The popularity of unregulated products containing delta-8 THC is far greater in states where cannabis is illegal than it is in jurisdictions where it has been legalized, according to an analysis published in The International Journal of Drug Policy.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego analyzed Internet users’ interest in delta-8 THC products in all 50 states. They found that online searches for delta-8 THC products grew significantly in the years 2019 and 2020 and that public interest “was particularly high in US states that restricted delta-9 THC use.”
Although delta-8 THC occurs organically in the cannabis plant, it is only produced in nominal quantities. By contrast, the elevated quantities of delta-8 THC found in grey market products are the result of a chemical synthesis during which manufacturers convert hemp-derived CBD to delta-8 THC. Manufacturers engaged in synthesizing delta-8 THC are not regulated and often use potentially dangerous household products to facilitate this process. Lab analyses of unregulated delta-8 products have consistently found them to contain lower levels of the compound than advertised on the products’ labels. Some products have also been found to possess heavy metal contaminants and unlabeled cutting agents.
In October, NORML issued a report on delta-8 THC and other novel, synthetically derived cannabinoids that cautioned consumers to avoid these unregulated products because they are untested and may contain impurities.
According to survey results published in The Journal of Cannabis Research, consumers of delta-8 THC products typically use them for relaxation and pain management. Consumers often report the effects of these products to be less potent than those of whole-plant cannabis and of a shorter duration.
Full text of the study, “Public interest in delta-8 THC increased in US states that restricted delta-9 THC use,” appears in The International Journal of Drug Policy. Full text of the study – “Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC’s nicer younger sibling?” – appears in The Journal of Cannabis Research. Full text of NORML’s report, “NORML’s Guide to Delta-8 THC and Other Novel Cannabinoids,” appears online.