Health Canada will study the effects of neocannabinoids

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Health Canada, which manages the regulation of cannabis in Canada, will study the effects of different cannabinoids that recreate the effect of delta-9-THC.

The federal regulator plans to work with provinces and territories on this issue and “will continue research and monitoring, data collection and analysis to support possible future regulatory changes,” according to a statement. shared with StratCann. The results of the project are expected this year.

Precautionary principle

The statement comes after two of Canada’s largest cannabis markets, Ontario and British Columbia, announced they were suspending approval of any new delta-8-THC products pending advice from Health Canada. The research will focus on different cannabinoids, including delta-8.

To reduce the risks associated with accidental consumption and overconsumption, federal cannabis law and regulations set limits of 10 mg per package for delta-9-THC in ediblesor 1000 mg for extracts and topicals, but no such limit yet exists for products that contain other THC polymers than delta-9.

“While there is currently no similar legal requirement for other intoxicating cannabinoids like delta-8-THC, Health Canada strongly recommends that the total amount of intoxicating cannabinoids not exceed the regulatory limits set for delta-9. -THC, and that testing and accurate descriptions of intoxicating cannabinoid content be clearly stated on product labels,” explained a Health Canada adviser.

“Delta-8-THC is an intoxicating cannabinoid,” he continues, “and one of many cannabinoids found in or produced naturally by the cannabis plant. However, delta-8-THC does not occur naturally in significant amounts in the plant. As such, delta-8-THC is usually made from cannabidiol (CBD) by a licensed cannabis processor. »

Unknown health effects

“Cannabis products containing delta-8-THC pose potential health and safety risks that may be similar to those of delta-9-THC, some of which may be serious or life-threatening. Products containing high levels of delta-8-THC have little or no history of use, so the scientific and medical understanding of their biological effects and health risks is still developing. Health Canada is closely monitoring the emergence on the Canadian market of products containing high levels of delta-8 THC, as well as products that may contain high levels of other intoxicating new cannabinoids. »

“Health Canada is currently commissioning preliminary research projects in rodents to begin comparing the psychoactive effects of various cannabinoids other than delta-9-THC. This will make it possible to better know the equivalence of intoxication of these cannabinoids other than delta-9-THC with delta-9-THC. The data generated by this project and other potential projects on this topic could contribute to public education and awareness efforts, potential risk assessments, and any policies or regulations regarding these substances. The results of this initial pilot project are expected in calendar year 2023.”

Delta-8 THC products hit the Canadian market in 2022, with a handful of companies offering products like candies, drinks, and vape pens. However, sales of these products appear to be relatively low according to various local reports.

Health Canada says it will “continue to monitor the effects and risks of all cannabis products, including products high in delta-8 THC, and take appropriate action as needed,” without announcing at this time. national policy change.

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