In recent years, delta-8 THC has gained significant popularity as an alternative cannabinoid, particularly in states where marijuana is still illegal. This federally unregulated compound, commonly derived from hemp, has attracted attention for its potential to deliver similar effects as the psychoactive component delta-9 THC found in traditional marijuana. The availability and accessibility of these alternative cannabinoids have been largely facilitated by the federal legalization of hemp and its derivatives under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Study Uncovers Search Trends Related to Delta-8 THC
A study conducted by CBD Nationwide, the self-proclaimed largest cannabidiol manufacturer in the United States, analyzed online search trends using Google Trends data to uncover patterns related to delta-8 THC interest. The investigation revealed that searches for delta-8 THC were 1.9 times higher in states where adult-use cannabis is prohibited. This finding demonstrates a significant shift towards alternative cannabinoids due to local cannabis bans. It strengthens the argument made by CBD Nationwide’s CEO, Katie Devoe, that “cannabis prohibition clearly doesn’t work.” Furthermore, the difference in search volume between states with varying marijuana policies was found to be statistically significant, with a p-value of approximately 0.000000655.
Delta-8 THC Filling the Void of Legal Recreational Cannabis Options
According to CBD Nationwide’s study, the increased search interest in delta-8 THC in states without legalized recreational cannabis could be the result of people desiring legal alternatives to achieve similar effects to traditional marijuana. Prior research has shown an impressive 850% increase in Google searches related to these alternative cannabinoids in 2021 alone. The widespread availability of delta-8 THC and other cannabinoids online, at convenience stores, gas stations, and smoke shops makes it an attractive choice for those residing in states with marijuana prohibitions.
Interest in Delta-9 THC Remains High
The study also disclosed that interest in delta-9 THC, the primary psychoactive component responsible for marijuana’s effects, is still high in illegal states but to a lesser extent compared to delta-8 THC. States where cannabis remains prohibited showed 1.27 times more search activity for delta-9 THC than in states with legal access. This data suggests that despite the growing popularity of alternative cannabinoids like delta-8 THC, traditional marijuana products still retain significant public curiosity and demand.
Delta-8 THC Attracts Interest Even in Legal Cannabis States
Interestingly, CBD Nationwide’s research uncovered substantial interest in delta-8 THC even in states where recreational marijuana use is legally permitted. This finding indicates a complex consumer market with diverse preferences and needs beyond seeking illicit alternatives when faced with prohibition.
Limits to the Study’s Findings
It is essential to recognize that the study did not investigate the context behind these searches and, therefore, cannot definitively determine whether people in illegal states were explicitly looking for products containing delta-8 THC or delta-9 THC or if they were seeking information on current laws, and scientific findings, or other related topics. However, it is worth noting that other studies have gathered similar results.
Conclusions and Implications for the Future
The results of CBD Nationwide’s study provide valuable insights into the shifting landscape of cannabinoid interest and usage, particularly in the context of varying legality across state borders. The data emphasizes the vital role that alternative cannabinoids like delta-8 THC play in meeting consumer desires for products with similar effects to traditional marijuana, potentially even filling the void left by legal restrictions on cannabis.
As interest and demand for these alternative compounds continue to grow, legislators and regulators will need to carefully consider the implications of adopting more consistent policies surrounding products containing psychoactive cannabinoids, including delta-8 THC. Such policy changes could ultimately contribute to a safer and better-regulated market for cannabinoid products that address diverse user preferences and needs, regardless of marijuana’s legal status within individual states.