A legal drug that gets people “high” recently sent two residents to the hospital.
A Janesville police report tells the tale of two men and a woman, ages 33, 33 and 20, respectively, who received free samples of “delta-8 THC” gummies at Uptown Janesville, the former Janesville Mall, on Aug. 8.
One of them took a 100-mg gummy, another a 50-mg dose, and a third ate what was described as a one-gummy square.
Delta-8 THC is said to provide a “high” that is similar to the Delta-9 THC found in marijuana, but unlike marijuana and Delta-9 THC edibles, the Delta-8 version is legal.
Some have described the Delta-8 high as a milder high than that from smoking marijuana, but the recent case indicates that is not always the case.
One of the men was later described as unconscious with a possible seizure. The woman was shaking and had a rapid heartbeat. The condition of the third person was not noted in the report.
All three declined medical help from an ambulance crew, but they later began to experience more bad reactions and called for an ambulance to take them to Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center, Janesville, the police report states.
Darcy Larum, general manager of the Hemp 1848 store in downtown Janesville, says she warns people against taking too much delta-8 when they try if for the first time, and she warns them against driving high.
“It’s intoxicating. I look at it that way. I mean, you’re intoxicated,” she said.
“Everybody reacts a little bit different to the different gummies,” Larum said when asked about adverse reactions.
Even heavy marijuana smokers can get adverse effects, she said.
Larum said she usually tells people to start with one half of a 100-mg gummy.
“If you’re doing what we say, you should be pretty safe,” Larum said. “We really advise you to start really slowly and give it some time. Unfortunately, people don’t listen.
“We want the right information out there. We don’t want people getting sick.”
In addition to the 100-mg gummies, the store offers 80-mg cookies and a 600-mg gummy rope. The store imports delta-8 liquid from Colorado and uses it to make various edibles as well as a topical cream and a roll-on version, Larum said.
Larum says the delta-8 has medicinal properties with good results in relieving headaches and other pain. She said she burned herself while cooking some edibles, put some of the cream on the burn and it healed very quickly.
For those feeling their dose was too big, Larum advises drinking lemon water or smoking CBD, which Hemp 1848 also sells.
CBD is a legal extract of hemp plants that is sold for its supposed medicinal properties that include relieving pain. Both CBD and delta-8 THC are derived from hemp, which is why they are legal.
Delta-9 THC, however, is the psychoactive substance in marijuana and remains a controlled substance in Wisconsin and many other states.
Glenn J. Milos, an emergency doctor at Mercyhealth, said in an email that delta-8 gummies can cause slow or rapid heartbeat, anxiety, a sedative effect, dry mouth and eyes, grogginess, low blood pressure, numbness, and impaired thinking and physical abilities.
Larum said delta-8 relieves her pain and helps her sleep, but she knows many if not most of her customers buy it for the high. She said she advises them to do it at home and not to drive while under the influence.
Janesville police warned about delta-8 last spring, saying that while the drug is sold legally, it can lead to arrests if people use it and drive.
Delta-8 will show up as positive for THC in blood and urine tests, just as the illegal delta-9 THC does, police said.