June 24, 2022

There are so many things to be aware of while raising kids and THC is one more topic to put on that list.  While the information below won’t cover every detail, we hope it will help you stay up on the constantly changing marijuana of today while better supporting the kids in your lives. 

Please consider using this information as a starting point for further learning and thoughtful discussions with your family and friends.  Please share widely with those that care about kids!


Why it Matters:

Science tells us the brain does not fully develop until young adults are about 25 years old.  As the teenage brain develops, it is vulnerable to any substance that interferes with neural pathways which regulate emotion, mood, and behavior.

A growing market of THC products derived from the hemp plant has exploded across the United States.  These include substances like Delta-8 THC, Delta-10 THC, HHC and THC-O that mimic the intoxicating effects of marijuana products.  Delta-8 can have about 50% to 80% of the psychoactive effect as delta-9 (THC). Dr. Terpeluk in a Cleveland Clinic Article states,  “On some level, it’s an unregulated manufacturing market for drugs” .

FDA Warning -Many of the chemicals used in synthesizing delta-8 may be harmful.

National poison control centers received 2,362 exposure cases of delta-8 THC products between January 1, 2021, and February 28, 2022.  Many involved patients less than 18 years of age requiring medical evaluation and hospital admissions.


What you need to know:  

Marijuana plants contain many different natural chemical compounds called cannabinoids.  Cannabinoids affect the brain, body, and central nervous system. Delta-9 THC is one of the most prevalent, and well known as the psychoactive compound that causes the intoxicating effects in marijuana. 

The 2018 Farm Bill, included an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act to exclude the hemp plant from the definition of marijuana, provided it contains no more than a 0.3% concentration of delta-9 THC. Hemp-derived THC products present an area of legal ambiguity.  The market for these products is so new, that state and federal governments are just beginning to respond.

Some of the different compounds synthesized from hemp:

Delta-8 THC is just one of the many cannabinoids found naturally in cannabis plants.  The natural amount of delta-8 THC in hemp is very low, however, the psychoactive compound affects the brain similarly when inhaled or ingested.  Delta-8 can be extracted from legal hemp through a chemical process or synthetically created  in a lab from CBD.

Delta-10 THC doesn't activate the brain like delta-8 THC but still causes a psychoactive effect that may include mood changes.


HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid found in small amounts in the hemp plant.  CBD can also be synthesized into HHC through a chemical process.  Although HHC isn’t technically a THC, it is an intoxicating cannabinoid and produces similar effects such as euphoria, and changes in auditory and visual perceptions.  It also has similar side effects such as insomnia, anxiety and paranoia.  Because HHC is not THC, THC regulations may allow  HHC to remain on the open market.

THC-O is a non-natural cannabinoid, also called THC-O-acetate.  THC-O production begins by extracting delta-8 THC from hemp, then it is combined with other chemicals to synthesize THC-O.   THC-O is potentially more intoxicating than delta-8, delta-10, HHC, and even delta 9. This may be because it binds more tightly to the brain's cannabinoid receptors than the other THC forms.  “Many users describe THC-O as producing an almost psychedelic high, with borderline hallucinogenic effects.” as stated in a Vaping360 article.  Similar to other synthetic cannabinoids like Spice and K2, effects and side effects can be severe. 


There has been little research done on these compounds and little is known on the effects to the brain and body, yet they are often mistakenly grouped with CBD products.  

CBD is a chemical found in marijuana but does not have a psychoactive effect.  Most CBD products are sold as supplements which are not regulated by the FDA so labeling, dosage and purity may be inconsistent. Some CBD products are also sold in combination with delta-8, delta-10, HHC, and THC-O, the effects of which have not been researched or regulated.  

These THC products are sold in different forms including vaping products, beverages and edibles including cookies and candy.  Items can be purchased for an average of $20-$50 in the same places and under the same laws that allow CBD products to be sold.  They are easily available online, as well as at convenience stores, gas stations and head shops, where there may not be age limits or enforcement depending on state and local laws.

Brian was a sweet, loving, hard working 19-year-old. When Brian turned 18, he began using both Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC products. As his mother, I counseled Brian on why not to use these products. He reassured me that he was fine, but then Brian began to hear voices and complained of loss of time. He was in psychosis due to delta intoxication.  Brian took his own life October 15, 2021. 

As a parent I did not know much about the delta products.  I honestly thought it was just CBD.  I have made it my life’s mission to tell Brian’s story and to help educate others on the effects of delta products. They are not safe. These products are harmful to our youth. My tragedy should never happen to another family. If you want to know more about Brian’s story we have a Brian Fuller Legacy group on Facebook.

Edited for brevity. See Rita’s interview on The Drs.


What you can do:

Keep your eyes and ears open to new terms and slang youth and young adults are using.  Research new terms you hear (i.e. these products are sometimes referred to as marijuana-lite” or “diet weed”). Stay informed, talk to your kids and stay engaged. 

With over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, marijuana and hemp products continue to evolve very rapidly while information and legislation struggle to keep up.  New products, often kid-friendly and aggressively marketed, continue to be readily available.  Share your concerns with your local and state representatives.

Please visit our website and follow us on Twitter,  Facebook and LinkedIn.

Thank you for your care and support in better protecting our kids. 

The One Chance Team



Additional resources:

Talking with Your Teen About Marijuana

Youth and Marijuana | CDPHE

Cannabis Awareness and Prevention Toolkit | Stanford Medicine

Contact Us

One Chance to Grow Up
789 Sherman Street, Suite 250
Denver, Colorado 80203

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One Chance to Grow Up, formerly Smart Colorado, focuses on protecting kids across the nation from the dangers of today’s marijuana. We don’t take sides on the politics of legalization for adults but instead serve as a reliable resource for parents, media, policymakers, and all those who care about kids. Started by concerned parents, we’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by charitable contributions.


One Chance to Grow Up
789 Sherman Street Suite 250 | Denver, Colorado 80203
7203505366 | info@onechancetogrowup.org

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