What is Delta-8 THC, and if I use it, am I safe to drive?

It’s not OK to drive on intoxicating hemp products

Black graphic with "Delta 9 vs Delta 8" overlay in yellow and text that reads "What is Delta-8 THC, and if I use it, am I safe to drive?"

Intoxicating hemp products are illegal to make, sell or consume in Colorado. But by some estimates, a significant portion of cannabis consumers nationally use cannabis products not approved for legal sale in Colorado. The products are commonly known as “intoxicating hemp” products, or “Delta-8 THC.” While the availability and legality of these intoxicating products are a larger issue, we at CDOT want to remind people that no matter what you’re consuming, it is still illegal and dangerous to drive high.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Non-intoxicating hemp products like CBD, for example, are legal, and are derived from hemp. Yet through a relatively simple chemical process, CBD can be used to make Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, chemicals similar to those contained in cannabis products sold in legal medical and recreational marijuana stores in Colorado. The intoxicating “cannabinoids” in regulated (legal) products — cannabis flower, edibles, distillates like wax and shatter, etc. — contain Delta-9 THC.


There aren’t any notable differences between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC when it comes to impairment; the physical and cognitive effects are the same:
Slowed reaction time.

  • Difficulties in road tracking and lane-position variability.
  • Decreased, divided attention.
  • Impaired cognitive performance.
  • Relaxed inhibitions.
  • Impaired executive functions, including route planning, decision making and risk taking, or a combination of all.

Driving impaired on Delta-8 can still lead to a DUI

Just like Delta-9 cannabis products (and alcohol or other drugs), it’s illegal to drive when impaired on intoxicating hemp products. DUIs in Colorado can cost up to or more than $13,500.
Some cannabis consumers in general – as reported by respondents of CDOT’s annual mail surveys of Coloradans — incorrectly believe they’re better drivers when they’re high. But remember, “if you feel different, you drive different.” Why take the risk?

Learn more about cannabis-impaired driving by visiting our cannabis-impaired driving website at DriveHighDUI.com.

A note on public health from the FDA: “It is important for consumers to be aware that delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context. They may be marketed in ways that put the public health at risk and should especially be kept out of reach of children and pets. Delta-8 THC products often involve use of potentially harmful chemicals to create the concentrations of delta-8 THC claimed in the marketplace.”