Analysis: Interest in Delta-8 Products Far Greater in States Without Legal Cannabis Access

Atlanta, GA: Internet users residing in states without legal cannabis access are more than three times as likely to search online for the availability of delta-8 THC products as are those in jurisdictions where marijuana is legal, according to data published in the American Journal of Public Health

Emory University investigators assessed state-level Google Trends data from February to May 2021. Consistent with prior research, they reported that “states where recreational cannabis is illegal had higher relative queries [specific to delta-8 THC] than did states with legalized recreational cannabis.”

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 then 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.

Full text of the study, “Popularity of delta-8 THC on the Internet across the United States, 2021,” appears in the American Journal of Public Health.Full text of NORML’s report, “NORML’s Guide to Delta-8 THC and Other Novel Cannabinoids,” appears online.