Derived Psychoactive Cannabis Products (DPCPs) refer to a wide range of products with psychoactive properties similar to cannabis that are chemically created, rather than grown. Despite the public health risks, many states have only recently begun efforts to regulate the sale of the DPCPs that have saturated the market due to gaps in state and federal regulations. The FDA issued a warning to consumers that DPCPs have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context and raised concerns about these intoxicating products being marketed in ways that appeal to children. 

In a recently published study, researchers examined the DPCP types, brands, and intoxicating compounds sold by the three top-trafficked U.S.-based DPCP retail websites. Researchers identified over 800 DPCPs from 118 brands, primarily available in the form of disposable vapes or edibles. Among these products, there were 26 distinct intoxicating compounds, with over half of the products including two or more intoxicating compounds. Some of the most prevalent intoxicating products identified included Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), THC-P, Delta-9 THC, HHC, THC-A, and Delta-10 THC. This study highlights the expansive nature of this rapidly evolving market. Researchers point to the availability of at least 26 distinct intoxicating compounds as evidence of the industry’s adaptability, including their ability to quickly shift focus or find legal loopholes as regulatory challenges arise. 

DPCPs are often available in locations selling tobacco, such as gas stations or convenience stores. For decades, public health professionals have been engaged in surveillance efforts examining the availability of different types of tobacco products and how they are priced and promoted within the retail environment. These data have been key to making progress towards evidence-based policies that limit the availability and marketing of tobacco products at the point-of-sale. The referenced study offers a foundational understanding of the current online retail market for DPCPs. There is still much to be learned about the availability, marketing and promotion of these types of products at brick-and-mortar establishments to inform public health practice and policy efforts. 

Counter Tools can help with monitoring and tracking the sale of DPCPs in the retail environment. Contact us at [email protected] to learn more. 

Learn more about DPCPs on our upcoming Healthy Point-of-Sale Webinar featuring Dr. Matt Rossheim from the University of North Texas. Register here to attend this webinar on April 3 from 12-1 PM ET.