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Survey reveals that a high number of American adolescents are using delta-8 THC extracted from hemp

Many U.S. teens are turning to a new trend for getting high – delta-8 THC. This compound, which is derived from hemp, has been gaining popularity among high school seniors, especially in areas where marijuana is still illegal. A recent study conducted by researchers at USC and the University of Michigan found that more than 11% of high school seniors admitted to using delta-8 THC in the past year, a figure that came as a surprise to the researchers.

Delta-8 THC products, such as gummies and vapes, are readily available online, in gas stations, and convenience stores. They are often marketed as a legal alternative to marijuana, despite concerns about age verification measures. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, which helped fund the research, cautioned that cannabis use, in general, can have negative impacts on the adolescent brain.

Delta-8 THC is a molecular lookalike to delta-9 THC, the main compound in cannabis responsible for the euphoric high. However, delta-8 has a slightly different structure, with a double bond located between a different set of carbon atoms. While users have reported that delta-8 has less intense effects compared to delta-9, the FDA has not evaluated the safety of delta-8 products. There are concerns that the chemicals used to convert cannabinoids into delta-8 may contain harmful contaminants.

The popularity of delta-8 products soared after the 2018 passage of an agricultural bill that eased federal restrictions on hemp. This allowed for the extraction of chemical compounds from hemp, such as CBD, and the conversion into substances with intoxicating effects. While some states have restricted or banned delta-8, it is considered “de facto legal” in nearly half of the states.

The survey also revealed that teen use of delta-8 was more common in states where the compound was not regulated. Researchers expressed concerns about the lack of oversight and quality control in these products, urging caution for those considering experimenting with delta-8.

Despite the legal ambiguity surrounding delta-8, some states have implemented strict regulations. In California, industrial hemp products cannot contain more than a 0.3% concentration of THC, including delta-8 THC. However, there is widespread disregard for these rules, leading to an abundance of delta-8 products available through internet and convenience stores.

Moving forward, researchers plan to expand their studies to understand the health impacts of delta-8 use among teens. With a significant number of high school seniors already using delta-8, there is a growing concern about the potential consequences on their health and well-being. It is vital to raise awareness about the risks associated with delta-8 THC and to advocate for stricter regulation to protect vulnerable populations, especially adolescents.

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Forest Lawn Drive now free of RV encampment and parking

Nancy Sexton was thrilled when city crews cleared out more than 50 RVs in December that had been parked near her business for months, blocking parking spots and leaving behind trash and waste on Forest Lawn Drive.

Then she realized the long stretch of road near Barham Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills was suddenly off limits for not just parked RVs, but all parked vehicles. Much of the curb was painted red. No parking signs lined the sidewalk.

“It’s a dumb decision,” said Sexton, who owns the Muse Rooms, which offers leased office spaces. “It’s frustrating.”

The more than 50 RVs, which had been stationed along the winding road for months as a semi-permanent living encampment, were removed in December as part of the city’s operation known as Inside Safe. One goal of the program, which is part of Mayor Karen Bass’ initiative to bring people living on the streets indoors, is to end the cycle of homeless encampments being cleared by the city only to return a few weeks later.

But days after the RVs were removed, Sexton said, the curb was painted red and parking was limited. The new red zone is about a quarter mile long, running between Warner Bros. Studios’ Gate 9 entrance and North Coyote Canyon Drive.

The areas that do allow parking, meanwhile, have two-hour limits.

City officials also said the decision to restrict parking was done out of fire safety concerns, not to keep the RVs from resettling along the road. Sexton has her doubts.

The lack of parking along the street suddenly imposed a new, unexpected expense on her clients, prompting some to look elsewhere. The red curb has also become an irritation for some students and workers at the New York Film Academy and businesses nearby.

A road with RVs lining its right side.

RVs are parked on Forest Lawn Drive on June 27, 2023, in Burbank.

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Since the no-parking signs went up, Sexton said, she’s lost two regular members and two potential clients. All of them had aired concern about the lack of street parking and the added expense of paying $12 a day at the parking structure on site.

The parking fee, Sexton said, doubled the monthly costs for some members.

“I didn’t know how much of a problem it was going to be until there were people saying, ‘I can’t pay $12 a day,’ ” she said. “I’m really feeling it now.”

The situation highlights some of the unintended results as city officials look to address homelessness and the concerns of businesses and homeowners affected by makeshift encampments, whether they involve tents, vehicles, or both.

RV encampments have sprung up across the city amid a housing crisis that has left many people priced out of permanent homes. Local officials have looked for ways to address the issue, including new regulations that have targeted overnight RV parking.

According to the mayor’s office, the Inside Safe program has addressed 39 encampments so far, moving more than 2,400 people into interim housing and an additional 440 into permanent housing since December 2022.

Bass spokesperson Zach Seidl said the RVs that were removed from Forest Lawn Drive were themselves causing parking issues in the area, as well as raising other significant safety and public health concerns.

Members of the surrounding community have said removing the RVs “has helped on all three fronts,” Seidl said in a statement. “This operation has saved lives.

Stella Stahl, spokesperson for Councilmember Nithya Raman, said the city has helped many of the RV residents along Forest Lawn Drive to find housing indoors.

In a statement, Stahl credited the decision to limit parking to a request by the Los Angeles Fire Department, which called the area a “high fire severity zone.” A 2019 brush fire in the area burned more than 30 acres and threatened homes and businesses.

In a Sept. 19, 2023, letter, LAFD Assistant Chief Dean Zipperman asked the city Department of Transportation to install “Tow Away No Stopping Any Time” restrictions on the road due to the stopped and parked vehicles there.

To avoid the hassle of looking for parking, cinematography students Sanchin Vinay, Yifan Xiang, and Davide Picci carpool to their classes at the New York Film Academy, which shares a building with the Muse Rooms. Eliminating the RVs has opened some spots to them, although Picci said they’d been able to find spaces on the street before — “really far down.”

A couch on a sidewalk near an RV.

The curb along Forest Lawn Drive, where someone has left a couch.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Sometimes they pay the $12 for the daily parking to avoid being late for class. Carpooling helps cushion the cost.

Leslie Bates, a film production instructor, said she heard of students and faculty members having “volatile” interactions with the RV residents.

Now that the RVs have

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