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

Traffic Safety Pulse News

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 is 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?

Promotional Graphic for the differences between Delta 9 and Delta 8 cannabis products. Delta symbols are large in yellow, text below reads "what is Delta-8 THC, and if i use it, am I safe to drive?"

Non-intoxicating hemp products like CBD, for example, are legal and derived from hemp. Yet through a relatively simple chemical process, CBD can be used to make Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC — psychoactive (intoxicating) 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.