We wish it were different, but unfortunately, there is no such thing as a quick and easy answer to this question. First and foremost, we would like to point out that you travel with CBD at your own risk. It is a complicated situation not helped by a lack of common sense being applied to the entire marijuana plant question.
Marijuana is legal to use on a medical or recreational level in 33 states plus D.C., but it remains federally illegal. In other words, the feds could technically break into your California home and arrest you for growing the herb. This is despite the practice of cultivating herb being perfectly legal in the Golden State.
Matters don’t get any less complicated when it comes to CBD, the non-intoxicating compound in the cannabis sativa, and industrial hemp plants. The latter is now legal to grow in most American states if you have a license.
If your CBD comes from it, the substance is permitted in most states. However, if the CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, it remains illegal because the Controlled Substances Act’s definition of marihuana includes all parts of the plant.
Back in 2014, the Farm Bill defined hemp as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC. The 2018 Farm Bill allows for ‘interstate commerce’ of hemp-derived products.
This Means I Can Bring CBD From Hemp on a Plane… Right?
Not so fast. This issue is so confusing that even major publications are guilty of publishing incorrect information. However, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States made a change of sorts in 2019.
According to its security screening page, it says that “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.”
What Does This Mean?
A lot of websites suggest that this ruling provides a clear mandate for passengers to bring CBD oil on a plane. All you have to do is make sure it comes from industrial hemp and that it contains a maximum of 0.3% THC. Alternatively, you can safely bring Epidiolex on board because it is FDA-approved. It is a drug that contains synthetic CBD.
Remember, the TSA operates under federal law. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if cannabis is legal in your state; or even if you are flying from one legal state to another.
However, it seems as if the TSA has softened its stance on hemp-based products, primarily because the plant is now federally legal. In theory, then, you should have no issues bringing CBD oil on a plane.
Yet TSA officers are instructed to report suspected violations of the law. These include possession of weed or marijuana-infused products. The TSA is focused on passenger safety. As a result, their officers don’t necessarily search for marijuana. However, if they happen to come across a hemp or marijuana product, they will inform airport security.
Therefore, you can take CBD with you when flying, but you are still taking a risk. Even if you get past the security screenings, there is the small matter of customs checkpoints on international flights, not to mention DEA agents. Even if you only have CBD oil, there is always a danger of being taken into an office and interrogated if the security officer mistakes your CBD for something else.
But the Farm Bill of 2018 Changed Everything Though?
When President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill in December, he was merely continuing the process of signing a version of the bill. This is something that has happened every five years since 1933. On this occasion, however, it took hemp and hemp derivatives out of Schedule I status on the Controlled Substances Act.
Hemp products are no longer considered the same as marijuana. If you think this means the end of hemp prohibition, think again! Yes, the United States Department of Agriculture regulates hemp. However, the compound CBD remains illegal under American federal law.
The DEA is not helping to alleviate the confusion, either. The agency has various ‘classifications’ for CBD. For example, if the CBD has less than 0.1% THC and is approved by the FDA, it is considered a Schedule V drug by the DEA. It is placed in the same bracket as prescription medication. However, Epidiolex is the only CBD product approved by the FDA, which considers all other forms the same as heroin!
The Farm Bill has improved the hemp landscape immeasurably. However, it includes a provision that enables states to create more stringent laws. For the record, you could get into trouble for buying, selling, or using CBD in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Idaho.
CBD – High Stakes on a Plane
All of the above makes things somewhat murky when it comes to bringing CBD on a plane. If you try to bring CBD on a flight to or from one of the above three states, for example, you could get more trouble than you bargained for.
As for other forms of travel within the United States, it should be okay to cross state lines with CBD. However, once again, you do so at your own risk!
What About Other Countries?
Transport Canada announced that passengers on domestic flights were allowed to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in their checked or carry-on baggage as of October 2018. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) updated its screening procedures to reflect the changes brought about by the Cannabis Act.
Therefore, you can bring cannabis or CBD oil in carry-on luggage, as long as it adheres to the usual onboard liquid limits. Please note that this is ONLY the case for flights within Canada. It remains illegal to fly internationally from Canada with marijuana.
Confusion reigns in the United Kingdom after it became legal for doctors to prescribe cannabis-based medicine to qualifying patients in November 2018. Once again, we have to tell you that you bring CBD on a plane in the UK at your own risk.
While you should be okay on domestic flights, there is a chance that airport security will ask you some awkward questions. It is also important to note that in most European countries, the THC limit is 0.2%, rather than the 0.3% maximum in the United States.
If you are traveling to places like New Zealand or Australia, CBD is likely not allowed due to both nations’ strict stance on the restriction of fauna and plants. When in doubt, it is best to contact the airline and ask whether or not it is legal (or advisable) to bring CBD aboard the plane.
Final Thoughts on Travelling With CBD
Aside from domestic Canadian flights, it is best if you follow the ‘when in doubt, leave it out’ mantra with regards to packing CBD. If you believe you need to use cannabidiol to take the edge off your nerves, consider using an edible or capsule before your flight. You could also do this before you check in your bags or go through security. By doing so, at least you get the calming effects of the compound without risking arrest.
Some readers will doubtless ignore the multiple warnings we have given in this article and bring CBD with them when boarding a plane. In this case, you need to ensure any CBD bottle you bring has less than 100ml of liquid in it.
You should also print out a copy of a CBD oil’s Certificate of Analysis (COA) and bring it with you. It provides evidence that your product contains a legal amount of THC. Don’t buy CBD from any brand that doesn’t offer a COA.
In summation, the TSA follows federal rules and has now separated hemp from marijuana. You could bring CBD products derived from hemp with a maximum THC limit of 0.3% on board. However, the TSA might still find it during a routine search. If the staff member mistakes what you have for a cannabis product, you will have to chat with airport security to clear things up.
While you may not end up in prison, it is an inconvenience you could do without.