Suzan Kennedy has smoked marijuana, and says her Wisconsin roots mean she can handle booze, so she was not concerned earlier this year when a bartender in St. Paul, Minnesota, described a cocktail with the cannabinoid delta-8 THC as “a little bit potent.”
Hours after enjoying the tasty drink and the silliness that reminded Kennedy of a high from weed, she said, she started to feel “really shaky and faint” before collapsing in her friend’s arms. Kennedy regained consciousness and recovered, but her distaste for delta-8 remains, even though the substance is legal at the federal level, unlike marijuana.
“I’m not one to really tell people what to do,” said Kennedy, 35, who lives in Milwaukee and works in software sales. But if a friend tried to order a delta-8 drink, “I would tell them, ‘Absolutely not. You’re not putting that in your body.’”
The FDA and some marijuana industry experts share Kennedy’s concerns. At least a dozen states have banned the hemp-derived drug, including Colorado, Montana, New York, and Oregon, which have legalized marijuana. But delta-8 manufacturers call the concerns unfounded and say they’re driven by marijuana businesses trying to protect their market share.
So what is the difference? The flower of the marijuana plant, oil derived from it, and edibles made from those contain delta-9 tetrahy …