Can You Fly With CBD?
Let’s face it: flying is stressful. But for proponents of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis, the news is good. Traveling with CBD has never been easier or more widely accepted. As long as you follow certain precautions, flying with CBD in the U.S. is legal, easy, and stress-free.
That’s not to say that there isn’t anything to keep in mind, however. If you want to avoid unnecessary delays, TSA screenings, and awkward questions, there are a few best-practices to follow that will ensure your travels touch down smoothly.
Which CBD Products Travel Well
Before getting into the thick of things with TSA policy, state and federal law, and other technical matters, let’s take a moment to consider which CBD products travel best.
In general, most CBD products can be legally and safely brought on a flight. Depending on whether you want to bring your CBD in a carry-on, use it in-flight, or check it in your luggage, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- CBD Oil Tinctures: Because CBD tinctures are liquids, they are subject to special TSA rules. All liquids must be sealed in a quart-sized bag, and no single product can contain more than 3.4oz of liquid. The size restriction should rarely be an issue, as most CBD oil tinctures come in sizes of 1oz or less. If properly packaged, however, CBD oil tinctures are perfect for storing in your carry-on and are convenient to use in-flight.
- CBD Topicals: CBD topicals are also technically liquids, so they are subject to the same packaging restrictions as CBD oil tinctures. Aside from that, CBD topicals travel well — but in-flight use is less convenient than with many other products. If you wish to use a CBD topical during your flight, consider CBD infused patches, which are discreet and require only a single, long-lasting application.
- CBD Edibles: CBD edibles are probably the easiest and least conspicuous CBD products to travel with. In fact, chewing on CBD gummies or sucking on a CBD lozenge are wonderful, multi-purpose travel practices. These allow you to not only receive your regular CBD treatment but to get rid of ear pain and ear “popping” that results from changes in altitude as well.
- CBD Vapes: Of all CBD products, CBD vapes are probably the worst choice for travel. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t bring a CBD vape with you on your travels for post-flight use, but these products are absolutely NOT appropriate for in-flight use. TSA policy strictly prohibits the use of any and all smoking devices during a flight, and severe punishments can result from use.
CBD Under Federal and State Law
The legal status of cannabis in the United States is still, to say the least, somewhat murky. Although this natural plant is achieving widespread acceptance in more and more states, high-THC strains of cannabis remain illegal under federal law. For the ever-increasing number of users who make cannabis-derived products a part of their daily wellness routine, this murky status is problematic — particularly when a user wants to bring their treatment across state lines.
While both medical and recreational marijuana (the intoxicating, high-THC strain of cannabis) is legal in an ever-increasing number of states, it is still illegal under U.S. federal law. That’s not true of all cannabis or cannabis-derived products, however.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp and CBD products derived from hemp are legal in all 50 U.S. states. Several states have attempted to impose local restrictions on the sale and purchase of CBD products. However, interstate sale and transport of hemp-derived CBD is still legal despite these attempted restrictions.
That’s excellent news for anyone hoping to bring their CBD tinctures, topicals, edibles, or other products with them on their travels. Thanks to the Farm Bill and recent TSA clarifications, travelers have little to worry about when flying with CBD — so long as they follow a few basic guidelines.
CBD, Marijuana, and TSA regulations
In the United States, air travel is regulated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a federal agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. One of the most important roles played by the TSA is monitoring and (often) prohibiting the interstate transport of certain restricted substances, including cannabis.
But not all cannabis products fall under this restriction. The TSA recently updated their policy on traveling with CBD:
“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.”
In other words: As long as your CBD products follow the federal requirements laid down by the 2018 Farm Bill, it is perfectly legal to fly with CBD, whether in your carry-on or in your checked luggage. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make sure that flying with CBD goes smoothly.
Tip 1: Know the source of your CBD, Hemp-derived vs. Marijuana Derived
Not all CBD comes from the same source, and buying the wrong CBD product could land you in legal hot water. Make sure that you are only purchasing CBD products derived from industrial hemp and NOT from marijuana. Marijuana-derived CBD is still illegal under federal law, even if all THC has been removed. Don’t risk it. Buy only from reputable vendors, like CBD Choice, who source all their products from industrial hemp farms.
Tip 2: Make sure that all CBD products have comprehensive Certificates of Analysis (CoA’s)
Because of the legal status of cannabis and cannabis-derived products like CBD, it’s vitally important to know exactly what’s in your CBD products. Unfortunately, some manufacturers and vendors mislead their customers in pursuit of profit; even if a product’s label claims that it is “THC Free”, there is a chance that the product contains more than the legally-permissible 0.3% THC. The ONLY way to ensure that your CBD products are travel-ready is by viewing each product’s Certificate of Analysis — the laboratory test results that prove the potency, purity, and cannabinoid levels of your CBD product. Any reputable vendor should be able to provide these important documents. As part of CBD Choice’s quality guarantee, each and every product you’ll find on this site is 100% legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, and we have the CoA’s to prove it. If you’re having trouble locating one, feel free to reach out to our customer service team; we’re always happy to help.
Tip 3: Print out and carry a copy of each product’s CoA
Knowing that your CBD products are legal and travel-ready is one thing. Convincing an over-zealous TSA agent of the fact is another matter entirely. If you’re bringing your CBD in a carry-on, make sure to have a printed-out copy of each product’s CoA on your person. If you’re checking your CBD products with your luggage, consider storing each product alongside its CoA. Putting each CBD product and CoA in an individual plastic baggie is a great idea — both for protecting against spills and for making sure that any inspectors are able to easily locate the information that they need.
Tip 4: Ensure all products are properly packaged
CBD edibles and many other products will require no special packaging. However, if you’re traveling with a liquid CBD product, such as CBD oil tinctures or most CBD topicals, special restrictions do apply.
All liquid-based CBD products must be stored in a sealed quart-size bag. No individual liquid CBD product can be larger than 3.4oz; most tinctures are well under this size restriction, but many topicals are too large for this requirement, so plan accordingly.
Flying with CBD Internationally
Let’s be blunt: it’s probably not a good idea to travel internationally with CBD products. The legal status of cannabis and CBD products is complex enough within the United States; adding in other countries’ legal restrictions and policies only makes the situation more difficult to navigate.
In many parts of the world, both hemp and marijuana are highly regulated and stigmatized. Even though traveling with CBD products is perfectly legal under US law, it could result in severe legal trouble under your destination’s cannabis legislation.
If you do choose to fly internationally with CBD, be sure to carefully research all relevant laws and policies within your destination's borders.