Airlines and the TSA have had to make a lot of changes to their policies over the years, especially when it comes to the rules about flying with CBD products. While in the past it was completely prohibited to fly with anything cannabis-related, including CBD, legality on cannabis and CBD has changed in a lot of the world.
This means that traveling with CBD products isn’t a straightforward “no way” anymore.
Although it’s now legal in some situations to fly with CBD, there are still a lot of rules tagged on. Whether you’re flying from Chicago to Canada or Calgary to Connecticut, it’s important that you do your research and plan ahead if you want to travel with CBD. Also remember that you can usually buy quality CBD at your destination. When traveling to Canada, the website CBD Oil Guide is a top source for finding the best deals nationwide.
1. Understand the Difference Between Cannabis & Hemp
Before you can even think about hopping on a plane with a bottle of CBD oil in your carry on, it’s really important that you know the difference between cannabis and hemp. A lot of people use these terms interchangeably, but they’re are actually some big differences between them.
Cannabis is the term used to describe the plant itself, and it includes both the sativa and indica species (and ruderalis). Hemp only falls under the sativa category, so there are no hemp plants that have indica genetics. But that’s not even the main difference between hemp and cannabis.
The thing that really sets the two apart is the fact that hemp never contains more than 0.3% THC, while cannabis plants regularly have THC levels in the upper 20s (and even as much as 40%). This means that hemp won’t actually get you high, which is what most CBD products are derived from.
2. Know the Legality of CBD for Your Starting & Final Destinations
Now that you know the general basics of CBD derived from hemp and cannabis, the next step before you set foot in an airport is to do your research on CBD’s legality. More specifically, do your research on the legality of CBD in both your starting destination and final destination.
You’ll definitely want to check into the legal status of CBD for both medical and recreational purposes. So if you’re heading into Chicago, the good news is that medical and recreational marijuana is legal in the state of Illinois. That makes it easier to travel here with CBD than destinations where CBD remains illegal under state law.
3. Know Which CBD Products Are TSA-Approved
So you know the legality of CBD in your travel destinations, now you need to do some recon into specific TSA policies and procedures. Here’s what the TSA currently says on traveling with medical marijuana:
“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. 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. 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.”
So what does all that fancy jargon mean? In layperson’s terms, it basically means that TSA officers aren’t specifically searching for cannabis products like CBD while they search through your luggage. Their main goal is to locate and handle any potential threats.
If they do come across cannabis products, though, you better be able to show proof that you’re allowed to carry whatever they’ve found (a prescription usually does the trick).
4. Always Have the Proper Documentation on Hand
Now you’re probably asking yourself, but what if I don’t have a prescription and am traveling to and from destinations where CBD is legal?
In that scenario, it’s still recommended that you travel with documentation of some sort, like a product’s copy of the certificate of analysis proving the THC levels are less than 0.3%. If you don’t have that, you can usually contact the manufacturer to get a copy.
For prescribed CBD products, like the FDA-approved anti-seizure medication containing CBD called Epidiolex, you’ll definitely want to keep a copy of your prescription handy.
5. Don’t Push Your Luck with International Travel
Depending on where you’re flying in North America, traveling domestically with CBD is probably not a problem. That being said, traveling internationally with CBD is a lot more difficult and risky than flying domestically. So while flying within Canada or within the US is generally easy, going from Canada to the US is a bit more challenging.
It’s not impossible, but any time you travel across international borders (even if it’s just from Canada to the US), you need to have a complete understanding of airline/travel policies as well as the legislation of your travel destination. On top of that, you should take the advice of point #4 and always bring the proper documentation.
Just try not to push your luck with traveling internationally with CBD products. If you don’t need to bring that bottle of CBD on your international flight, you’re better off leaving it behind.