The federal ban on cannabis forces weed dispensaries to deal in cash, which makes them a target for robberies.

“This is a cash-only business right now. It’s dangerous for the employees,” Murray, a member of the Senate conference committee heading negotiations for the final version of the bill, told the Hill. “It’s dangerous for the patrons, and it can be fixed.”

Groups including the American Bankers Association are lobbying lawmakers to advance a standalone bill that would provide banking services to cannabis providers, claiming it will help reduce crime and increase tax revenues. Steve Daines, a Republican senator, said he is confident that such a bill would have the required votes from both GOP and Democratic lawmakers.

Last month, a bill that decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level passed the US House of Representatives. It has yet to face a vote in the Senate, however, and Joe Biden has yet to back the idea, despite vowing to support the decriminalization of weed users when campaigning for the presidency.

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