For people curious about substances found in a relatively recent wave of products derived from marijuana – specifically delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC – University of South Carolina researchers Prakash and Mitzi Nagarkatti offer a thorough and naunced explainer. They write that these two chemicals, which are less psychoactive than other forms of THC, “hold great promise” for a variety of medical conditions, but they offer warnings as well, underscoring the importance of distinguishing among the active chemicals in marijuana.

As a reader of this newsletter, you’re no doubt well aware that global warming is raising the risk of extreme weather, such as the deluge that pounded the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area in April. As Smitha Rao, an assistant professor of social work at The Ohio State University, points out, low-wage workers, older adults and other vulnerable people who live in low-lying areas are at greatest risk of harm from flooding in the U.S. She writes about her research showing which households, such as low-income ones and ones with children, are less prepared for disasters and offers some examples of communities devising ways to improve disaster preparedness for higher-risk people.

Our editors covered a few other interesting studies this past week, including one showing the prevalence of harmful chemicals in everyday cleaning products; the shrinking habitat of Asian elephants and how an old fossil, thought to be a Neandertal jawbone, raises new questions over when our species Homo sapiens first roamed in Europe.

Also in this week’s science news:

If there’s a subject you’d like our team of science editors to investigate, please reply to this email.

Martin La Monica

Director of Editorial Projects and Newsletters

Thousands of cannabis-derived products are now on the market. skodonnell/E+ via Getty Images

Cannabis-derived products like delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC have flooded the US market – two immunologists explain the medicinal benefits and potential risks

Prakash Nagarkatti, University of South Carolina; Mitzi Nagarkatti, University of South Carolina

Researchers are working to determine how and which cannabis products can help those suffering from chronic pain or serious illness. But science is having a hard time keeping up with the booming market.

The hardest-hit homes in Florida’s mid-April flooding were in modest neighborhoods in low-lying areas. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Historic flooding in Fort Lauderdale was a sign of things to come – a look at who is most at risk and how to prepare

Smitha Rao, The Ohio State University

Nationally, 57% of the population says they’re not prepared for a flood disaster. Surveys and disasters show that those most at risk are least prepared.

Candidiasis is a severe fungal infection that can spread easily in medical facilities. Atlas of Pulmonary Pathology/Flickr

How do Candida auris and other fungi develop drug resistance? A microbiologist explains

Jeffrey Gardner, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Multidrug-resistant fungal infections are an emerging global health threat. Figuring out how fungi evade treatments offers new avenues to counter resistance.

AI is helping astronomers make new discoveries and learn about the universe faster than ever before

Chris Impey, University of Arizona

Artificial intelligence tools are making waves in almost every aspect of life, and astronomy is no different. An astronomer explains the history and future of AI in understanding the universe.

Heading to a beach this summer? Here’s how to keep harmful algae blooms from spoiling your trip

Brad Reisfeld, Colorado State University

The tiny organisms that cause harmful blooms of algae can have a big impact on your trip to the shore. A toxicologist explains what causes these events and how to keep people and pets safe.

‘Got polio?’ messaging underscores a vaccine campaign’s success but creates false sense of security as memories of the disease fade in US

Katherine A. Foss, Middle Tennessee State University

Polio vaccines have been a massive public health victory in the US. But purely celebratory messaging overlooks the ongoing threat if vaccination rates fall.

The thinking error that makes people susceptible to climate change denial

Jeremy P. Shapiro, Case Western Reserve University

A psychologist explains how opponents of climate policies use a common thinking error to manipulate the public – and why people are so susceptible.

Body lotions, mothballs, cleaning fluids and other widely used products contain known toxic chemicals, study finds

Robin Dodson, Boston University; Megan R. Schwarzman, University of California, Berkeley; Ruthann Rudel, Northeastern University

Manufacturers don’t usually have to disclose what’s in products like shampoo and household cleaners, but a new study finds that these products can contain hazardous ingredients.

Kids cartoon characters that use AI to customize responses help children learn

Ying Xu, University of Michigan

Children learn more science when they watch an AI-powered cartoon character than with a regular Mickey Mouse or Dora the Explorer, a new study finds.