Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2022 Apr 25. doi: 10.1037/pha0000565. Online ahead of print.
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC) has emerged as a new retail cannabinoid product in the U.S. This study queried Δ8-THC users about product use characteristics and self-reported drug effects. Participants were recruited via a large online crowdsourcing platform (Amazon Mechanical Turk). Adults (N = 252) with past year Δ8-THC use (35% with at least weekly use) completed surveys and open-ended questions related to their reasons for using and past experiences with Δ8-THC-containing retail products. Participants with past year use of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and/or cannabidiol (CBD; 81% and 63%) compared the effects of Δ8-THC to those of Δ9-THC and/or CBD by rating drug effects on a visual analog scale from -50 to + 50 where negative scores indicated Δ8-THC effects are weaker, positive scores indicated Δ8-THC effects are stronger, and a score of 0 indicated equal effects to Δ9-THC or CBD. Compared to Δ9-THC, self-reported ratings for « Drug effect, » « Bad effect, » « Sick, » « Anxiety, » « Paranoia, » « Irritability, » « Restlessness, » « Memory Problems, » and « Trouble Performing Routine Tasks » were lower for Δ8-THC (d = -0.21 to -0.44). Compared to CBD, ratings for Δ8-THC effects were higher for « Drug effect, » « Good effect, » « High, » « Relaxed, » « Sleepy, » « Hunger/Have the Munchies, » « Memory Problems, » « Trouble Performing Routine Tasks, » and « Paranoia » (d = 0.27-1.02). Qualitative responses indicated that participants used Δ8-THC because it is perceived as (a) legal, (b) a substitute or similar to Δ9-THC, and/or (c) less intense than Δ9-THC. Δ8-THC is an understudied psychoactive component of cannabis that shares more characteristics with Δ9-THC than CBD and should be characterized further with human laboratory studies. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).