Hemp-derived CBD oil hasn’t been illegal under federal law since 2018, so it’s perfectly reasonable to assume you can take CBD oil on a plane. People flying with CBD occur every day.
However, not so fast.
There’s a lot to unpack (no pun intended) before you try to fly with CBD. What’s seemingly innocuous in the U.S. can be a severe crime elsewhere. Some countries are brutal regarding marijuana and certain cannabis products – mainly because their laws don’t distinguish between 0.3 percent THC “hemp” and high-THC “marijuana.”
If you can’t leave your CBD oil at home, it’s crucial to know where your rights begin and, perhaps more importantly, where they end.
Can You Take CBD Oil on a Plane?
Yes, you can take CBD oil on a plane – but your legal protection offered by the Agriculture Improvement Act (Farm Bill) of 2018 only extends to flights within the U.S.
TSA agents won’t actively look for CBD, so nothing prevents you from physically taking it on a plane. But there’s no telling how strict customs agents are at your destination.
There’s no issue with carrying CBD oil onto a domestic or international U.S. flight, as long as the product and its source (“hemp”) contain less than 0.3% THC.
However, once you land in another country, you’re vulnerable to potential “zero-tolerance” policies and other – often severe – legal sanctions. We’ll talk about an extreme (although not isolated) example later.
Considering the risks, it’s best to avoid carrying CBD internationally. Even Canada, which legalized cannabis in 2018, doesn’t allow unregulated hemp-derived CBD within its borders.
So can you travel with CBD Oil?
Yes, you can travel with CBD oil and certain cannabis-infused products. Just make sure they contain 0.3% THC or less.
Can you travel with CBD cream?
Absolutely! You can travel with CBD cream as long as it follows the 0.3% THC limit.
How about traveling with CBD Gummies?
Fortunately, you can travel with CBD gummies, but their THC content can’t exceed the 0.3% limit of “hemp.”
Can You Take CBD Vapes on a Plane?
Yes, you can fly with CBD vapes containing less than 0.3% THC. However, additional rules on e-cigarette products apply. Check the TSA’s policy first.
Can You Travel with CBD Oil Outside of the U.S?
Anyone can pack CBD into their luggage. The question is whether you should. Cannabis and cannabidiol CBD oil remain highly restricted or illegal in most of the world. In some cases, customs may confiscate the product or issue a fine.
However, some countries are extremely tough when it comes to cannabis, as
Countries to Not Travel to with CBD
Cannabis products – including hemp CBD oil, remain illegal under federal law in most countries. If you feel comfortable risking international travel with CBD or any cannabis product, it’s best to avoid the following countries:
Places With the Strictest Cannabis Laws
Sneaking CBD internationally is a bad idea. But in some countries, it could be the worst idea you ever have. American Addiction Centers lists several destinations with strong anti-cannabis laws.
Some examples (in no particular order) include:
- United Arab Emirates
- Costa Rica
- Saudi Arabia
The Cautionary Tale of Billy Hood
So how bad are these locations for CBD users? Pretty bad, as one unfortunate U.K. football coach found out the hard way in October of 2021. According to The Guardian, Billy Hood – a British football coach – was living in Dubai when a friend forgot his CBD vape products in the trunk of Hood’s car.
Authorities detained Hood and, according to him, beat and tortured him until he signed a confession in Arabic (which he doesn’t speak). The man had no access to an interpreter or legal representation (despite Dubai’s claims to the contrary). Interrogators promised to free Hood if he confessed – a lie that landed him 25 years in prison.
Although the U.A.E. government denies coercion, The Guardian advises that such tactics are commonly-used, with police interested in convictions rather than the guilt or innocence.
Hood’s family continues to fight, appealing to advocacy groups and the U.K. government. As of November 2, 2021, the man remains in captivity.
While Billy Hood’s case is extreme, he’s not the first – or last – person to run into legal trouble over hemp-derived CBD.
How Much CBD Can You Take on a Plane?
There’s no limit to the CBD content of your product when it comes to domestic flights. The deciding factor when flying with CBD oil is THC, which can legally be present at levels of up to 0.3 percent.
Joshua Bauchneer, Legal Counsel at Canafarma Corp., explains how the TSA treats cannabis-infused products like hemp CBD.
“Consumers can consider traveling with CBD products to be the same as traveling with any other over-the-counter supplements,” says Joshua Bauchner, Canafarma Corp. Legal Counsel. “TSA guidelines as of January 2020 specifically state that consumers can travel with CBD products as long as they contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis, or that are approved by the FDA.”
However, we again stress that these rules apply to flights within U.S. borders.
Benefits of Traveling with CBD
There’s been a lot of research into CBD’s possible benefits – many of which could apply to some of the less pleasant aspects of travel. Sadly, getting from “A” to “B” is never a smooth experience. But we have reason to believe CBD products can make the process at least marginally painless.
