Are You Allowed To Travel With CBD Oil?
The world is more connected than ever, and not just through social media. Whether you are travelling internationally or domestically, flying has never been more accessible than it is now. The difficulty, however, is that not everyone enjoys the experience of flying. Anxiety, upset stomach, and stress are common symptoms experienced among air travellers, which can be enough to prevent some people from flying at all.
Thankfully, CBD may be able to help; however, that puts flyers in a tricky situation—the regulations surrounding CBD and air travel are less than clear.
CBD and flying—where do you stand?
If CBD oil has become a natural part of your daily routine, then even a trip away is likely to have you thinking about taking it with you. Given that it is legal (in most countries) to buy, sell, and use, surely flying won't be a problem? Well, like all things CBD-related, the answer is both yes and no.
Most countries are still undecided on how to regulate CBD, and as such, it has fallen into a grey area that often sees it lumped together with marijuana, the intoxicating counterpart to hemp. Most CBD oils across Europe are produced using commercial hemp that has less than 0.3% THC, making them non-psychotropic and legal. Unfortunately, the unjust stigma attached to CBD, and its association with cannabis, is where the confusion starts for frequent flyers, and the government. In the US, for example, CBD oil can be derived from both marijuana and hemp, with certain exceptions possible for both types of product—complicated, right?
Understanding federal law and TSA regulations
Although federal law in the US is by far one of the most complex, at least regarding CBD, America is one of the few places in the world where we are starting to see clarification on flying with CBD. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for overseeing all security when travelling publicly in America. Up until recently, their stance on CBD saw the compound treated the same as medical marijuana, despite the effects of both substances being distinctly different. In 2018, the TSA updated its guidelines around CBD and stated the following:
"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".
The "hemp-derived" part of their statement is crucial. Reputable producers should also third-party test their products, which provides you with an opportunity to check precisely what is contained within the oil. As long as THC remains below 0.3%, then you should be allowed to take CBD on a domestic flight within the US.
Unclear guidelines make international travel a no-fly zone for CBD
The issue with international travel is that you have to consider the laws in the country you are flying from, and the country you are flying too. Despite hemp-derived CBD being widely accepted among much of Europe, the US, and Canada, every nation has a slightly different take on the compound. As such, all CBD products fall into a melting pot of different jurisdictions, and without extensive research or written permission, the risks associated with taking CBD on a flight don’t outweigh the benefits—at least for the time being.
Taking CBD in your hand luggage
If you plan to travel domestically, whether that be within the US or your home nation, there are several steps you can take to make flying with CBD a less stressful endeavour. After all, in most cases, the compound is meant to alleviate anxiety, not add to it!
• Bring proof that your CBD is hemp-derived
Given the distinction in guidelines between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD, it is highly advisable to bring proof that what you are travelling with is the former. Reputable producers of CBD should have their products third-party tested to ensure the ratio of cannabinoids is correct. Where possible, bring a print-out of any related test results as a way of proving your CBD oil is legitimate—if challenged. If you cannot get hold of test results, then at least try to bring the oil's packaging, as this should also state how much THC is contained within.
• Understand local regulations
If you are not flying domestically across the US, make sure you research your home nation’s stance on CBD. As we have pointed out, even though CBD oil may be legal to buy and use, it may not be suitable to take on a flight. If you are flying within the US, make sure you understand the regulations in the states you are flying to and from. Just because the destination you are flying from allows CBD oil to be taken on a flight doesn't mean the state you're landing in also allows it—research on regulations is crucial.
• CBD oil must adhere to the same rules as other liquids
Assuming CBD oil is accepted on your flight, don't forget it must adhere to the standard rules surrounding liquids. These will vary from country to country, but in most cases, liquids should be in a see-through container and declared at customs. Don't try to hide your CBD oil; instead treat it the same as any other liquid you would take on a flight.
A final note on flying with CBD
In the majority of situations, the difficulty of taking CBD on a flight will likely outweigh any potential benefits you will get from taking the substance with you. Regulations in the US are a little clearer, but even travelling with CBD between states can be challenging. If you cannot be without CBD, make sure you thoroughly research any applicable regulations. You can always contact an airline or security agency directly to ask what their stance on travelling with CBD oil is, especially if guidance is lacking online.