Traveling with CBD: What to Consider When Traveling by Air [Updated]

Due to unclear, or often non-existent, regulations surrounding Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating compound found in the cannabis plant, traveling with CBD can be concerning.

Is it legal? Could there be consequences? Can I travel to this state with it? Is it worth it?

These are some of the questions that are leading travelers to think twice about packing CBD products in their luggage.

While those with moderate conditions may endure discomfort without the relief provided from CBD, those with severe conditions often rely on CBD for daily function and not having access to it during their travels could be detrimental to their health.

This is a very valid concern, but inconsistent regulations from various agencies at the state and federal level creates a complicated situation.

CBD Laws and Regulations

In the United States, public transportation, including the airport, is regulated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

To maintain the safety of travelers, the TSA prohibits certain items from being brought on board an aircraft, one of which is “medical marijuana,” including its derived products.

Previous TSA Policy on CBD — Bad

On its website, the TSA had previously listed CBD as a prohibited item that they claimed was illegal under federal law. While this is true for CBD derived from marijuana, this policy did not consider CBD derived from hemp, which was federally legalized last December under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018.

Thankfully, this issue has since been corrected by the TSA.

Earlier this week, on May 29th, 2018, they updated their website with much-needed clarification:

“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.”

Updated 2019 TSA Policy on CBD–Good!

Based on the TSA’s adjusted excerpt, it is confirmed that you can bring CBD on a plane as long as it’s derived from hemp and meets the highest standards.

While this update confirmed that travelers can bring hemp-derived CBD on a flight, marijuana-derived CBD is still considered as an illegal substance that is prohibited on flights.

Hemp-Derived CBD vs. Marijuana Derived CBD

Hemp and marijuana are both varieties of the cannabis plant; however, they are classified differently under the law due to their concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

Under federal law, marijuana is still considered an illegal substance because of its THC-content and ability to induce psychoactive effects. Hemp contains no more than 0.3% THC, while marijuana can contain over 30% THC-content.

In 2018, Hemp was reclassified as an agricultural commodity under the Agricultural Improvement Act and is no longer considered a controlled substance, which means that products using hemp-derived CBD are legal under federal law.

Can You Bring CBD On a Plane?

Based on TSA technicalities, passengers cannot travel with marijuana-derived CBD because marijuana is illegal under federal law.

CBD derived from hemp; however, is federally legal and is allowed to bring on a plane.

With this in consideration, it’s also important to be cautious when traveling with CBD because of shifting legal regulations and the unclear distinction between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD amongst the general public.

Tips For Traveling With CBD

If you’re planning on bringing CBD on your next flight, here are some easy tips you can follow to make sure you prepared.

#1 Research the States You Are Travelling From and To

While hemp-derived CBD is legal under federal law, some laws and regulations will vary from state to state, and certain states have strict laws against CBD regardless of its source.

Because of this, it is important for travelers to research the rules and regulations of both the state being departed from and the state being traveled to.

#2 Review The Certificate of Analysis (COA) of the CBD Product

Poor manufacturing practices can lead to low-quality CBD and inaccurate cannabinoid content. Even if a product’s label displays that the product is “THC-FREE,” it may actually contain THC, making that product illegal.

Before you purchase a CBD product, review its ingredients and COA, or lab report, to confirm that it contains less than 0.3 percent.

For cautionary purposes, it is highly recommended to print out the product’s lab report and have it readily available during your flight just in case you need to verify the product’s cannabinoid content with airport security.

#3 Properly Package the CBD Product

Like other aqueous products, liquid-based CBD products (oils, lotions, etc.) must meet the requirements outlined by the TSA. Travelers can bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes that contain less than 3.4 oz of liquid each in a carry-on bag.

In addition, it is recommended to not hide your CBD products and group them with other liquids so that they do not appear suspicious.

#4 Traveling with CBD Internationally

Due to the precarious legalities towards hemp, marijuana, and cannabis in other countries, traveling internationally with hemp or marijuana-derived CBD is not advised.

In some parts of the world, hemp and marijuana are heavily regulated, and importing even personal use products could result in severe criminal punishment.