Popularity of Delta-8 THC on the Internet Across US States, 2021

Melvin D. Livingston, Andrew Walker, Michael B. Cannell, Matthew E. Rossheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. To assess the popularity of an emergent drug, delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and compare interest levels between US states with or without legalized recreational cannabis. Methods. We used Google Trends to assess the growth of interest among delta-8 THC-related search terms from May 17, 2020, to May 9, 2021. We examined differences between states with or without legalized cannabis using state-level Google Trends data from February 13 to May 13, 2021, and policy data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Results. Interest in delta-8 THC increased starting in mid-June 2020, with search volumes for delta-8 THC queries currently at 35% of the "marijuana" query. States where recreational cannabis is illegal had higher relative queries than did states with legalized recreational cannabis (52.3 vs 14.8; t = 40.9; P < .001). Conclusions. There has been rapid growth in interest in delta-8 THC. Findings between state policy contexts likely indicate delta-8 THC's role as a substitute good for delta-9 THC. Public Health Implications. Digital signals such as search volumes may point to an emergent use trend in the substance delta-8 THC. Further studies are needed to assess potential harms and correlates of delta-8 THC use. (Am J Public Health. 2022;112(2):296-299. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306586).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-299
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume112
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022

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