New THC strain, Delta-8, creates concern in Roanoke County

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — A mistaken purchase at the convenience store could lead to a sick child as a new strain of THC is causing a stir in the Commonwealth.

According to chemists, Delta-8 is another strain of THC, which is created from hemp. The product is legal to sell because it has less than 0.3 percent of THC, but the product can still give you the feeling of being high, like marijuana.

Delta-8 gummies or candies are in a lot of local convenience stores, gas stations, and smoke shops. To buy or eat these items, you have to be an adult.

However, many of the Delta-8 edibles are wrapped in familiar brands, packaging, and even names that minors might be drawn to on the shelves.

The executive director of the Prevention Council of Roanoke County, Nancy Hans, says it is a huge concern.

“This is about being very conscientious about what is out there. We would hope that the convenience stores will take a second look at selling this stuff because it is currently legal. None of it is regulated, you cannot be guaranteed that what is on the label is truly what it is,” said Hans.

As of early August, the Poison Control Center of Virginia reported seeing nearly 80 exposure calls for a bad reaction to marijuana edibles. Approximately two-thirds of those calls involved kids.

“This is the beginning of what happens when legalization comes, and we really have to have a plan in place. So that this is not impacting children and families, because an adult can buy these things. But then they have to think about where they are placing them in their home if they choose to buy them,” said Hans.

Laura Barton, manager of Tobacco City in Roanoke County, says it’s not easy to get your hands on the product. In her shop, you have to be 21 and show a valid ID.

“We have cookies, we have ropes, we have dirt ropes, we run through a lot of Delta-8 products. They are buying them, especially since they are non-psychoactive. So you really do get the body feel of it minus the head,” said Barton.

Several states have banned packaging that looks like popular snacks, cartoons, animals, or anything else that might make kids reach for them.

Virginia, so far, has not.

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