Between extensive security checks, mask-wearing, and keeping your kids from running in every direction, traveling through the airport these days can be a lot to deal with.
And then of course there is the stress once you are in the plane--helplessly levitating thousands of miles above the Earth’s surface, which you tend to deal with by gripping the armrests for dear life every time the plane shakes a bit.
It can be tempting to want to bring your cannabidiol (CBD) oil with you to help neutralize the impact of these stressors.
But, is it ok to bring CBD oil on a plane? Well, ease up on those armrests because we are here to tell you it is ok to bring CBD oil on a plane, but within certain guidelines.
Traveling With CBD Within the US
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now allows travelers to bring CBD products or medications on the plane. This is outlined in an excerpt from TSA’s website:
“Marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products, including some cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA. (See the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334.)
TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state, or federal authorities.
“TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
So, to break it down simply, TSA will allow your CBD products as long as ONE of these two stipulations are met:
- Must not contain more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis.
- The CBD product must be FDA approved.
Once the TSA agent has searched your items, the final decision rests with them whether the item will be allowed through the checkpoint. Now for a closer look at these stipulations.
Amount of THC
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that produces psychoactive effects.
Along with marijuana, it is still considered a Schedule I drug on the federal level. Industrial hemp is quite low in THC compared to marijuana and is typically the prime source of today’s CBD products.
Most CBD oils on the market today have 0.3% THC or less, which falls under the Farm Bill’s guideline.
This is also the amount that determines the product’s legality and the threshold that determines whether it is hemp or marijuana.
Hemp has 0.3% THC or less, while marijuana is above that. The TSA’s guidelines above mention the Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as the Farm Bill of 2018.
This legislation removed hemp from the Schedule I list of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act.
This action allowed hemp and its derivatives to be federally legal to buy and sell in the US.
According to the Farm Bill, the product must contain 0.3% THC or less to be considered legal.
So, if the product you are carrying is under the THC threshold, it is considered to be hemp, and thus not considered an illegal substance under federal law.
The chances are if you have bought your CBD tincture legally, it should be safe to take on a plane.
Also, consider what type of product you have. Some do not contain any THC whatsoever, which infinitely lessens the chances that you will be under suspicion. Here are the varying kinds of CBD oils:
- Full-spectrum CBD oil:
contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes native to the cannabis plant. This includes THC.The best choice, and most effective, in our humble opinion. However, if the product includes more than 0.3% THC, it would be considered federally illegal and could be subject to seizure. - Broad-spectrum CBD oil:
Broad-spectrum oil contains all of the same beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes as full-spectrum, but minus the THC. This is far safer to travel with. - CBD isolate:
This is pure CBD and has no additional cannabinoids or terpenes. This is also safer to travel with than a full-spectrum oil.
The other stipulation in the allowance of CBD oil on a plane is if it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
At this time, there is only one CBD oil that falls into this category: Epidiolex. Epidiolex is a drug that contains CBD and is used to treat seizures in children with pediatric epilepsy.
TSA officers have been briefed on these updates to their regulations, but they may not recognize the FDA-approved CBD.
For this reason, it may be helpful to bring prescription records from your doctor if you are in legal possession of this drug.
Now it is about to get a little more complicated. Although the Farm Bill made hemp-derived products legal on a federal level, this does not mean that all states comply with these regulations.
State laws still can conflict with federal laws. For this reason, we highly recommend that you research both the state you are coming from and the state you are going to.
State-to-state regulations regarding CBD can drastically vary. For instance, you may be flying from a state that allows it and going to a state that doesn’t.
Make sure that your destination state allows for the possession of CBD oil before you drop it in your carry-on.
If the state’s laws are a bit convoluted and unclear, it might be safer to leave the product at home.
Traveling Internationally with CBD
So now that we know that bringing legal CBD oil on a plane can be ok in some circumstances.
But the rules can get even hazier when you are crossing borders on international flights.
Although CBD is federally legal within the US, this is not the case in all countries.
You must research the laws of the country that you are going to. Consider speaking with a customs agent, airport officials, or embassy official.
They should have up-to-date knowledge of the subject. Laws can change quickly and often, so it is important to speak with someone who knows, as sometimes information on the Internet can be outdated.
