With the recent climate of confusion regarding CBD products in different States of the United States, as well as different countries in the world, it’s only natural for everyone to be feeling a little jumpy when it comes to traveling with a bottle of CBD oil in their carry on.

In response to the questions and doubts, here’s everything that is currently known about the legal climate in our country, and some other parts of the world!

Cannabidiol Derivatives

CBD derivatives are products like CBD Oil, capsules, cream, and all the different presentation you often find in stores or online. They usually contain predominantly CBD, while maintaining low to no THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis plants.

Though medicinal cannabis products are already legal in many states, and hemp cultivation was legalized at the end of 2018, there is still confusion and uncertainty when it comes to the legality of some products, or how they can be used.

An example of this confusion is the fact that, hemp-derived CBD is officially legal, and no longer a schedule 1 drug; however, the FDA has warned restaurants, coffee shops and food companies that they cannot add hemp derivatives to consumer products until they have developed an official regulation for the matter. So hemp is legal, but not yet recognized as such entirely.

What the TSA Has to Say About Flying with CBD Oil

The TSA, previously had an absolute prohibition policy not to allow cannabis derived products and didn’t distinguish hemp products from everything else. However, the recent hemp legalization and the FDA approval of a cannabis-based medication, followed by a rise in CBD product consumption, prompted them to modify the regulation.

In these few months, there have been a significant number of incidents regarding CBD supplements being confiscated in airports, and their owners being detained, only to be later released and have the charges dropped. This was a borderline ridiculous situation, considering most of those who use CBD oil are chronic pain sufferers who use it to manage arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other painful conditions.

The previous regulation only referred to cannabis products in general as being illegal. It expressly said packing them into carry on or checked bags was absolutely prohibited:

“Possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law. TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law, including possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products.”

At the end of last week, these TSA regulations were modified to add: “Products/medications that contain hemp-derived CBD or are approved by the FDA are legal as long as it is produced within the regulations defined by the law under the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018.”

Regarding the matter of approved medications, the FDA specifies: “To date, the agency has not approved a marketing application for cannabis for the treatment of any disease or condition. FDA has, however, approved one cannabis-derived and three cannabis-related drug products.”

The only cannabis-derived medication currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration is Epidiolex, which is CBD based and used for the treatment of severe forms of epilepsy in children. The cannabis-related drugs the statement refers to are Marinol, Syndros and Cesamet, which are mostly synthetic (lab-made) cannabinoids.

And When I’ve Landed Safely in Another City?

When traveling with CBD supplements, you also need to take into account the current legal situation of cannabis derivatives in each state.

Though Hemp is now legal on a Federal level, CBD oil, capsules and other derivatives are in a bit of a legal limbo in some States. If you go to Colorado, for example, you won’t have issues if you carry your CBD bottle around. However, in States like Texas, things get a bit fuzzy, since CBD is only technically allowed for specific health conditions, like epilepsy, not to mention oils can sometimes contain traces of THC that don’t correspond to the product’s label, so this could also result in legal issues. So, can you travel with CBD oil? Kind of… The airport’s cool with it. The State may, or may not be.   

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Agriculture just confirmed that, as soon as they publish regulations concerning production, hemp and hemp products will be able to cross state lines regardless of the local legislation, considering the 2018 Farm Bill descheduled the plant, and the law is self-executing, which means it doesn’t require local regulation to be valid.  

International Travel

Even if medicinal cannabis and CBD products are now legal in some countries, traveling internationally with CBD, even if it’s hemp derived, is not allowed. So please avoid packing it into your bag.

Even when you’re traveling from and to a country where medicinal cannabis is legal, regulations are often unclear when it comes to flying with these products and they may be subjected to special entry regulations. Plus, every airport security agent acts differently, considering they are mostly allowed discretion; so even if a friend of a friend had no issues with the CBD in her/his carry on, you might get into trouble for having it… So better avoid these issues until laws and regulations are clearer and a bit more unified.

In Canada, for example, matters were settled late last year when “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 17, 2018. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) updated their screening procedures to reflect the changes brought about by the Cannabis Act.” These new regulations refer to both medical and recreational cannabis:

“If the amount of cannabis you are carrying appears to be more than the legal limit for recreational possession, be prepared to show medical documentation. Your documentation and the amount of cannabis you carry must be in accordance with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. (…)”

So be conscious of this, because special rules apply for medical products over the established personal limit. And remember that oils fall under the regulation regarding liquids. So there is a limit of 100ml container (though most CBD is 30ml, so no problem there).

Though this is probably obvious, it’s important to point out that you cannot leave Canada with cannabis products, regardless of their amount. Since leaving the country with it is still very much illegal. Cannabis legalization doesn’t change border rules. And being caught doing this can have very serious consequences, regardless of the destination or the medical purpose.

It’s also illegal to bring cannabis into Canada. So don’t even try!

In Conclusion… Is Flying with CBD Oil Legal?

Since the beginning of this week (May-27-2019), hemp-derived CBD supplements that contain less than 0.3% THC are officially allowed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in domestic flights. So taking them through airport security and flying with them, is no longer an issue, as long as you’re not leaving the country.

This is good news! However, if you’re going out of town and you’re unsure of the local legislation, I would personally recommend avoiding legal issues by leaving the CBD at home, unless of course it’s necessary for health reasons, in which case, it can’t hurt to have a doctor’s recommendation with you, just in case an officer asks.

I am completely aware of the fact that these precautions shouldn’t be necessary; CBD is, as far as we know, harmless and not psychoactive. But care is still necessary while regulation is completed, which is happening slowly, but surely, if tomorrow’s FDA public hearing is anything to go by.

The FDA operates on a federal level, so this is a good sign!

The Basics:

  • DON’T try to take cannabis or cannabis products out of the U.S., or any other country.
  • DON’T try to take cannabis or cannabis products into the U.S., or any other country.
  • Be well informed about local regulations.
  • For now, discretion is advised.

Save travels!

And feel free to comment or share your personal experiences about traveling with CBD.