Guide to Traveling with CBD Oil

CBD is 100% legal in the United States, so you might assume it’s 100% okay to travel with. That’s not quite the case. It only recently became legal to fly with CBD oil within the U.S., and that’s only if it contains 0.3% THC or less. 

Despite CBD oil being legal, not everyone at TSA is up to speed on how to distinguish CBD from marijuana, so you may find yourself delayed at security for additional screening. If you’re traveling internationally, it’s up to you to research whether CBD oil is legal at both your point of departure and at your destination. Finally, if you’re planning to bring your CBD tincture in your carry-on, you need to make sure it fits within the liquid restrictions of 3.4 ounces or less.

Traveling with CBD can be tricky, to say the least. In this guide, we share everything you need to know about how to travel with CBD oil. Plus, we offer our best tips for flying stress-free with CBD, getting through security, and finding travel-friendly CBD oils.

The TSA’s Policy on CBD Oil

Let’s begin with the TSA’s official policy on CBD, which was updated in May 2019. Their website states: “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 or that are approved by FDA.”

Under this policy, the TSA’s guidelines match those of the federal government. As long as the CBD product is derived from hemp and contains 0.3% THC or less, you can fly with it. Because hemp naturally contains high amounts of CBD and very little THC (always 0.3% or less), the majority of CBD oils are extracted from hemp. This allows manufacturers to sell them without issue throughout the U.S., while their customers can enjoy the benefits of CBD without the concern of getting a high

However, not all CBD oil is derived from hemp. CBD oils can also be extracted from marijuana. Some people prefer more THC content, and in many states, marijuana is legal. If this describes your CBD oil, don’t make the mistake of taking it with you on a plane. Marijuana-based CBD oils are banned under the TSA’s policy. 

Hemp-derived CBD oil, on the other hand, is allowed in both checked and carry-on luggage (provided it’s 3.4 ounces or less, in the case of carry-ons). That doesn’t mean you won’t run into any trouble, though. The TSA makes a point of specifying that their screening procedures are focused on security threats, not finding marijuana. TSA officers are not looking for CBD oil. But, if they suspect they find marijuana as a part of your security screening, they will loop in a law enforcement officer to help assess the situation—even if what you’ve packed is CBD oil and not marijuana:

“TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer. TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities.” 

If you are traveling with hemp-derived CBD oil, you will in all likelihood be fine. You may need to undergo additional screening and answer questions about the product, but you’ll ultimately be able to get on your flight. The problem is, not all TSA officers are well-versed in the difference between CBD oil and marijuana, so that questioning may take longer than you expect, causing you to miss your flight or at the very least stressing you out. 

Worse, under the policy, the TSA officer can still decide to confiscate your CBD oil, even if they allow you on the flight: “The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.” 

Can You Take CBD Oil on a Plane?

Yes, if you’re traveling in the U.S. with a hemp-based CBD oil containing 0.3% THC or less, it’s legal to pack in your checked luggage as well as your carry-on. It’s possible you’ll be delayed at security, but otherwise you’ll be good to go. 

In certain states, you may experience more lax regulations, depending on the legal status of marijuana in the state. For example, at Los Angeles International Airport, based in California where recreational marijuana is legal, adults 21 and older can travel with 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana.

Hemp-derived CBD oil is approved for domestic travel. What about international destinations? CBD’s legal status varies from country to country. In the European Union, CBD oils must contain 0.2% THC or less (slightly below the U.S. amount) to be considered legal. However, Member States can set their own limits, such as Italy, which increased the THC limit to 0.6%. 

Tips for Traveling with CBD Oil

Whether you’re traveling by air, land, or sea, follow these tips to travel legally with CBD oil. 

1. Review the CBD laws of your destination before your trip. 

It’s important to review both the laws surrounding use of CBD in the place you’re traveling to, as well as the laws regarding traveling with CBD—because they’re not always the same. For example, in Canada, it’s legal to use cannabis. It’s also legal to travel within Canada with cannabis, permitted your product contains a legal amount of THC. 

If you’re traveling internationally, however, you cannot take cannabis into or out of Canada from another country, regardless of the legal status of cannabis in said country. Canada’s border laws make it illegal to travel with CBD into or out of Canada, for either medical or recreational purposes. 

2. Research additional restrictions, as well.

Even if hemp-derived CBD is legal where you’re going, there may be additional restrictions that prohibit it for some reason. For example, many cruise lines don’t allow CBD oil on board. Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Carribean both explicitly prohibit CBD products. While Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line don’t mention CBD, both companies do prohibit medical marijuana (so it’s likely CBD oil is prohibited as well). 

If you’re road tripping throughout the U.S., it’s legal to take CBD oil with you, as long as it’s extracted from hemp. However, if you plan on taking a marijuana-derived CBD oil with you, review each state’s laws before your trip. You’ll want to confirm that marijuana-derived CBD oils are legal in your home state, the state you’re driving to, and any other states you pass through. You can review each state’s laws regarding CBD here.

3. Bring your product’s COA with you. 

The Certificate of Analysis, or COA, is a lab report confirming the cannabinoid content of a CBD oil and attesting to its safety. CBD brands will include this certificate either in the product packaging, or make it available for download on their website. Before you travel, print this out and pack it in your carry-on. Having this certificate on hand to share with the TSA officer can significantly speed up questioning in the event you do get detained. 

4. Purchase travel-size CBD. 

Let’s say you’ve done your research and you know you’re legally allowed to travel with CBD on your trip. You can still make things easier on yourself by taking travel-sized options. CBD tinctures are usually small and fit within the 3.4-ounce-or-less rule, but traveling with liquids can be risky and they’re not always spill proof. 

Instead, you might consider taking a less spillable option, like CBD capsules or gummies. Several brands also sell travel-friendly versions of their CBD products, specifically designed for on-the-go use. 

  • CBDfx and HempBombs sell disposable vape pens. The CBDfx pens are designed for one-time use, each with a single 30mg serving of CBD. Flavors include Fresh Mint, Tropic Breeze, Blue Raspberry, Honeydew Ice, and Strawberry Lemonade, and come in single, three-, or twelve-packs. The HempBombs vape pens are better for longer vacations, with each pen containing 125mg of CBD, or 150 puffs. Flavors include Exotic Watermelon Kush, Wild Blueberry Jam, and Bangin Fruity Bedrock. 
  • HempBombs also sells 5-count travel packs of their 25mg CBD gummies. Green Roads also offers 2- and 4-packs of their gummies, as well as single doses. Flavors are sweet, sour, or fruity, and the gummies include 25mg or 50mg of CBD each. 
  • Elixinol’s 1000mg CBD applicators dispense a 15mg dose of CBD with each click. You apply these under the tongue just like you would with a tincture, but you don’t have to worry about leakage thanks to the airtight pen. 

If a TSA officer confiscates your products, it will hurt your wallet less to lose one of these travel-sized versions vs. a regular-sized product. To avoid suspicion during security, it’s best to keep the product in its original packaging.

5. Leave your CBD oil at home. 

To avoid any potential hiccups, the safest route is to leave your CBD products at home. TSA officers have no way of analyzing a CBD oil for THC content, other than taking your word for it and believing what the Certificate of Analysis says. While the TSA’s policy does allow you to travel legally with hemp-derived CBD oils, TSA officers can still decide to confiscate them during security. 

Instead, you can simply not bring your CBD oil with you, and research an opportunity to buy a replacement oil somewhere at your destination. Many CBD brands partner with local retailers, big box stores like Walmart and CVS, and marijuana dispensaries to make their products available. 

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