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


Objective:

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.


Methods:

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).


Results:

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).


Conclusions:

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


Keywords:

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

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