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 applied to the entire marijuana plant question.
While marijuana is legal in most states, either medically or recreationally, it remains on the federal controlled substances list. Matters don’t get any less complicated with CBD, the non-intoxicating compound in the Cannabis sativa L., including industrial hemp plants. The latter is now legal to grow in every American state if you have a license.
This confusion means that most people are unaware of whether it is legal to travel across state lines with CBD. In this article, we clarify this situation, offer information on traveling internationally with the substance, and provide general tips.
Traveling with CBD: Know the Source
Ultimately, you CAN bring CBD across state lines, but there are caveats. The main thing to remember is that hemp-derived CBD is legal, but marijuana-derived CBD is not. This is because the Controlled Substances Act’s definition of marihuana includes all parts of the plant.
Up until December 2018, hemp was also considered a controlled substance. However, the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law changed everything.
The 2018 Farm Bill took hemp and hemp derivatives out of Schedule I status on the Controlled Substances Act.
Many people don’t realize that President Trump was simply continuing the process of signing a version of the bill. This is something that has happened every five years since 1933. On this occasion, the bill took hemp and hemp derivatives out of Schedule I status on the Controlled Substances Act.
The existence of the Farm Bill doesn’t necessarily mean that traveling with CBD oils legally is a given, however.
The Rules Remain Less Than Straightforward
The bill allows for ‘interstate commerce’ of hemp-derived products. As a result, you are technically free to bring hemp-derived products with you across state lines.
In general, you should have no issues with CBD products, as long as they come from industrial hemp that meets the standards of the 2018 Farm Bill. However, the legislation did not legalize CBD itself. Epidiolex is the sole exception; it is an FDA-approved drug (for conditions such as Dravet syndrome) with cannabidiol as an active ingredient.
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 and placed in the same bracket as prescription medication.
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 certain locations. Ultimately though, as long as your cannabidiol comes from hemp, legal issues are extremely unlikely.
Traveling with CBD: The Importance of THC Level
The 2018 Farm Bill explicitly states that industrial hemp must have a maximum of 0.3 percent THC by dry weight. Any Cannabis sativa L. plant containing more is automatically classified as marijuana, a federally illegal substance.
Therefore, it is crucial that you only buy CBD products with verified and up-to-date third-party lab reports. This documentation outlines the cannabinoid content, including the THC level. Please note that CBD products must contain a maximum of 0.1% in Idaho, while they must have ZERO THC in Kansas.
Traveling with CBD Products in the USA
The United States is vast, so it often makes sense to get on a flight rather than drive cross country.
Traveling with CBD on a Plane
Can you fly with CBD? The answer was uncertain in the wake of the Farm Bill. To avoid further confusion, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States made a change 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.”
This ruling suggests that passengers can bring CBD oil on a plane. But they have to make sure it comes from industrial hemp and contains a maximum of 0.3% THC. Alternatively, one can safely bring Epidiolex on board because it is FDA-approved.
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 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.
Things get even more difficult when it comes to marijuana-derived 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.
It is illegal to bring marijuana with you on a plane or car from one state to another, and you could find yourself in prison for breaking this particular law.
Traveling with CBD by Car
It should be okay to drive across state lines with CBD. However, once again, you do so at your own risk! It is unwise to bring hemp flower with you, given its similarities with marijuana. If a police officer stops and searches your vehicle in another state, you might have some explaining to do!
Remember, CBD products with more than 0.1% THC are illegal in Idaho, while they can’t have any THC in Kansas. Therefore, even if you have CBD oil with 0.15% THC, you could theoretically get into trouble in either state. Then again, it isn’t as if the police will run a lab test!
Can You Travel with CBD Internationally?
Things get hazy when it comes to international travel. Although CBD is legal in many countries around the world, it remains a prohibited substance in almost all of Africa and at least 20 other nations, including:
There are also plenty of countries that only allow CBD use for medical reasons, including:
Here is some information on traveling with CBD by plane or car.
Traveling with CBD by Plane
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 flying with CBD oil is only legal for flights within Canada. It remains illegal to fly internationally from Canada with marijuana.
In most European countries, the THC limit is 0.2%, rather than the 0.3% maximum in the United States.
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 restricting 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.
Traveling with CBD by Car
If you’re a little concerned about bringing CBD with you abroad, you always have the option of waiting until you get to your destination before making the purchase. Yet again, please ensure that CBD is legal within the country and abide by its rules. Ignorance of the law is not a good enough excuse to avoid legal difficulties!
As for traveling to Mexico with CBD oil, the substance is legal in Mexico. However, it is worth bearing in mind that you’ll undergo border checks, so bringing hemp flower is a bad idea! It is also illegal to bring cannabis across the border to Canada even though recreational weed is now legal there.
Tips for Traveling with CBD
Here are a few handy tips for when you decide to travel with CBD, whether you’re going abroad or visiting somewhere in the United States:
- Always check the legality of CBD in whatever state/country you’re visiting
- If you’ve booked a cruise, contact the company directly and ask if CBD oil possession and use is permitted on the ship
- Print out the product’s lab report and have it ready for inspection to verify its cannabinoid content if necessary
- If you have an MMJ card, bring it with you as an extra layer of security within the United States; it could prove effective as long as your state has reciprocity with the state you’re traveling to
- Never bring CBD oil derived from marijuana with you
- If you use CBD because you’re a nervous flier, take some with you, consume it, and dump the packaging before heading through airport security
- Follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 rules for CBD edibles, oils, gels, lotions, and other liquids
- If you use a vaporizer or another electronic device with your CBD, you can store the atomizers and batteries in your carry bags but NOT your checked bags
- Avoid bringing hemp flower with you as law enforcement and security officials may not be able to tell the difference between it and marijuana flower
- Remember, you don’t need to declare that you have CBD in your bag at an airport
Final Thoughts on Traveling With CBD
Aside from domestic Canadian flights, it is best to follow the ‘when in doubt, leave it out’ mantra regarding packing CBD for a visit to the airport.
Some readers are likely to ignore the multiple warnings 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 product’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.
It is a lot easier to drive across state lines with hemp-derived CBD. However, note the different THC limits in Idaho and Kansas, don’t bring hemp flower, and make sure the CBD product isn’t displayed in your vehicle.