KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Poison Control Center answered 115 calls from people concerned about consuming Delta 8 — a legal form of THC — last year, its medical director said.
Dr. Rebecca Bruccoleri said 32 of those calls involved children under 5 years old consuming the drug which causes effects similar to marijuana and can be packaged in candy-like gummy form.
"When it tastes like candy, it’s much easier for a child to ingest a large amount of a substance," she said. "This is not a harmless substance and it’s really, really important to keep it away from kids."
If children have too much, she said it could make them sleepy and could interfere with breathing. Bruccoleri expects more calls from children and adults in the coming year as the legal product gains popularity.
"Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s safer," she said, adding that she advises against consuming the product. "[Having too much] can be a very unpleasant experience as well for adults."
For adults who are experiencing breathing problems or seizures in reaction to the drug, she says to call 911. For more mild reactions, trained professionals at poison control are available 24 hours a day — though there's not much they can do to help combat the high.
"There’s no antidote," she said. "It’s supportive care. But the best thing to do is call the poison center and we’ll guide you through it."
She said the 115 calls pale in comparison to concerns about other substances, but are enough that she considers it statistically significant.
Tennessee Poison Control is available at 1-800-222-1222.