CBD is enjoyed by people all around the world. However, in some regions, CBD is still a controlled or banned substance. Not to mention if it’s legal in your country, you may face challenges if you attempt to fly out of the state with your CBD.
Recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) defined its policies regarding medical products containing CBD. As it was expected, FDA-approved medications including cannabidiol, or CBD and cannabis-derived CBD products, are allowed in both checked bags and carry-on.
While it’s legal to fly with CBD products in the US, that may not be the case in other countries. Cannabidiol is a compound found in different sorts of cannabis plants, both marijuana and hemp. However, cannabidiol that’s legal in the US contains less than 0.3% THC concentrations, which means it doesn’t cause the “high” effect. Yet, many countries still deem CBD a controlled and dangerous substance.
The thing is that many CBD lovers want to fly with their products because of their potential to ease symptoms of stress, and anxiety among other health issues. On the other hand, some people get anxious while on the plane, so they need to dose CBD oil to reduce their distress. But before tossing your products into your checked or carry-on bag, it’s vital to read up on all the regulations.
Differentiating Cannabis, Marijuana, and Hemp
We use the terms like “hemp,” “marijuana,” and “cannabis” interchangeably without knowing that they are actually very different. At the same time, cannabis is the classification of a plant divided into three main types: Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis – with Sativa and Indica being the most notorious. Marijuana can be a member of either cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica, while hemp is only a member of cannabis Sativa. For a connoisseur, the hemp and marijuana plants have very distinct properties.
Chemically speaking, both plants contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – the famous compound that gets us “high” – and CBD, which is nonintoxicating and said to possess various medical benefits. But while marijuana can sometimes contain almost 40% THC, hemp often contains no more than 0.3% – not nearly enough to induce the high effect.
The legality of CBD
Here’s where things begin to get, somehow, even foggier. Hemp-derived CBD containing no more than 0.3% THC and supplied under strict regulations is federally legal, according to the 2018 Farm Bill adopted in December. The Proposal revised the Controlled Substances Act to relieve hemp from “marijuana “and “THC,” as long as it’s sourced, respecting the new regulations.
Yet, the origins of CBD products and their THC levels can be quite difficult to trace, which is what makes many states reluctant about CBD legalization. In Texas, for instance, CBD with a THC level higher than 0.0% remains illegal unless a medical specialist has made a recommendation to treat epilepsy. In that case, a patient could buy CBD flower wholesale containing no more than 0.3 or 0.5% THC
The FDA added an extra layer of restriction to the legality of cannabidiol – it cannot be added to beverages, food or cosmetics products or sold as supplements, whatever its origin. Most states – even those where cannabis products are legal for recreational use, like Maine – have agreed to play it safe by banning cannabidiol as a food additive.
Mostly, cannabidiol is legal on a federal level only if it contains no more than the permitted amount of THC; it’s not sold as food, drink, or cosmetic, or was produced under certain regulations.
Flying with CBD
For years, the TSA outlawed traveling with any form of cannabis product. But recent changes have made it clear that we cannot travel with hemp-derived and CBD oil, FDA approved medication. Simply put, products that contain hemp-derived CBD or products that are FDA approved are generally legal in the US, so travelers can legally carry their CBDs on their flights. However, if the tested substance contains detectable traces of THC, a field examination will show a positive result for marijuana, which will likely lead to arrest. If the additional testing will determine the level of THC in the product and, consequently, whether or not federally permitted.
In some states where cannabidiol remains illegal under state law, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) may refer cases to state and local officers, how this will depend exactly on what the passenger is carrying and where they are. That said, given the great discrepancies between state and deferral laws (let alone the frequency with which they’re changing), it’s perhaps just not worth taking on a plane any CBD-derived goods at this time. If you plan to do so, be sure you at least familiarize yourself with the laws of the regions you’re traveling to or from. It might also help you know that you can contact the producer or supplier to request a copy of the certificate of analysis anytime you intend to travel with your products.
In case you travel with your FDA approved drug containing cannabidiol, such as the anti-seizure medication, ensure you carry your prescription and any appropriate documentation.
Are there any repercussions?
Of course, there are. Many passengers mistakenly presume that federal law outperforms the state law. Unfortunately, not everything that sparkles is gold, and traveling with CBD is a very complicated topic with various scenarios resulting in different outcomes. In the case of cannabidiol, states are allowed to implement more rigorous regulations than those referenced in the 2018 Bill.
If you need to travel in a country where local policies deem cannabidiol legal, there is no local or federal offense. However, if the local laws regard it illegal, there is a risk of prosecution. As Texas law states, possession of marijuana, including CBD, is treated as a felony, resulting in a massive fine and a minimum of 180 days of detention.
Lastly, to play it safe and dodge any legal accusations– or at least, delay while waiting for Transport Security Administration to examine your luggage and consult the rule list– it may be worth leaving your CBD products at home unless you’re carrying FDA-approved medications.