The world we live in today is extremely confusing when it comes to cannabis and its derivatives, like CBD. Each state has different laws and regulations, and many still use drug dogs to detect weed. So what happens if you are carrying CBD oil on you? Are drug dogs able to smell CBD?
Dogs provide some of the most reliable and useful tools in the war against drugs and terror in the United States. They form an integral part of law enforcement and protection services. Drug dogs are often put to work at airports, traffic stops, and public events. They are trained to detect specific scents related to guns, machinery, people, and drugs. Now that CBD is becoming extremely popular, many consumers are left wondering if dogs can smell CBD.
If you’re traveling to another state and are thinking about taking your CBD with you, you need to exercise caution. As you probably already know, the legality surrounding CBD is very complex, and there’s no clear answer regarding whether you are allowed to travel with CBD.
Technically, it depends on where the CBD is derived from. If it’s hemp-derived, it should be legal. However, even then, your semi-legal bottle of CBD oil may be confiscated. In some cases, arrests have been made.
How Are Drug Dogs Trained?
Before looking at the issue of whether drug dogs can smell CBD, it’s good to understand how drug dogs work. Many dogs are highly intelligent animals that can follow commands with proper training and do a variety of tricks. Typical drug-sniffing dogs include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Belgian Malinois, and Weimaraners.
Similar to people, drug dogs have a job that requires consistent work. Once enrolled, they are constantly training with their human partners. The path to reaching the top level can be a very long one. Drug-sniffing dog breeders can begin training and testing puppies as young as six weeks old.
After selection, the puppy will spend the next few months going through daily training routines with officers until it’s ready for service in the field. The service life of dogs in this line of work is typically eight or nine years.
Dogs that are trained to detect drugs are highly specialized. They spend several years training to smell very specific terpenes in cannabis. These terpenes include caryophyllene, beta-caryophyllene, and pinene.
CBD products that are free of THC don’t contain high levels of these terpenes – unless they are somehow injected into the product. But, keep in mind that levels of terpenes may vary between hemp-extracted CBD brands.
Can Drug Dogs Smell CBD?
Technically, yes, drug dogs could be trained to detect CBD. But don’t freak out just yet. Take note of the phrase “can be trained to detect CBD.” This means that handlers would have to dedicate a lot of their time towards training them to smell CBD – which isn’t likely.
It’s even less likely considering that reports from last year stated that many drug dogs would be going into retirement due to the legal status of marijuana. Basically, K9 unit dogs that can detect marijuana are being retired because they are unable to tell the difference between medical and recreational substances. For both of these reasons, it’s highly unlikely that a drug-sniffing dog will detect CBD.
However, you do need to worry when you are traveling or flying to a place where CBD is illegal. The 2018 Farm Bill now allows for each state to manage CBD as they see fit, which means that you need to check your state’s law, as well as the laws of the state you are traveling to.
Drug dogs are able to smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than humans. This means they can pretty much smell anything given the proper training. However, recent reports suggest that drug dogs these days are typically trained to primarily detect hard drugs or dangerous bombs, and not necessarily marijuana.
Furthermore, as we’ve already touched on, drug dogs are trained to smell caryophyllene oxide and beta-caryophyllene, which is found in most cannabis strains. However, in CBD-heavy hemp tinctures, it’s present in miniscule amounts – amounts that most dogs would likely glance over. Unless, of course, you happen to be carrying a whole bag full of something. With just one or two bottles of CBD oil, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.
How Accurate Are Drug Dogs?
Drug dogs are not always as accurate as you might think. One study reports this by testing various dog breeds against illegal substances with their handlers to determine how quickly (if at all) they can detect the substances.
They used 68 Labrador Retrievers, 61 German Shepherds, 25 Terriers, and 10 English Cocker Spaniels to determine their results. Most of the drug dogs were able to detect the substances quickly and efficiently. However, 5.3% were false accusations.
When it comes to the war on drugs, thousands of innocent people have been wrongfully convicted. As you can imagine, several of these arrests are bound to be the result of a K9 falsely detecting drugs and the officer going along with it.
But fortunately, drug dogs are starting to retire for marijuana purposes – as we’ve already mentioned. And since CBD is non-psychoactive, law enforcement is not spending time and money on training dogs to look for it.
Final Thoughts on Whether Drug Dogs Can Detect CBD
Drug dogs are highly trained, powerful tools used by law enforcement and police officers. They are often used but don’t typically react to hemp-extracted CBD products because the levels of terpenes in these products are usually so small that the dogs are not interested.
However, there is still always the possibility that a drug dog will detect the presence of CBD. For this reason, it’s crucial to check the laws and regulations surrounding CBD before you travel.