Popularity of Delta-8 THC on the Internet Across US States, 2021

Am J Public Health. 2022 Feb;112(2):296-299. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2021.306586.


Objectives. To assess the popularity of an emergent drug, delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and compare interest levels between US states with or without legalized recreational cannabis. Methods. We used Google Trends to assess the growth of interest among delta-8 THC-related search terms from May 17, 2020, to May 9, 2021. We examined differences between states with or without legalized cannabis using state-level Google Trends data from February 13 to May 13, 2021, and policy data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Results. Interest in delta-8 THC increased starting in mid-June 2020, with search volumes for delta-8 THC queries currently at 35% of the "marijuana" query. States where recreational cannabis is illegal had higher relative queries than did states with legalized recreational cannabis (52.3 vs 14.8; t = 40.9; P < .001). Conclusions. There has been rapid growth in interest in delta-8 THC. Findings between state policy contexts likely indicate delta-8 THC's role as a substitute good for delta-9 THC. Public Health Implications. Digital signals such as search volumes may point to an emergent use trend in the substance delta-8 THC. Further studies are needed to assess potential harms and correlates of delta-8 THC use. (Am J Public Health. 2022;112(2):296-299. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306586).

MeSH terms

  • Antiemetics / therapeutic use
  • Dopamine Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Dronabinol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dronabinol / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Legislation, Drug*


  • Antiemetics
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Dronabinol