Could Control Anxiety
Whether it’s the stress of packing or pre-flight jitters, research suggests that CBD could offer relief. Unlike THC, CBD won’t induce an intoxicating high known to trigger feelings like paranoia.
There have been several animals and some small human studies on CBD and anxiety. Of particular interest is a 2015 testimony recorded in the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The presenters cite several ways CBD might curb anxiety, including a 2011 experiment in the journal Nature.
According to the publication, human participants who consumed CBD before a public speaking exercise showed less overall anxiety, along with better cognition and verbalization.
If CBD makes it easier for people to get on a podium, there’s a good chance you can apply it to other temporary stressors associated with travel.
May Help With Pain
Traveling is a pain – literally and figuratively. Being crammed into a tiny seat for hours help your muscles, joints, and bones. However, some research suggests that CBD can help with the mental and physical pain of long trips.
According to a 2020 publication from Frontiers in Pharmacology, CBD may have applications for treating joint pain, chronic pain, and neuropathic pain. But the authors admit – as should we – that most of the studies are on animals or small groups of people.
Possibly Reduces Travel-Related Stress
“Stress” is a broad term, but most of us define it as physical and mental tension. Regardless of the cause, many people say CBD products help reduce daily life’s psychological and physical toll.
A 2021 study in the Journal of Cannabis Research collected data from CBD users through an online questionnaire. After examining responses from nearly 400 current and past consumers, researchers noted that stress was a common reason for people to consume CBD.
Because stress involves a variety of symptoms, research focuses on specific stress symptoms, like anxiety. We also have to remember that the data is self-reported and entirely anecdotal.
But if traveling gets under your skin, it can’t hurt to try a small dose of CBD before you leave.
Tips for Flying with CBD
There are a few things to consider that slightly affect how you travel with CBD. We also have some helpful, common-sense practices.
- Liquids in carry-on bags can’t exceed 100ml, including oils, beverages, and e-juice.
- It’s wise to keep spillable CBD products in a sealed container or bag.
- E-cigarette devices must be packed in your carry-on.
- Keep your CBD products in their original containers.
- Don’t bury the product in your luggage if you quickly need to grab it for inspection.
- Federal law only covers CBD-infused products, so dried flower – even “hemp” – is banned from flights.
- It’s illegal to travel with CBD from medical “marijuana” (over 0.3% THC) even if you have a prescription.
- Keep your brand’s third-party tests results on hand, just in case TSA officers search for marijuana.
Still Unsure? Ask TSA
If you’re unsure about what you can bring on a plane, it’s best to get your information directly from the TSA- especially with products that contain controlled substances. According to the TSA:
“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 are approved by the FDA.
TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state, or federal authorities. TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers.”
Other FAQs About Traveling with CBD Oil
Navigating (no pun intended) the legal maze of CBD and travel isn’t easy. Law enforcement can be unpredictable with marijuana or other illegal products. Let’s look at a few other common questions.
Can Drug Dogs Detect CBD Oil at Airports?
No. Drug dogs can’t detect CBD oil. Since the substance is federally legal, training dogs to zero in on CBD is pointless.
Do You Have to Declare CBD Oil When Traveling?
No, you don’t have to declare CBD oil when traveling within American borders. In the eyes of U.S. law, CBD is no different than vitamins or other supplements. Whether you have to declare it elsewhere, however, is another story.
Should You Keep CBD in Your Luggage or Carry On?
TSA regulations say you can keep CBD in your carry-on if it contains less than 100 ml of product. Otherwise, it goes in your luggage.
How to Check if a CBD Oil is Legal to Travel With?
To check if a CBD oil is legal to travel with, use the same benchmarks for evaluating quality. Pretend you’re shopping for CBD, and look for the following:
- Is the CBD sourced from safe, regulated hemp?
- Does it contain less than 0.3% THC?
- Are third-party tests available?
- Is the brand reputable?
If the answer is “yes” to these, you likely have nothing to worry about.
Summary: Traveling With CBD Oil
Laws can be fickle, confusing, and flat-out oppressive. Thankfully, the U.S. at least gave hemp-derived CBD a break. Unfortunately, travelers have little control over how other countries feel about hemp and marijuana.
In the U.S., CBD doesn’t matter to a law enforcement officer or TSA official. But as we illustrated earlier, the seemingly innocent product could land you in a world of trouble.
Know your destination’s laws around cannabis and – if possible – leave your CBD in the U.S.
American Addiction Centers Editorial Staff. (2021, July 16). Drug Laws Around the World: Death Penalty for Drugs. DrugAbuse.Com. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://drugabuse.com/blog/the-20-countries-with-the-harshest-drug-laws-in-the-world/
Argueta, D. A., Ventura, C. M., Kiven, S., Sagi, V., & Gupta, K. (2020). A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.00561
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Hall, R. (2021, October 14). British football coach sentenced to 25 years’ jail in Dubai over CBD vape liquid. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/13/british-football-coach-sentenced-to-25-years-jail-in-dubai-over-cbd-vape-liquid
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