So it’s time to rush out for that business trip, holiday visit, or vacation and you want to take your CBD oil with you. What are the security officers going to have to say about that?
Every state and country has its own rules for traveling with CBD oil. The contents of your CBD oil are going to be important because some places limit what active ingredients are allowed.
As the legalization of various substances is still up in the air, many travelers are totally stumped about whether they can take CBD with them on a plane. Fortunately, we have all the answers in this guide. Read on for a general rundown of the current rules about transporting CBD oil.
What’s In Your CBD Oil?
When you’re shopping around, you need to make sure you find CBD oil with the active ingredients listed clearly on the label. In the most extreme instances, the kind of shoddy knockoff CBD products you can find in gas stations and convenience stores were even found to be laced by the FDA.
Surprisingly enough, that’s not what the TSA officers or other security checkpoint employees are looking for in your CBD oil. They’re looking for illegal substances like tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, a Schedule 1 drug made illegal under the Controlled Substance Act.
In the United States, the legality of CBD oil is dependent on its THC levels. Thanks to the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (The Farm Bill), as long as a hemp product has “no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis,” then it has a good chance of being legal. There are other stipulations about the source of the CBD oil, but we’ll talk about those a bit more later.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalizes <0.3% THC CBD oil at the Federal level but leaves states the option to make more restrictive laws including banning CBD oil outright if they so choose. So far, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Idaho are the only states to pass more restrictive laws than the 2018 Farm Bill. Idaho insists CBD oil be 0.0% THC while the other two states have outlawed the product outright and imposed fines and punishment on anyone caught selling it.
All this is to say you better know what’s in your CBD oil and it had better be easily verifiable for airport security. The label needs to have THC content where they can see it - that’s just the first step in making sure your CBD oil will be allowed to fly.
Where Is Your CBD Oil From?
Another aspect of that 2018 Farm Bill is that CBD oil (and all other hemp products) are required to be manufactured and distributed by a company with a federally-approved license to grow.
This is no different than having an alcohol license or a food & beverage license. An American hemp producer needs to be approved by their state or tribe if they have a production plan in place that has been approved by the USDA. If they don’t have a license or plan and don’t plan to submit one, the USDA should handle approval directly.
Fortunately, just about every state, territory, and tribe appears to have submitted a hemp production plan to the USDA. At the time of writing, Hawaii, Mississippi, and New Hampshire hold full USDA Hemp Producer Licenses, while 26 other states have had their final plan accepted.
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also have approved plans. Four tribes out of 54 have their license and 45 have had their plans approved. This information is liable to change as more plans are submitted and approved. You can check for the most current number of hemp grower licenses at the USDA website.
What Do They Accept At A Security Screening?
At the airport, you’ll see the same TSA agents you always do. They’ll scan your carry-on luggage and make sure none of it is against the rules. Remember that the 3-1-1 rule from the Transportation Security Administration is still in effect. That means even if your CBD oil is less than 0.3% THC and comes from a licensed grower, you have to have it in a container that’s 3.4oz (100ml) or smaller.
You can put three of them in a quart-sized resealable bag. Since the Farm Bill is a federal law, CBD oil with low enough THC content is accepted at security checkpoints for travelers on domestic flights within the United States.
If you prefer to use a vape for your CBD products, it still has to follow the percentage rule. You’re allowed to take it in your carry-on bag but not in checked luggage. That rule is in place because the batteries in such devices are more likely to explode in the cargo hold than they are in the pressurized passenger cabin.
Flying With Other Cannabis Products
Different types of CBD products are also allowed on a plane depending on their contents and according to TSA restrictions like the 3-1-1 rule. Here’s a short list of basic restrictions on products containing cannabinoids other than THC. Keep in mind that rules and regulations change and you should always look up the current laws based on your departure city, destination, and the kind of CBD product you’re trying to take with you.
- Creams, Lotions & Topicals: Creams are allowed in checked luggage. They’re also allowed in checked bags in amounts smaller than 3.4oz (100ml).
- CBD Gummies & Edibles: On domestic flights within the USA, travelers can take their CBD gummies and edibles with them on checked or carry-on luggage as long as they certifiably contain no more than 0.3% THC.You can use CBD gummies on the flight to help ease the negative effects of jet lag or anxiety about flying.
- Tinctures: The same rules about liquids apply to tinctures that apply to other liquids on domestic flights in the USA.
- Vapes: You can take a vape with you in carry-on luggage but not in a checked bag because the battery might explode in the luggage hold.
- Capsules & Pills: If you’re trying to take Epidiolex with you, you’ll need to have your prescription with you. Other CBD capsules can be taken through the TSA checkpoint but you might be asked some questions. Remember the 0.3% THC rule.
What About Medical Marijuana?
