In late May, the Transportation Security Administration gave the green light for air travelers to bring some forms of CBD on flights. Passengers can now carry Food and Drug Administration-approved medical marijuana and hemp-derived CBD oil in both their carry-on and checked bags.
The TSA reportedly changed its guidelines to accommodate patients who’ve been prescribed Epidiolex, a CBD-containing drug used to treat childhood epilepsy. Cannabis advocates welcomed the news, particularly after a grandmother was arrested earlier in May for carrying CBD oil in her travel bag.
Although the TSA now allows CBD on flights, travelers still need to take special care when carrying the cannabis compound. To avoid legal issues and protect CBD products:
1. Check the labels.
Some CBD products, especially those sold in states where marijuana is legal, also contain THC. Unlike CBD, the psychoactive cannabis compound remains illegal under federal law and prohibited by TSA guidelines. Although the TSA doesn’t check CBD products for THC on site, it can turn over suspect compounds to local law enforcement for testing.
Before arriving at the airport, review the contents of any CBD products you plan to bring along. Because only a handful of states require CBD companies to list ingredients on their labels, it’s safest to leave behind any products that aren’t explicitly hemp-derived and THC-free. Now that CBD is federally legal, you can always purchase more where you touch down.
2. Beware the liquid limit.
Although CBD comes in chews, gummies, and other solid foods, it’s often sold in tinctures and beverages. Those liquids may be legal, but they’re still subject to the TSA’s 100 mL liquid restriction.
If your liquid CBD is in an oversized container, repackage it in an a travel-sized bottle. Be sure it seals well: The odor of cannabis attracts attention you don’t want in an airport. Put the bottle with your other liquid toiletries and medications, and be upfront if TSA agents ask about it. As long as you’re following the rules, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
3. Keep them cool, dark, and dry.
Like all chemical compounds, CBD has a shelf life. In optimal storage conditions, the cannabis oil stays good for between 14 and 24 months. But when exposed to heat or light, the cannabinoids start to degrade. Edibles may mold in days if exposed to moisture.
Place all CBD products in airtight containers. Especially if stored in clear plastic or glass, wrap bottles in foil to block light. Because the plane’s cargo area isn’t temperature-controlled, bring CBD products in your carry-on bag. Water-containing CBD products may freeze in the air, while others may get too hot if the plane sits on the tarmac for more than a few minutes.
4. Review relevant states’ cannabis laws.
Just because CBD is federally legal doesn’t mean it’s legal in every state. CBD products remain illegal in Texas, for example, despite the state being home to two of the nation’s busiest airports. Although airports fall under federal jurisdiction, TSA officials can ask local or state police to test CBD products or assist in law enforcement activities.
If flying in or out of states where CBD remains illegal, the safest policy is to leave all cannabis products behind. If you’ll be at your destination for more than a day or two, mail the CBD products to your temporary address. If not, consider flying out of an adjacent state where CBD enjoys legal status at the federal, state, and local levels.
Although the chances of legal complications just dropped drastically, there’s still reason to take care when flying with CBD. Opt for solid CBD products, store them appropriately, and read up on state laws. If you’re still anxious about it, pop a chew on your way to the airport.