When it comes to starting global cannabis trends, America is like the big old light outside that all the fireflies keep trying to get at. Sure, other countries have their own trends, but on a global stage, no other country dominates like the US. In terms of cannabis trends started in America, perhaps the biggest are vapes, edibles, and delta-8 THC.
Are you familiar with one of the biggest growing cannabis trends in America? Delta-8 THC is giving regular THC a run for its money, and establishing a new way of using cannabis. With less psychoactive effect, and a clear-headed high, delta-8 offers most of the same benefits as delta-9, and without the associated anxiety and paranoia. If this sounds good to you, we’ve got great delta-8 THC deals for you to go ahead, and try it out for yourself.
One of the biggest cannabis trends to gain popularity in America before going international, is the cannabis vape. The idea of vaping materials is not new, and has been traced back as far as ancient Egypt, around 1554 BC, when hot bricks or stones were specifically mentioned for use with inhaling black henbane vapors.
I bought my first weed vaporizer in 2004. I was on a trip to Los Angeles at the time, and I was checking out head shops, since we didn’t have as many back East, where I’m from. At the time, the idea of vaporizing anything wasn’t on my mind, but once it was explained to me by the salesperson inside, I immediately saw an answer to the growing issue I was having smoking flowers in pipes and bubblers. It was killing my lungs, and I knew it.
I was sold almost instantly, and shipped the Vapor Brother’s box vaporizer back East, along with the small stash of smokable herbs (non-cannabis) that came with it. At the time, the vaporizer was still patent-pending, which was emblazoned on the side of the product. I spent years explaining to people what it was and what it did.
When I moved away from the US in 2010, I didn’t bring my vape, thinking I could pick up a new one where I was going. I found this to be untrue in the end, as at that time, the idea of vaping anything was almost nonexistent. It wasn’t until the growth of the e-vape market for tobacco that vaping really caught on, replacing both cigarettes and joints for many people. But in 2010, it was still mainly an American thing.
The Vapor Brothers vaporizer was well-built, and probably would have lasted the rest of my life if I hadn’t confused the electrical information, and plugged it into the electrical socket of a 230v country, without an adapter. Novice mistake, I know. Around that time I was able to replace it, but only by ordering online, as no local store sold such products yet. Since that time, I’ve used a range of vaporizers, with my current one being the Dynavap M. When it comes to cannabis vaporizers, I was one of the first to get in on the new trend, and even now as vaping has been spreading globally, it still remains bigger in the US than anywhere else.
This can be seen in studies like this one, which compares smoking patterns between the US, Canada, and England. As of 2019, when looking at the past 30 days, 30% of US respondents reporting vaping, while only 18.6% of Canadians vaped in that time, and 14.3% of the English constituents. It can be seen again in this market report from 2019, which shows North America accounting for 49.2% of the global cannabis vape market.
The ancient history of edibles goes back pretty far too. Some of the earliest references date back to around 1500 BC in China, where cannabis was used as a tea. These texts were written in the past tense, leading researchers to believe that the practice actually predates this time. There are also plenty of references to it by the year 1000 BC, when it started being used as bhang by the Hindu culture in India. This drink remains popular in India today, and is one of the reasons for the current language in the Single Convention on Narcotic Substances treaty.
But that’s ancient history, and we’re more interested in the growing culture of edibles today. If we skip to the 1800’s, the start of modern cannabis edibles can be seen in Paris, by elitist book writers who met at Club des Hachischins (hash-eaters club) to drink hash-infused coffee and teas, and eat hash-infused candy. And it was here that the current edibles movement started, by way of an American woman named Alice B. Toklas.
Toklas was the life partner of author Gertrude Stein, and became part of Paris’ art and literature society in the first half of the 20th century. In 1954, Toklas published the book The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, which contained her recipe for ‘Haschisch Fudge’. While they are called ‘brownies’, her concoction is not quite brownies at all, and uses ground flowers over hash. This might not have started the fad it did, if it wasn’t for Peter Sellers, and his 1968 movie I Love You, Alice B. Toklas, which features an uptight attorney who eats Toklas’ special brownies. This was the birth of the ‘pot brownie’, which became a staple in US cannabis culture, especially with the rising counter-culture of the 60’s, and the general hippie movement.
