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Delta-8 raises concern within community

Maddy Kresal
Delta-8 is a substance that has been seen in many cities and schools. The use of Delta-8 can lead to the following effects of hallucinations, vomiting, dry mouth and eyes, confusion, dizziness, anxiety, increased appetite, and loss of consciousness.

The Berlin Common Council held a meeting on Dec. 13 to discuss the substance Delta-8 that has seen increased use in the city and schools. Local law enforcement and school district leaders gave input on how it has made an impact for students at school. 

“It is new and I think ease of access is a big reason we have seen an increase in its presence at school. We are not alone. Schools across the country are seeing it more,” Principal Bryant Bednarek said. “Delta-8 impacts cognitive function, thus impacting a student’s ability to learn. The presence in our school has also created a disruption and an unsafe and uncomfortable environment for many.”

According to the Food and Drug Administration, Delta-8 is, “a psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis sativa plant.” Consuming Delta-8 in forms of carts, edibles, drinks, pipes, joints, blunts, bongs, and pills, can all make a person have the following effects of hallucinations, vomiting, dry mouth and eyes, confusion, dizziness, anxiety, increased appetite, and loss of consciousness. As this substance has a serious effect on students, more supervision will be enforced within the school.

“We are continuing to evaluate how to prevent Delta-8 and other substances from coming into our school. This could include increased supervision in certain areas and more education and counseling,” Bednarek said. 

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Regarding consequences, there are a variety of ways to go about disciplining a person that is caught with the possession of Delta-8.

“Possession of THC in any form is a level IV code of conduct infraction (highest level). Each situation is unique, but possession/use of THC in school is a major infraction that could lead to expulsion,” Bednarek said. 

As for students involved in sports, the athletic code consequence to being caught with Delta-8 is a level 1A offense. 

“I hope all of our students, especially our student-athletes, know what they are putting into their bodies and the negative effects things like Delta-8 can have on it,” Athletic Director Joe Stellmacher said. 

While Delta-8 is a concern, there are also other substances that have been influencing people including Delta-9. Delta-9 contains a ninth carbon atom with a double bond, making it stronger than Delta-8. The effects of this are severe hallucinations, increased blood pressure, and panic attacks. As for Delta-8, it only contains an eighth carbon atom with a double bond. 

“Delta-8 presents a challenging situation. Let me first explain that the market is largely unregulated. Legally, Delta-8 can possess as much as .3% Delta-9 THC. Without laboratory testing, items produced and even intended to have less than .3% Delta-9 could still contain more than the legal limit,” Chief of Police Brian Pulvermacher said. “If it does (have more than the legal limit) the possession of those items is then considered possession of THC which is regulated by state statute 961.41(3g)(e) and is a criminal offense.”

The main reason Delta-8 is possessed by many people is because of the feelings it does to the body as the body begins to always need the euphoric-like feelings.

“There are probably dozens of reasons people choose to possess Delta-8. Wisconsin Act 68 followed the 2018 US Farm Bill and legalized hemp-related items and their production. Based on statements of people that use Delta-8, it is my understanding that there is some intoxicating effect. I would venture to guess it is that effect which draws users,” Pulvermacher said.

Although disciplinary actions have been enforced for the students caught with Delta-8, administration is still trying to make the school healthier and safer. 

“The vast majority of our school does the right thing, and while it sometimes can go unacknowledged, it does not go unappreciated. If the student body wants clean and safe bathrooms, help by reporting unsafe behavior such as substance use at school,” Bednarek said.

This story was originally published on The Red ”n” Green on January 30, 2023.