Virginia is seeing a spike in THC-related poison control calls among toddlers and teens

Blue Ridge Poison Center says rise is largely due to products with extremely high concentrations of hemp-derived cannabinoids
Attorney General Jason Miyares displayed a bin of THC edible products from Virginia stores....
Attorney General Jason Miyares displayed a bin of THC edible products from Virginia stores. Experts say the products have caused a spike in poison control calls involving young children and teens.(Graham Moomaw Virginia Mercury)
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 9:55 PM EDT
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The director of the University of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Poison Center said he’s seeing an increase in calls involving synthetic THC products with the same intoxicating effects as marijuana.

In a Tuesday presentation to a recently formed state task force, Dr. Chris Holstege said the current spike was largely attributable to Delta-8, a lab-made cannabinoid extracted from hemp. While the compound was largely unheard of in 2020, the center announced a 30% increase in calls related to its consumption over the last year, largely linked to edibles shaped like popular candies.

The center reported 175 THC-related calls as of July 31 and an additional 217 calls in 2021, according to Holstege’s data. More than a third resulted in an emergency room visit, and 24 exposures required admission to a critical care unit.

The majority of Delta-8 exposures between 2021 and 2022 were among teenage patients and young adults aged 19 and older, including three UVA students who came into the emergency room last fall, Holstege said. He compared the current spike to 2009, when the center began reporting a growing number of calls related to other synthetic cannabinoids often called “Spice” or “K2.”

Unlike the mid-2000s spike, though, Holstege said some of the most recent Delta-8-related cases have involved young children, including 24 calls for patients aged five and younger.

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