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Delta-8 ‘Already Extremely Accessible to Teens’ Despite Growing Efforts to Ban Substance

Delta-8-THC, a semi-synthetic cannabinoid typically derived from hemp, is ‘already extremely accessible to teens’ despite growing efforts to crack down on the substance, according to a new study.

According to an analysis of data from the National Institute of Health-funded ‘2023 Monitoring the Future Survey’, 11% of 12th graders (17-18 years old) reported using delta-8 in the past year.

In what is reportedly the first such study into the drug’s use among US teens, around 91% of those who reported delta-8 use also reported cannabis use in the past year.

Approximately 30% of 12th graders reported cannabis use in 2023, according to the same study.

Unsurprisingly, use of delta-8, which is available for under 18’s to purchase online or in convenience stores across much of the US, is more common in states where there is no cannabis legalisation or delta-8 regulation.

“11% is a lot of people – that’s at least one or two students in every average-sized high school class who may be using delta-8. We don’t know enough about these drugs, but we see that they are already extremely accessible to teens,” said Nora Volkow, M.D., NIDA director.

Richard A. Miech, Ph.D., team lead of the Monitoring the Future study at the University of Michigan and co-author of the study, added: “The national trends documented by the Monitoring the Future survey provide critical information for research and policy to keep pace with new developments in the market for cannabis products, which has seen considerable change in recent years.”

Earlier this month, Florida approved a bill to regulate hemp-derived products and ban delta-8 outright, taking the number of states to ban the substance to 17, alongside seven more that have restricted it severely.

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