Traveling with medical marijuana in the USA is a bit more difficult than with CBD products. For one thing, you’ll need a marijuana ID card and a prescription with your name on it. Since marijuana is still a controlled substance, you might have the TSA agent refer the issue to a law enforcement officer who can make the call.
Here’s the thing about traveling with medical marijuana, though. The Federal Government of the United States still outlaws THC in all its forms, including marijuana. If you’re at an airport in one of the states that has made medical marijuana legal, then you can sometimes show your medical marijuana ID card and be OK.
But if you’re traveling between states, Federal Authorities might think you’re committing a crime by transporting illegal drugs across state lines. That’s a terrible situation to be in. Your marijuana is almost definitely getting thrown out and you could be facing serious punishment.
What Is A CBD Certificate Of Analysis?
A COA is a lab analysis of your CBD product confirming that it adheres to the under 0.3% THC content rule. It’s helpful for products that look a bit more handmade and they’re also just good to have so you know exactly what you’re consuming. They usually help make the TSA security check more smooth.
The lab has to be accredited to give out a COA. It’s not usually up to the customer to send their CBD product out to get the COA - the company should include it with purchase. Most of the time you can reach out and see a sample COA before you buy as well.
Many products come with a QR code that you can scan to see the certificate of analysis, which is much easier and faster to use. It’s not the law of the land in some places, but companies are making their COAs available in QR format anyway because it’s so much easier.
Another benefit to the certificate of analysis is that you can see how much cannabidiol is in what you’ve bought. That way you know if you’re getting your money’s worth or not. It should also tell you if it’s full-spectrum CBD oil and what else exactly is inside. If you’re looking for a pure product, the COA is essential.
Can You Take CBD On International Flights?
If you thought traveling with CBD products in the USA sounded complicated, it gets worse when you try to do it on an international flight. Out of an abundance of caution, we would advise not traveling with CBD oil. Even if you’re going to a place where it’s legal, transporting it might not be. Plus, your certificates might not be recognized in foreign countries or the security officer might not know how to proceed.
If that’s the case, you can bet the oil is getting binned. Some countries also have strict punishment for holding any part of the hemp plant, including CBD. Regardless of whether or not it contains any THC, you could face high fines or worse. The worst crash course in a foreign language is in a confrontation with a police officer when you’ve broken the law.
The bright side is that many countries in the world have CBD oil available for purchase. Rather than a scary confrontation with the police, you could learn a few words in a new language as you try to find out which kind of CBD oil is right for you in the country you’re visiting.
How They Check Checked Bags For CBD
Security forces understandably keep a pretty tight lid on their practices. It’s probably a safe bet that they have some way to search luggage for hemp-related products. Just remember that it’s allowed under the 0.3% THC limit and maybe consider putting a COA around your product in the checked bag in case it’s the subject of a random search.
Make sure the packaging looks legit because goods that look homemade could spark suspicion. Packing a vape pen is easier because they want it to be in your checked baggage. But you should still make some effort to label it so they know what it is if they have any reason to find it.
Lastly, just in case someone does open your luggage, make sure you have your stuff organized and the CBD products in question on top and separated so if they have to take a closer look they don’t have to dig it out from the rest of your stuff. It’s easier for them but it also means the rest of the stuff in your bag has less of a chance of being disturbed.
How To Prepare For Travel With CBD Products
If you’re traveling in the USA and want to bring your CBD oil, edibles, topicals, tinctures, or any other kind of CBD product with you, there are some preparations you should make before your trip.
Get used to getting the COA every time you buy any kind of CBD product. As we mentioned earlier, there is usually a QR code or some similar method of obtaining it on the product itself. You can also contact the company and ask them for a copy in advance.
Although it’s not necessary to print it out, you could do so and put it in with your checked bags or have it on hand when you’re passing through security just to speed things up. If you have any other kind of documentation like a prescription or recommendation from a medical professional, bring that with you too. Even if they never look at it, it’s better to have it in case you need it.
Pack your goods in a way that makes it easy to examine them, particularly the creams and liquids that you’ll be taking in your carry-on bag. That makes the TSA’s job easier but - perhaps more importantly depending on who you ask - it will make your journey through security faster and easier.
CBD products with less than 0.3% THC content are legal in almost every state in the USA. There are a few that impose stricter limits or even outlaw CBD products completely. Very broadly speaking, you can travel with CBD oil and other similar goods within the USA as long as the THC content is sufficiently low and it’s in the proper carrying case and you aren’t bringing more than the TSA allows.
In most cases, it might be easier to buy new CBD oil when you reach your destination, particularly if you’re on an international flight. But if you’re trying to take it with you to help with jet lag or anxiety while you’re on the plane, or you have another reason for taking it mid-flight, then you can use the recommendations in this guide to traveling with CBD oil.