A growing number of consumers are becoming aware of CBD, or Cannabidiol oil, and its multiple health benefits ranging from its anti-inflammatory properties to its calming effects. While many users are discovering and enjoying its wellness-promoting attributes, CBD’s legal status and regulations are still unclear to many people. Because CBD can be produced using the Cannabis plant, CBD is, in fact, quite different from Marijuana, both in terms of its effects on users and its legal status.
Many travelers that take CBD regularly and rely on its positive effects are still unclear as to whether they can travel safely with the substance because of its complicated legal history.
Traveling with CBD can be a complex issue, so let’s draw some important distinctions between CBD and different but related substances.
Marijuana is illegal in the US according to federal law, although some states have legalized or decriminalized it locally. CBD, on the other hand, is legal in the US as long as its chemical composition follows legal guidelines. Namely, it must contain less than 0.3 percent THC.
THC is the compound found in Marijuana that produces the psychoactive effects that users typically associate with “getting high.” These effects can vary, but often include feelings of sedation and euphoria. Many CBD products on the market today contain only trace amounts of THC if any.
However, it’s still important to note that any CBD product that contains more than 0.3 percent of THC will be treated differently as a matter of law. Although CBD can also be produced through hemp plants, it shouldn’t be confused with hemp seed oil either.
Hemp seed oil contains its own unique health benefits including important nutrients like essential fatty acids but is quite distinct from CBD and its effects, as noted in this Kyro article.
Hemp seed oil hasn’t been illegal in the US and continues to be legal to this day. This is different from CBD which, although legal today, was once prohibited by US law. All of this is to say that CBD, Marijuana, and hemp seed oil are all different substances with different regulations that govern whether people can travel with them.
Although CBD is federally legal today, there are a few reasons why it’s still probably not worth traveling with it. One of the primary reasons is that there is no way for airport officials to differentiate whether a product was derived from Marijuana or hemp.
Moreover, many CBD products do contain extremely small but detectable amounts of THC. Although federally permitted CBD products contain less than 0.3 percent THC, that still means that they very well could test positive for THC. Even more troublingly, the detection of THC in the product will mean that field testing will show a positive result for Marijuana, which could lead to an arrest.
This piece by the LA Times provides some additional helpful insight into the complications that can arise when traveling with CBD.
While traveling with CBD isn’t likely to lead to any kind of prosecution, as CBD is federally permitted, there are some local state laws and ordinances that take an unfavorable stance on CBD. Therefore, depending on where you are traveling, it’s not out of the question that you could face legal repercussions as a result of local regulations. Moreover, other countries have their own unique sets of regulations and while many countries are loosening regulations around CBD, some countries do still maintain stiff penalties for possessing CBD products.
In terms of the US, certain states are known to have much more stringent regulations than others. Texas state law, for example, actually forbids the possession of any Cannabis-derived product, including CBD. In fact, according to state laws in Texas, the possession of such substances can be punished with hefty fines and, in the most extreme cases, with prison time.
Local regulations can vary quite broadly from state to state and from country to country, as noted in this Daily CBD Mag article.
All of this is to say that while you’re relatively unlikely to be legally prosecuted for traveling with CBD, the mere fact that it is a possibility, and that a traveler could face an arrest is probably reason enough not to take the risk.
However, if you insist on traveling with CBD there are a few precautions you can take to limit the risks. One of the best steps you can take is to bring a certificate of analysis of any CBD product you travel with. This could go a long way in proving that the product is, in fact, CBD and that it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC which means that it’s in line with federal law.
Keeping up with a good travel publication can often be a good step to staying in touch with local travel regulations so that you can keep your finger on the pulse of any new developments.
People traveling with prescription drugs that contain CBD such as Epidiolex should bring their prescription with them on their flight.
Anyone traveling with CBD should do extensive research on the local regulations that exist in their departing and arriving locations. They should be careful to know the distinctions between CBD and related products such as Marijuana and hemp seed oil.
Regardless of the risks, each traveler needs to do their research and ultimately weigh the risks of traveling with CBD. While most travelers will likely decide against it after learning about the complications that can occur, it’s up to each traveler to know the local regulations of their departing and arriving location.
One thing that anyone traveling with CBD should keep in mind is not to take it lightly. Many travelers understandably feel that it should be their right to travel with CBD products since CBD is federally legal as a result of what’s come to be known as the Farm Bill. But, with outlier states like Texas still maintaining strict regulations around Cannabis-related products, and the possibility of a CBD product returning a positive result for Marijuana on a field test, it may not be worth the risk.