Virginia mother Dorothy Annette Clements is facing felony murder and child neglect charges after her four-year-old died after ingesting “a large amount” of delta-8 THC gummies, CNN reports. Although it is less potent, delta-8 THC carries similar effects as delta-9 THC, the most common cannabinoid found in cannabis. Delta-8 has also been ruled to be federally legal as a hemp-derived substance under the 2018 Farm Bill.
The death, which occurred on May 8 after the four-year-old was put on life support on May 6 due to a “medical emergency,” is considered by Virginia’s Department of Health to be accidental, and “the cause of death is delta-8 toxicity,” according to the CNN report.
“Detectives believe the child ingested a large amount of THC gummies,” Major Troy Skebo of the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office told CNN. “The attending doctor told detectives that if medical intervention occurred shortly after ingestion, it could have prevented death. Statements made to detectives by the mother did not match evidence seized at the home.”
Clements was indicted by a grand jury last week and taken into custody on Thursday. She told WUSA9 before she was charged that the toddler was sitting beside her when she noticed he was having trouble breathing.
WUSA9 reported that Clements had realized the child had eaten a gummy and called poison control.
In September 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued warnings concerning the use of and experimentation with delta-8 THC products.
“The health effects of delta-8 THC have not yet been researched extensively and are not well-understood,” the CDC wrote in a Health Advisory report. “However, delta-8 THC is psychoactive and may have similar risks of impairment as delta-9 THC. As such, products that contain delta-8 THC but are labeled with only delta-9 THC content rather than with total THC content likely underestimate the psychoactive potential of these products for consumers.”
There are currently zero recorded deaths attributed to a cannabis or THC overdose.
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