Can You Travel with CBD Oil? Laws are Murky, But Here’s How to Protect Yourself Is it legal to fly with CBD products within the United States? If it’s a certain type—yes. If it breaks the Once a taboo, CBD has recently become mainstream. For that reason, we’ve prepared a list of the most commonly visited countries that allow you to travel with your CBD. How to fly with CBD, where you can travel with CBD, and what the best CBD products for travelers are.
Can You Travel with CBD Oil? Laws are Murky, But Here’s How to Protect Yourself
Is it legal to fly with CBD products within the United States? If it’s a certain type—yes. If it breaks the rules—no. Here’s how to make sure your CBD can be transported legally.
We probably don’t have to tell you, but cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become a firm favorite among alternative treatments in anxiety, epilepsy, skin care, nausea, and more. What’s not so firm is the legality of traveling with it.
We’ll be honest: The legality of CBD is still muddy. The government has done a terrible job making standards clear, leaving the door wide open for local law enforcement to put everyday people through a legal wringer with no outcome. If you run across a security officer who’s in a bad mood, there aren’t many cut-and-dry regulations that will spare you grief.
A central problem is confusion about what CBD is and what it does. Think of cannabis as having two major components. CBD is the compound that is responsible for the major health effects of cannabis—it’s the part that’s increasingly legal. The other part, delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the chemical that gives you a high and makes law enforcement freak out. Smoking a joint delivers both compounds, but products can be manufactured to exclude THC, eliminating the high. Those are generally what are referred to as CBD products, although even those may still contain trace amounts of THC, sometimes by accident.
Two important questions will determine whether your CBD product is legally protected: Was this derived from hemp or from marijuana? and What is its concentration of THC?
Know its origin
CBD can be derived from two major sources: hemp (totally legal) or marijuana (legality differs by state).
Traveling with hemp-based CBD can be fine. That’s because the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“Farm Bill”) removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, and in late 2019, the USDA affirmed that you have the right to transport hemp-based CBD across state lines.
Before you travel with marijuana-derived CBD, check the legality of medical marijuana at the state you’re visiting. A majority of American states have legalized it, so that gives you protection at the state level, so you shouldn’t encounter issues as long as you don’t pass through other states that ban it.
Will the TSA care?
There’s one more factor you must consider when traveling with CBD oil: the trace amounts of THC it contains.
The TSA’s official site says CBD oils “remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA.”
So according to the TSA, you may travel with CBD if its THC content is under that 0.3% threshold. (And, of course, if the amount you’re carrying conforms to the usual 3-ounce limit that applies to all liquids and lotions.)
The TSA says it’s not interested in policing illegal drugs. It’s concerned about passenger safety, so it’s not going to search your bags for drugs. But if its agents do happen to come across any illegal substance in the course of normal screening, they still might refer you to the police.
It may be legal federally, but you might have to deal with zealous local officers who are keen to enforce their state’s tighter rules. In 2019, a 69-year-old woman was arrested by a sheriff deputy at the gates of a Disney World park as she tried to enter with her family. The CBD oil that she used to soothe her arthritis tested positive for THC content despite the fact its label claimed it had none. While CBD is legal federally and she had a doctor’s note, the state of Florida had not caught up and the deputy wouldn’t let it go, so she spent 12 pointless hours in jail before she was released.
The furor was for nothing. Charges against her were dropped, and two months later, CBD was legalized in Florida. It’s unlikely her arrest would happen today, but the incident highlights how labeling standards and police education will be key until the law becomes clear and definite.
In the United States, law enforcement officers are often just as confused by the law, so if you’re polite and don’t look like a high-volume drug trafficker, they are more likely to look the other way—but still, that’s no guarantee.
For maximum confidence, make sure the product was obtained from industrial hemp and contains less than 0.3% of THC; that generally covers you on the more stringent federal level, and no state will bust you for a hemp-based product. Now that the USDA is monitoring THC content, labeling accuracy for trace amounts of THC should improve, too, so you’ll be much less likely to get caught out.
It’s all so confusing and needlessly stressful that we could use a good anti-anxiety treatment. Anyone know of something that would work?
To Which Countries Can You Travel With CBD?
Once a taboo, CBD has recently become mainstream. Its health benefits and soothing properties are getting more and more recognition each day. As one of its consumers, you certainly know what we’re talking about.
However, traveling with your CBD aid kit can sometimes be bothersome, since not all countries are CBD-friendly. For that reason, we’ve prepared a list of the most commonly visited countries that allow you to travel with your CBD.
Where Can You Take CBD Legally?
1. North America
North America, like Europe, has quite loose policies for CBD. In the United States, 47 out of 50 states allow CBD in some form. The only three states where CBD is still illegal are Iowa, Idaho, and South Dakota.
In Canada, as of 2018, it is legal to use CBD for both medical and recreational purposes. Mexico, on the other hand, allows only medical CBD usage. Aside from Jamaica and Costa Rica, where CBD is not legal but is decriminalized, all other North American countries prohibit its usage.
The Asian continent is famous for its countries’ strict policies and laws. Therefore, taking your CBD to Russia, Singapore, or Japan could be a bad idea — penalties range from head-spinning fines to jail time. China, on the other hand, has a booming CBD industry, but deems illegal any usage, selling, or buying of CBD in the country.
In fact, there are only a few Asian countries that are CBD-friendly, including:
- India – Just like you can buy bhang, a popular form of cannabis in India, you can also purchase CBD oils. They are completely legal and you can bring them with you irrespectively of your medical condition.
- South Korea – Although CBD is a common ingredient of topical products in South Korea, you cannot use it for recreational purposes. You can bring CBD to South Korea only if you have medical reasons for that.