This was followed up in the early 1970’s by Mary Rathbun (Brownie Mary), a cannabis activist who began selling cannabis brownies in San Francisco, mainly to AIDS patients. Around this time, American tourists began asking for – and getting – cannabis brownies in Jamaica, as the locals were happy to make them for tourists, even though it was not a part of local culture. Today, the use of cannabis edibles in the medical cannabis market, has exploded into a market all its own.
Right now, it’s not easy to find current data on cannabis edible markets globally. Apart from wild future predictions – that are generally never correct – there isn’t a lot of consistent information about edible usage in the last few years. Even so, reports that have come out, roundly state that North America has the biggest market, and that it will likely stay this way for the foreseeable future.
The thing about vapes and edibles is that, though they started as US cannabis fads, they have since become global trends. When looking at current cannabis trends in America, the biggest standout is delta-8 THC, and its still so new, that it’s like going back in time to Los Angeles in 2004, and seeing the new vaping machine with the ‘patent pending’ on the side. It’s new, and it’s catching on like wildfire here… but it hasn’t made it around the world just yet. In that sense, delta-8 is the trend that’s waiting to explode.
Delta-8 is a naturally occurring derivative of delta-9 THC, the THC generally associated with the cannabis plant. When delta-9 comes into contact with oxygen, it oxidizes by losing electrons, which changes the formulation ever so slightly. Chemically, this change in formulation, is nothing more than the changing of a double carbon bond from the 9th carbon atom on the chain (where it is for delta-9), to the 8th carbon atom on the chain. It’s chemical structure of C21H30O2 is actually unaffected.
What makes delta-8 interesting? For one thing, that slight chemical change affords it some slightly different abilities from delta-9. It causes less psychoactive effect, which is optimal for medical patients who do not want the strong psychoactive effects when getting treatment. It’s also associated with less anxiety and paranoia, also beneficial for users who have issues with anxiety from delta-9. On top of that, it’s known for producing a more clear-headed and energetic high, which means, not only will it not couch-lock a person, but it can be used for athletic activities. Apart from all that was just mentioned, it actually has similar, if not nearly-identical, properties to delta-9, and has already been shown to help with nausea, vomiting, appetite stimulation, inflammation, anxiety, and neurodegenerative diseases.
The trend of delta-8 was started in the US as a result of the 2018 US Farm Bill which legalized the cultivation of hemp, and production of hemp-based products. As delta-8 can be sourced from any delta-9, the ability to produce it from low-THC hemp, fit it into a legal loophole, and allowed for a semi-legal production of THC. Its actual legality is questionable, as the allowable limit for THC in hemp-based products is .3% from beginning to end of processing, meaning that simply using plants with lower THC amounts isn’t helpful if the product itself, or any point in the processing cycle, involves going over this limit.
This is added onto by the idea that all synthetics are automatically illegal, as the definition of ‘hemp’ does not cover synthetics at all. And even though delta-8 is naturally occurring, it occurs naturally in such small amounts that human help is required in order to produce large enough amounts for use. This calls into question whether it could be considered a synthetic. Neither the DEA’s Interim Final Rule, or the recent USDA Final Rule, have done anything to clarify this point. There also has been almost nothing done to curb the growing industry, which says something for how much the government sees fit to do anything about it.
These legal ambiguities are worldwide for delta-8, and this could halt its spread recreationally. On the medical front, however, delta-8 provides enough different benefits from delta-9, that it can offer improved experiences for patients. And this should make it one of the biggest global cannabis trends (that was started in America), within the next few years.
Things change and morph over time. What starts as a trend in one place, can turn into a worldwide fad over night. Such has been the case with cannabis trends like vaporizers and edibles, which gained popularity in America, before becoming global phenomenon. And such will likely be the case with delta-8 THC. After all, no one ever said the US was the most important country, but no one stopped looking to it for trendsetting ideas, either.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a medical professional, I have no formal legal education, and I’ve never been to business school. All information in my articles is sourced from other places, which are always referenced, and all opinions stated are mine, and are made clear to be mine. I am not giving anyone advise of any kind, in any capacity. I am more than happy to discuss topics, but should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a professional in the relevant field for more information.