How are retailers describing Delta-8 THC? A mixed-methods study in Fort Worth, Texas


Delta-8 THC is a largely unregulated psychoactive substance rising in popularity in the United States. This study aimed to understand how retailers explained Delta-8 THC to potential customers and if these descriptions were associated with socioeconomic deprivation surrounding the retail location.


In Fort Worth, Texas, stores with retail alcohol, CBD, or tobacco licenses were called. Among the 133 stores that sold Delta-8 THC, 125 retailers (94%) answered the question “What is Delta-8?” Qualitative methods were used to identify related themes; logistic regression models tested associations between themes and area deprivation index (ADI) scores, a measure of socioeconomic deprivation (1-10; 10=most deprived areas).


Retailers often compared Delta-8 THC to other substances (49%). Although most often described as a type of cannabis (34%), several retailers likened Delta-8 to CBD (19%) or hemp (7%), which are non-psychoactive. Retailers also described potential effects from use (35%). Some retailers reported they were unsure of what Delta-8 was (21%), told surveyors to look it up themselves (6%), or withheld information (9%). Higher ADI scores were associated with higher odds of retailers communicating limited information (OR=1.21,95%CI=1.04,1.40;p=0.011).


Study findings may inform the development of marketing regulations, as well as informational campaigns for both retailers and consumers.


Delta-8 THC; farm bill; isomer; marijuana.

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