Despite CBD’s lack of inebriating (or any negative) effect and its scientifically-backed recuperative, medicinal properties, the question “Can you fly with CBD products?” is murky.
President Biden has made moves to reduce the archaic Schedule I classification of cannabis at the federal level. However, much work must be done before products with associations with the cannabis plant can be seamlessly transported by sky.
As CBD’s popularity grows–and its healing properties become more appealing–the question of seamless usage and transportation grows in importance.
Below, we’ll delve into the nuances of why “Can you carry CBD products on an airplane?” is such a complex question:
Understanding CBD And Its Legal Status
Hemp is the primary source of CBD (cannabidiol), although it can be derived from non-hemp plants.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. Hemp plants contain–at most–0.3% of THC, meaning it has no mind-altering effects.
Provided CBD doesn’t exceed the 0.3% threshold discussed above, and it’s derived from hemp, it is technically federally legal in the US. However, different regulations exist in each state for CBD, which you’ll need to keep in mind when flying with products possessing it.
Furthermore, that 0.3% threshold is tricky in and of itself. That’s why purchasing such products from reliable, FDA-approved sources is so important. You could unwittingly carry something illegal after thinking you made an entirely legal purchase.
To clarify any confusion, the states with no restrictions on CBD sales are as follows:
- New Mexico.
- North Dakota.
- New York.
- New Jersey.
States with CBD restrictions include:
- New Hampshire.
- North Carolina.
- Rhode Island.
- South Dakota.
- South Carolina.
- West Virginia.
The TSA And CBD
TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration. It was created after 9/11 to bolster the US’s nationwide transportation system security while ensuring people and commerce could move freely.
The TSA’s guidelines for flying with CBD are somewhat ambiguous. Any CBD products that meet legal thresholds–derived from hemp and below 0.3% THC–are theoretically legal to travel with (as long as they’re FDA-approved), as they’re technically legal via federal standards.
One article from Forbes discusses the confusion presented by the TSA’s guidelines. Their security won’t search for federally illegal substances. Still, suppose un-FDA-approved CBD–for instance–happens to be discovered. In that case, the situation will be handed over to law enforcement.
TSA used to not have a distinction between hemp-derived and marijuana products. Now, evidently, it does. Confusion remains on how officers could tell which CBD products are federally approved. They won’t be testing for THC amounts at security checkpoints. So, if they have a hint of doubt, they’ll contact the local police.
Safe Ways To Travel With CBD Products
Whether oils, capsules, edibles, topicals, etc., you can theoretically travel domestically with any CBD product as long as it’s approved by the FDA. After all, the FDA won’t approve any non-hemp-derived CBD with THC over 0.3%.
It would be wise to avoid bringing CBD flowers or resins because these can be more easily confused with THC-infused products.
Anyone traveling with CBD in liquid form (e.g., oil) must carry only 3.4 fluid ounces. Store it in a clear plastic bag, ensuring it’s separate from other products.
For any CBD product, make TSA agents’ lives easier by bringing the product’s Certificate of Analysis (COA). This will inform the security of the THC amount, date/location of testing, and ingredients.
Check state regulations for CBD when traveling so you’re prepared. Also, purchasing CBD products once you arrive might make more sense instead of bringing them on a plane, simply to eliminate the potential for unnecessary snafus.
International Travel And CBD
In short, the pathway to safe international travel with CBD is ensuring you fly with a product legal where you’re leaving and arriving. Potential layovers could be a factor if you need to re-check your luggage.
CBD products are legalized in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Australia, and Canada.
Such products are heavily restricted and outright banned throughout most of Asia. South America is relatively strict, too, although countries like Uruguay have recently legalized CBD.
Carry a tax receipt and certificate of origin for your CBD product’s hemp when traveling to Europe. Be sure to store all labels, receipts, and packaging with the CBD products. Other European countries may require a doctor’s note.
Once more, avoid bringing CBD flowers and resins onto a plane to prevent misunderstandings.
Research CBD-related laws for where you’re going (and where you’re departing) to ensure you won’t run into trouble.
Possible Legal Consequences
Purposely trying to bring illegal CBD products onto a plane can face severe legal consequences, depending on the country where you’re facing charges.
For instance, if caught by the TSA with illegal CBD products, you’ll be treated the same as you would for a marijuana-related offense of a similar nature. If caught with a marijuana-derived product on an international flight, you will end up in jail, likely serving a sentence.
Final Tips For Traveling With CBD Products
- Bring FDA-approved products with COA and other required documentation based on local laws. Have the COA on hand for any security checks.
- Ensure liquid-based products are held in clear packaging.
- Ensure CBD products are derived from hemp and lower than 0.3% THC.
- Research local laws.
- Bring flower or resin-based THC onto a flight.
- Try to travel with marijuana-based or other non-hemp-based CBD.
- Bring products not approved by the FDA with you to the airport.
- Fail to learn the local CBD laws.
Keep informed about state CBD laws with this recently updated Forbes article.
Traveling with CBD can be confusing. Generally speaking, FDA-approved products paired with a COA should keep you safe, but knowing local laws is a more reliable failsafe. This way, you won’t get caught off-guard, avoiding potential disasters.
As the world garners a better understanding of CBD and all its benefits, expect air travel with it to become more manageable. For now, knowledge is power, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Note that this article is a resource. It is not legal advice. Contact your lawyer if you have specific legal questions about flying with CBD.
Here’s a link to the TSA webpage directly discussing CBD.
Here are some further resources to help you learn about CBD regulations: