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Analysis: Public Interest in Delta-8 Products Rising in States Where Cannabis Remains Criminalized

San Diego, CA: 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.

Review: Minor Cannabinoids Acknowledged to Possess Therapeutic Properties

Columbia, South Carolina: Numerous minor cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant possess therapeutic properties that may hold clinical significance, according to a review paper published in the journal Frontiers of Pharmacology.

A team of US investigators affiliated with the University of South Carolina and Doane University in Nebraska summarized data on the potential therapeutic applications of a number of secondary cannabinoids, including CBN (cannabinol), CBC (cannabichromine), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). Most of the research available on these compounds has thus far been limited to preclinical studies.

Specifically, authors highlighted the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of various ancillary cannabinoids, including CBG, CBC, THCV, and CBN.

They acknowledged that CBN also "shows promise as an antibacterial agent and [as] an appetite stimulant," but cautioned that it has shown inconsistent results as a sleep aid.

Several of these minor cannabinoids, such as CBG and CBC, also possess anti-cancer properties, while THCV "regulates blood glucose levels, suggesting it might be useful in weight reduction and treating diabetes." THCV has also demonstrated anti-epileptic and neuroprotective properties.

Another cannabinoid highlighted by the authors, cannabidivarin (CBDV) possesses anti-seizure activity and may possess therapeutic utility in the treatment of autism, muscular dystrophy, and as an anti-emetic agent.

A number of these minor cannabinoids have "also shown promise in the treatment of skin disorders," investigators reported.

Authors also highlighted the promise of various cannabinoid acids (e.g., CBDA, CBGA, and THCA). Specifically, they acknowledged that CBGA "may play a role in controlling diabetes mellitus and preventing the cardiovascular complications that can accompany Type 2 diabetes," whereas THCA has been shown to mitigate liver fibrosis in animals.

"Minor cannabinoids and their chemical homologs offer the potential medicinal benefits of D9-THC without adverse effects," authors concluded. "Future studies will need to evaluate the risk versus benefit of these and other minor cannabinoids when compared to D9-THC and traditional analgesic drugs."

Full text of the study, "Minor cannabinoids: Biosynthesis, molecular pharmacology and potential therapeutic uses," appears inFrontiers of Pharmacology.

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