Summary: A federally funded study published by the American Medical Association (AMA) reveals that in states that are banning cannabis, there is a significant increase in the use of products containing lesser-known cannabinoids like delta-8 THC. This trend suggests that prohibition may inadvertently encourage the use of these loosely regulated products.
Study Highlights Rise in Delta-8 THC Use in States Banning Cannabis
The research, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, presents the first-ever scientific data on usage trends for emerging cannabinoids such as delta-8 THC, CBG, and CBN, along with updated figures on CBD consumption. Conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, University at Buffalo, and Legacy Research Institute, the study analyzed survey data from 1,169 adults between June 22-26.
The findings indicate a 50% increase in CBD use since 2019, with over 21% of Americans reporting past-year usage of this non-intoxicating cannabinoid. This growth is likely due to the increased availability of CBD and other cannabinoids following the federal legalization of hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Overall, 25% of respondents reported using an emerging cannabinoid in the past year. About 12% used delta-8 THC, 5.2% used CBG, and 4.4% used CBN. The study notes that higher delta-8-THC use in states without medical or adult-use cannabis laws suggests that banning cannabis may unintentionally promote delta-8-THC use. Among people who used cannabis in the past year, those living in non-legal states were more than twice as likely to have used delta-8 THC.
This trend aligns with previous studies showing that legal access to regulated marijuana products diverts people away from using unregulated cannabis. In non-legal states, people are turning to the grey market of cannabinoids that may be technically legal under federal hemp laws but lack regulation and data on health impacts, such as delta-8 THC.
The study supports ongoing public health surveillance efforts targeting emerging cannabinoids due to the lack of industry standards to protect consumers and the similar pharmacology or effects of delta-9-THC and its hemp-derived impairing analogues (e.g., delta-8-THC), which may be of particular concern for adolescents and young adults.
The researchers highlight the importance of future research to better understand perceptions of safety, motivations for use, and outcomes of using these products. The study was partly funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The study’s findings underscore the need for revised federal rules to regulate intoxicating cannabinoids separately from CBD and for state marijuana regulators to examine policies for the broader class of emerging cannabinoids, not just CBD. The expectation is that congressional lawmakers will address this issue in the next Farm Bill.
Source: Marijuana Moment
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