Is Delta-8 Legal in Colorado?

Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Colorado?

No, Delta-8 THC is illegal in Colorado. Hemp-derived CBD products and cannabis products with a THC content not exceeding 0.3% became legal at the federal level after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp had previously been categorized as a Schedule 1 drug. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued an Interim Final Rule in 2020 declaring all hemp-derived Delta-8 products as controlled substances because they are produced synthetically. However, marijuana-derived Delta-8 THC products are legal in Colorado, so long as they are processed from plant matter and not synthetically made.

In Colorado, Delta-8 THC products cannot be sold by CBD dispensaries, ordered online, or shipped in from out of state. It is also illegal to infuse Delta-8 THC in edibles and beverages sold in Colorado.

Why is Delta-8 THC Illegal in Colorado

Under Colorado state law, as enshrined in Senate Bill 14-184, all hemp-derived CBD products such as Delta-8 THC are classified as controlled substances. In addition, a legal notice issued by Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in 2019 maintained that the isomerization of cannabinoids from industrial hemp is not permitted in Colorado. The CDPHE insisted that the definition of industrial hemp does not include Delta THC products that may contain potentially harmful byproducts. Colorado's Uniform Controlled Substances Act (2013) prohibits the possession, use, and sale of synthetically processed cannabinoids. In 2021, the CDPHE released another bulletin emphasizing the illegality of chemically converting hemp matter into synthetic cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC. The department also prohibits using certain solvents in extracting or processing cannabinoids.

Delta-8 THC Laws in Colorado

  • 2012: Colorado Amendment 64 was passed. It legalized the use, possession, and sale of recreational marijuana with not more than 0.3% THC. Only persons 21 and over are allowed to buy and use THC products
  • 2019: Colorado's Senate passed SB 12-220, legalizing the use and possession of hemp-derived CBD products such as Delta-8 THC
  • 2020: The passage of Colorado HB 19-1263 decriminalized possession of minor amounts of Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC
  • 2022: Further restrictions on the use and sale of Delta-8 THC in Colorado were imposed when Senate Bill 22-205 was passed. The bill made it illegal to chemically convert hemp matter into Delta-8 THC

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid present in minuscule amounts in hemp and marijuana plants. Because very small quantities are produced naturally, cannabis processors can only make it in usable amounts via isomerization. The conversion of hemp-derived CBD into Delta-8 THC entails the application of solvents like toluene or heptane to the cannabidiol extract. Delta-8 THC can also be synthesized from Delta-9 THC.

Delta-8 THC is reported to induce anxiety, memory problems, disorientation, visual problems, and lethargy in some consumers. Among the reputed benefits of Delta-8 THC are its ability to induce calmness and relaxed feelings. Delta-8 THC is also known to act as an analgesic and offer relief to patients suffering from bipolar disorder and depression. Delta-8 THC products are commonly sold in the form of vapes, oils, and gummies.

Delta-8 vs Delta-9

Both Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are similar in terms of their double bond chemical profile. Delta-8 THC, however, causes a less intense psychoactive effect in the consumer than Delta-9 THC. Because Delta-8 THC does not have the same psychotropic effects as Delta-9 THC, it is often referred to as 'weed lite.' Delta-9 THC is known to offer therapeutic benefits to persons suffering from cancer, glaucoma, nausea, and chronic pain.

Delta-8 vs Delta-10

Delta-10 THC is processed from hemp-derived CBD. It is not as potent as Delta-8 THC. Delta-10 THC does not bind in the same manner as Delta-8 THC, and this is responsible for its less intense effects when consumed. Delta-10 THC is considered beneficial in the curbing of chronic nausea, the reduction of anxiety, and the improvement of appetite.

How Long Does Delta-8 THC Stay in the Body?

Delta-8 THC is absorbed into the body and converted primarily into 11-hydroxy-THC. The rate of metabolism and excretion of Delta-8 THC depend on several factors. These include the frequency of Delta-8 THC use, the quantity consumed, the body-mass index (BMI) of the consumer, the age of the consumer, as well as the metabolic rate of the consumer. For instance, Delta-8 THC consumers who inhale the substance experience its psychoactive effects within a short time after consumption than those who ingest edible Delta-8 products like gummies. Delta-8 THC is metabolized in the liver by the CYP3A4 enzyme.

Delta-8 THC can stay in the body for some time ranging from a few hours to 90 days. Like other cannabinoids, Delta-8 THC is fat-soluble and is easily absorbed into the body's fatty tissues. Metabolism of Delta-8 THC occurs both quickly and gradually. Drug tests carried out on different body fluids and tissues within certain time windows will reveal the underlisted results:

  • Urinalysis: Urine tests are the most common means for detecting THC metabolites. Delta-8 THC can show up in urine samples between 30 to 48 days after consumption
  • Blood: Delta-8 THC lasts in the blood for up to 12 hours, and tests carried out within this period can show positive results
  • Saliva: Delta-8 THC can be detected in saliva up to 24 hours after consumption
  • Hair test: Tests carried out on hair follicles can return positive results for Delta-8 THC up to 90 days after the last use

There is no specific drug test for Delta-8 THC. Standard drug tests for generic THC metabolites can also detect Delta-8 THC.

Does Delta-8 THC Show Up on a Drug Test in Colorado?

Yes, Delta-8 THC will show up on drug tests in Colorado. This is because Delta-8 THC is similar in chemical structure to Delta-9 THC and other THC isomers whose metabolites can be detected in blood, saliva, urine, or hair samples. Delta-8 THC metabolites will show up as THC. Colorado law empowers law enforcement officers to subject motorists suspected of driving under the influence of substances such as THC to compulsory drug tests. Employers in Colorado may also conduct drug tests on employees.

What Happens if You Get Pulled Over with Delta-8 THC in Colorado?

In Colorado, it is unlawful to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana or Delta-8 THC-infused products. A driver found operating a vehicle with a THC level of over 5 ng/ML( 5 nanograms per millimeter of blood) will be charged with driving under the influence. It is also an offense in Colorado to drive a vehicle with an open container of Delta-8 THC or other THC products. Persons suspected of driving under the influence are required to submit blood or urine samples for THC testing. Offenders found guilty of having open Delta-8 THC products in their vehicles in Colorado will be charged with traffic infractions and may be fined up to $115.

While Delta-8 THC sourced naturally is legal in Colorado, anyone found in possession of hemp-derived Delta-8 THC will be charged with committing a level 1 misdemeanor. The possession of less than 3 oz of Delta-8 THC will attract a fine of up to $100. The penalties become more severe with increased possession.

Where to Buy Delta-8 THC in Colorado?

It is not possible to legally purchase Delta-8 THC products in Colorado. State law prohibits the use, sale, and possession of all synthetically-processed CBD products, including hemp-derived Delta-8 THC. Neither cannabis dispensaries nor other retail outlets are permitted to stock Delta-8 THC products.

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