Although regulated CBD is legal in the United States, there are strict laws you should follow before traveling with CBD. Can You Travel with CBD Oil? Laws are Murky, But Here’s How to Protect Yourself Is it legal to fly with CBD products within the United States? If it’s a certain type—yes. If it breaks the
Everything You Need To Know Before Traveling With CBD and THC, at Home or Abroad
T ravel can cause a great deal of stress and heightened anxiety for many travelers. For some, cannabis — whether it contains THC or only the non-psychoactive CBD — is one way to help stay calm. With more people traveling to parts of the United States where they can freely and legally indulge in THC or CBD edibles, vapes, and more, it makes sense that there have also been more people traveling with the substances overall.
However, the recent news of WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia for allegedly traveling with a vape cartridge containing THC raising some questions: Where can you travel with substances that were purchased legally, and what’s considered “drug” trafficking?
The definition of drug trafficking includes simply traveling with a substance that is considered a drug, even if there was no intent to sell, distribute, or use the substance.
To put things simply, you cannot legally fly with any product that contains THC inside the US or leaving from the US. This is true even in states with recreational cannabis laws, since airports are under federal jurisdiction and THC is illegal on the federal level. There are specific laws that vary state-by-state when it comes to driving with cannabis in legal recreational states (just don’t drive up to the Mexican or Canadian border with the drugs).
Things are more complicated when it comes to CBD. Here’s what the laws state around the world:
Domestic US Flights
According to TSA guidelines, for domestic flights, you can carry and travel with FDA-approved CBD products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC. The TSA’s site 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.”
Products that fit the guidelines can be carried in your checked baggage or carry-on.
Crossing state lines
When taking a road trip or crossing from one state to another, it’s important to recognize that each state, city, and county, have their own sets of laws. According to Forbes, traveling across state lines with CBD is legal. However, products have to fall under the 2018 Farm Bill that puts strict guidelines on CBD from hemp that’s legal on a federal level:
- The THC percentage can be no more than 0.3% (If it exceeds that percentage it can be considered marijuana, by law, which can land you in federal trouble.)
- The product must be produced under the 2018 Farm Bill
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has to have issued approved regulations and procedures within that specific state
CBD allowance by country
Australia: CBD oil is legal but highly regulated and restricted. Opt for purchasing CBD in Australia as opposed to traveling with it.
Brazil: According to Brazilian Federal Law, it is permissible to use cannabis-based medicines. This means that you must possess a Brazilian medical prescription.
Costa Rica: The general consensus is that Americans can travel to Costa Rica with CBD products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC.
Germany: Local law dictates that CBD products cannot contain more than 0.2 percent THC, but if you’re traveling with a higher percentage, it’s punishable by a fine or jail time.
India: Many tourists travel to India with their own CBD, but it’s also possible to purchase it there.
Mexico: CBD is permitted across the USA-Mexico border, but the label has to state that it is hemp-derived. CBD is legal in Mexico as long as the product contains less than 0.1 percent THC.
The Netherlands: Travelers can carry products with less than 0.05 percent THC (yes, cannabis is technically illegal in the Netherlands just like most European countries).
Thailand: FDA Thailand has to give you special medical permission to travel there with a CBD supply of no more than 30-days.
United Kingdom: The product cannot contain any THC and must be a product that is designed for human consumption (food-grade).
Where’s CBD prohibited?
There are very few countries in Asia that are CBD-friendly, so it’s important to research your travels with cannabis oil based on the destination. Traveling with your CBD to Japan, Singapore, and Russia could land you with an astronomically high fine or thrown in prison. And although China has been known for a bustling CBD industry, using, selling, or buying CBD in China is absolutely illegal.
According to the Government of Canada, it is illegal to transport cannabis and products containing cannabis – including edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals – across the Canadian border. CBD is also illegal in most African nations with the exception of South Africa.
Visiting a Middle Eastern country with CBD is considered drug trafficking. They have a zero-tolerance policy and in the United Arab Emirates, the presence of CBD in your bloodstream is considered drug possession.
Can You Travel with CBD Oil? Laws are Murky, But Here’s How to Protect Yourself
Is it legal to fly with CBD products within the United States? If it’s a certain type—yes. If it breaks the rules—no. Here’s how to make sure your CBD can be transported legally.
We probably don’t have to tell you, but cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become a firm favorite among alternative treatments in anxiety, epilepsy, skin care, nausea, and more. What’s not so firm is the legality of traveling with it.
We’ll be honest: The legality of CBD is still muddy. The government has done a terrible job making standards clear, leaving the door wide open for local law enforcement to put everyday people through a legal wringer with no outcome. If you run across a security officer who’s in a bad mood, there aren’t many cut-and-dry regulations that will spare you grief.
A central problem is confusion about what CBD is and what it does. Think of cannabis as having two major components. CBD is the compound that is responsible for the major health effects of cannabis—it’s the part that’s increasingly legal. The other part, delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the chemical that gives you a high and makes law enforcement freak out. Smoking a joint delivers both compounds, but products can be manufactured to exclude THC, eliminating the high. Those are generally what are referred to as CBD products, although even those may still contain trace amounts of THC, sometimes by accident.
Two important questions will determine whether your CBD product is legally protected: Was this derived from hemp or from marijuana? and What is its concentration of THC?
Know its origin
CBD can be derived from two major sources: hemp (totally legal) or marijuana (legality differs by state).
Traveling with hemp-based CBD can be fine. That’s because the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“Farm Bill”) removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, and in late 2019, the USDA affirmed that you have the right to transport hemp-based CBD across state lines.
Before you travel with marijuana-derived CBD, check the legality of medical marijuana at the state you’re visiting. A majority of American states have legalized it, so that gives you protection at the state level, so you shouldn’t encounter issues as long as you don’t pass through other states that ban it.
Will the TSA care?
There’s one more factor you must consider when traveling with CBD oil: the trace amounts of THC it contains.
The TSA’s official site says CBD oils “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.”
So according to the TSA, you may travel with CBD if its THC content is under that 0.3% threshold. (And, of course, if the amount you’re carrying conforms to the usual 3-ounce limit that applies to all liquids and lotions.)
The TSA says it’s not interested in policing illegal drugs. It’s concerned about passenger safety, so it’s not going to search your bags for drugs. But if its agents do happen to come across any illegal substance in the course of normal screening, they still might refer you to the police.
It may be legal federally, but you might have to deal with zealous local officers who are keen to enforce their state’s tighter rules. In 2019, a 69-year-old woman was arrested by a sheriff deputy at the gates of a Disney World park as she tried to enter with her family. The CBD oil that she used to soothe her arthritis tested positive for THC content despite the fact its label claimed it had none. While CBD is legal federally and she had a doctor’s note, the state of Florida had not caught up and the deputy wouldn’t let it go, so she spent 12 pointless hours in jail before she was released.
The furor was for nothing. Charges against her were dropped, and two months later, CBD was legalized in Florida. It’s unlikely her arrest would happen today, but the incident highlights how labeling standards and police education will be key until the law becomes clear and definite.
In the United States, law enforcement officers are often just as confused by the law, so if you’re polite and don’t look like a high-volume drug trafficker, they are more likely to look the other way—but still, that’s no guarantee.
For maximum confidence, make sure the product was obtained from industrial hemp and contains less than 0.3% of THC; that generally covers you on the more stringent federal level, and no state will bust you for a hemp-based product. Now that the USDA is monitoring THC content, labeling accuracy for trace amounts of THC should improve, too, so you’ll be much less likely to get caught out.
It’s all so confusing and needlessly stressful that we could use a good anti-anxiety treatment. Anyone know of something that would work?