Always make sure to fact-check as much as you can with a few different sources. Be aware of the laws in the country you are flying from, and the country you are flying to.
Right now, hemp-derived CBD oil is accepted through parts of Europe and the US. Each country’s laws are unique and can change at any point so its important to check each country's laws before travel.
Europe: There are varying shades of the legality of CBD oil in Europe. It is considered safe to carry within most European countries as long as it has less than 0.2% THC. Different from the US which is 0.3% THC.
This amount may differ from country-to-country, but it is low enough that it will be safe in most places. That being said, how do you know your CBD product has less than 0.2% THC? Typically the product will display the quantities of cannabinoids within it.
The truth is, however, that you really cannot be sure unless the product has undergone third-party testing. That is why buying CBD products from a reputable source is of the utmost importance.
For this reason, it is best to research the area you are going to be aware of the local laws.
We cannot stress enough that you must research the individual laws in the international area you are traveling to.
What About Other Hemp Products?
If you are worried about bringing your CBD oil, it might make you feel better to bring other more discreet hemp products.
TSA officers are typically not on the lookout for drugs as they screen travelers. Their main function is to detect any breach in security that could be a threat to staff or other passengers.
They are less likely to be concerned with wellness and beauty products that would require a thorough analysis like the following:
- Creams: CBD in the form of skin creams are said to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. You can rub them on your skin, sit back and relax. This broad-spectrum cream (no THC) also contains hyaluronic acid for soft and rejuvenated skin.
- Edibles: Edibles are a great way to consume CBD without drawing much attention. And not only that, they taste good. Try our favorite gummies or lollipops.
- Bath products: Who doesn’t like a nice, relaxing bath at the hotel as they travel? Utilizing bath salts and bath bombs infused with CBD is the perfect way to reset your body and mind while you are away from home.
- Patches: CBD patches are extremely discreet. Simply attach the patch to your arm and forget it. They are great for an energy boost, sleep, pain relief, and better sex.
So You’ve Decided to Bring It…
Perhaps you’ve determined that you simply cannot live without your CBD (we don’t blame you).
And if you’ve researched the rules and regulations of both where you are traveling to and from, and all systems are a go, here are a few extra tips that couldn’t hurt:
Bring proof your CBD meets guidelines: Since the distinction of how much THC is in the product determines its legality, it is a good idea to bring proof that your product is under the legal limit.
This can come in the form of a print-out of third-party test results called a Certificate of Analysis (COA). In this way, you can authenticate your CBD if you are challenged.
If you do not have these test results, bring the product’s packaging which should have the amount of THC printed on it. COAs can be obtained from the manufacturer’s website.
There may also be a scannable QR code on the label, which can take you to the product’s webpage and COA. The COA includes the percentage of CBD and other cannabinoids, when it was tested, and the name of the lab that did the testing.
It is said that third-party testing is more dependable than company testing because it is done by a third party who has no stake in the results.
Be prepared: If you want to be even more on-your-game, print out the latest TSA regulations that have been posted.
Or you can have the link to the latest state and TSA regulations on your phone. Then if you are questioned by a TSA agent who is unfamiliar with the rules, you can show them proof.
Comply with TSA’s rules for liquids: If your CBD oil follows all the guidelines and is permitted, you still have to make sure you do not go over the allowed liquid threshold.
This amount varies by country. In the US the rule for liquids in your carry-on bags is about 3.4 ounces.
Keep the CBD oil in a clear, quart-sized bag with other liquids. Treating CBD oil like other liquids will help deter suspicion. If you try to hide it, this may arouse a TSA agent’s attention.
Make a Sound Decision Based on Research
So, can you bring CBD oil on a plane? As you can see, the answer is not so straight-forward.
With varying legalities in the US and all over the world, it can be a tricky tight-rope walk.
Although hemp-derived CBD oil is federally legal and TSA agents should allow it to pass through, there can be some hang-ups.
We recommend being vigilant in knowing the laws of where you are coming from and going to.
Being armed with this knowledge will help you make the final determination if bringing CBD is the right choice for you.
Disclaimer: We want to state that this content is for informational purposes only. It is not provided to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment. It is also not meant to provide medical or legal advice. The contents of this website, and the posting and viewing of the information on this website, should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, medical or legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.