Alarming Study Reveals Widespread Delta 8 THC Usage Among High School Seniors

A recent study has unveiled a concerning trend among high school seniors, with more than one in ten reporting recent use of delta 8 THC products. The analysis, based on data from the Monitoring the Future survey funded by the National Institutes of Health, revealed that a staggering 11.4% of 12th-grade students had consumed delta 8 THC, a hemp-derived cannabinoid often referred to as “diet weed” or “light THC,” within the past year.

The findings shed light on the widespread availability and accessibility of these unregulated products, which have gained popularity in the wake of the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp at the federal level. Researchers expressed grave concerns over the potential developmental and cognitive impacts of delta 8 THC on adolescent brain development, as well as the risk of addiction and other negative effects.

The study revealed that among the 295 teens who reported using delta 8 THC, a staggering 68.1% had used it at least three times, while 35.4% had used it at least 10 times, and nearly 17% had used it at least 40 times. Alarmingly, nine out of ten (91%) of these delta 8 users also reported using marijuana, further compounding the potential risks.

The availability of delta 8 THC products was found to be particularly prevalent in states without recreational cannabis legalization, with 14% of teens in those states reporting usage compared to 8% in states with legalization.

Experts have sounded the alarm over the lack of comprehensive regulation surrounding delta 8 THC products, leading to a “wild west” scenario where young people have unfettered access to these potentially harmful substances. The study’s authors have called for immediate action to educate young people about the risks, ensure adequate treatment and mental health care for those in need, and implement robust regulations to safeguard public health.

As the delta 8 THC market continues to thrive in the absence of federal oversight, the onus falls on states to enact stringent rules governing hemp cannabinoids. The study’s findings underscore the urgent need for comprehensive federal legalization and regulation of all cannabis products, ensuring product safety standards, consumer protection, and effective enforcement measures to prevent underage access and mitigate potential harm.


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