- Thailand – You can bring your CBD into the country only if you have a permit from FDA Thailand. The permit allows you a maximum of a 30-day supply of CBD for personal use.
Unlike the countries of Asia, most European countries have looser policies regarding CBD. Countries that allow CBD include:
- The United Kingdom – If your CBD product matches the laws of the UK, you can bring it into the country. CBD products must not contain any THC, and they must be safe for human consumption.
- Germany – As long as the CBD product contains less than 0.2% of THC, you can safely bring it into the country.
- France – CBD is legal in France only under certain conditions. One of them is that the product contains 0% THC. Any trace of THC and the product will be regarded as a narcotic by the authorities.
- The Netherlands – If your CBD contains less than 0.05% of THC, you can safely bring it to the Netherlands.
In the African continent, the CBD market is still non-existent. Therefore, it is incredibly difficult to find out which laws apply there. Although many witnesses said that smoking cannabis is frequent across Africa, it is still not clear whether it is illegal or not.
However, South Africa is the only country in Africa that clarified its position and laws on CBD. In May 2019, South Africa changed its medicines law, which now allows you to consume 20 milligrams of CBD per day. Additionally, it must contain less than 0.001% of THC and less than 0.0075% of total CBD.
Australia was one of the countries in which different states had different laws regarding CBD. Fortunately, as of 2020, the usage of CBD for medical purposes is legal, as long as it contains less than 2% of other cannabinoids. However, you can possess or buy CBD only with a medical prescription.
6. Central and South America
Similar to Africa, laws, and regulations regarding CBD in Central and South America are quite unclear. However, there are a few countries that consider CBD to be legal, including:
- Mexico – It is legal to take your CBD across the Mexican-American border. But the label on your CBD has to confirm that it is a hemp-derived product.
- Colombia – If your product has less than 1% THC by dry weight product, it is safe for usage in Colombia.
- Costa Rica – Another country with a limitation on THC percentage. If the product contains less than 0.3% THC, it is safe to take it across the border.
- Brazil – As one of the largest CBD markets in the world, Brazil allows bringing CBD oil across the border. However, it cannot contain more than 0.2% THC.
There is no doubt that the favorable effects of CBD are increasingly getting noticed around the world. As seen above, many countries already understand consumers’ demands.
Because of that, we firmly believe that traveling with your CBD will soon be safe anywhere in the world. Until then, we hope our list can help you with the preparations for your next trip!
A Traveler’s Guide to CBD
CBD is many a traveler’s secret weapon to ward off jet lag, flight anxiety, or muscle aches — but crossing borders with it can be complicated. Here’s what to know and the best products to try.
Maya Kachroo-Levine is the luxury and experiences editor at Travel + Leisure digital. She has previously edited at Departures, Expedia, Good, Medium, and The Balance, and written for LA Weekly, Time, The Atlantic, Marie Claire, and Refinery29, among others.
If you’ve ever sat on a runway and wished you could eat a piece of candy that would somehow quell your flight anxiety, then we have excellent news: You can. We’d like to formally introduce you to the world of travel CBD. It’s not too good to be true — you really can find delicious CBD gummies to help you relax or even combat anxiety, which is why CBD has become quite popular among travelers.
However, the world of CBD isn’t without nuance. CBD comes in a variety of forms — from gummies and pills, to tinctures and body lotions — and different dosages. The right dose or product for someone looking to relax in business class with an in-flight movie might be different than the type of CBD you’d need to fall asleep while battling jet lag. There are also legal implications of CBD to consider. It’s now widely used in the U.S., but regulations vary from state to state, and CBD is still illegal in many countries.
To help you navigate CBD for travel, we’ve put together an introductory guide to CBD, explaining what exactly CBD is, how to fly with CBD, where you can travel with CBD, and what the best CBD products for travelers are.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is an active ingredient in marijuana. However, CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the “psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high,” per the Mayo Clinic. CBD is not always derived from the same plant; you can find both hemp-based CBD and marijuana-derived CBD.
Sixty percent of CBD users take it specifically for anxiety. It’s also been used to treat epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and insomnia, among other ailments and conditions.
You can take CBD orally or apply it topically. You’d generally take CBD orally if, for example, you were combatting anxiety on a flight. However, you might choose to use CBD topically when you arrive at your destination and are trying to ease post-flight muscle aches.
For those interested in ingesting CBD, CBD oils or tinctures are very common — you simply put a drop or two on your tongue, or you might even add a tincture to your beverage. There are also chewables (gummies) or CBD pills you can take. Finally, you can smoke or vape CBD, though not while traveling by plane.
Why does CBD appeal to travelers?
Before we get into the legality of flying or road tripping with CBD, let’s talk about why CBD is growing in popularity among travelers. First and foremost, it’s become a common remedy for travel anxiety. Whether you’re a nervous flier who dreads turbulence, or someone who gets wound a little tight when traveling with family, CBD is a popular way to release some tension in your shoulders and get back to having a great travel experience. For travelers up against significant time differences, there are also fatigue-inducing CBD products to help you find sleep when your internal body clock is completely out of whack. Finally, travelers who are constantly dealing with traveling aches and pains (too many hours in a car or plane, or too many nights on an Airbnb mattress) might turn to CBD — topical or ingestible — to ease their body aches.
Can you take CBD on a flight?
When traveling with CBD, the most important thing to remember is that the legality of these products changes based on your location. In the U.S., CBD is legal at the federal level and has been since 2018. Most states will allow possession of hemp-based CBD, because CBD derived from hemp is guaranteed to have less than 0.3 percent THC. However, if you’re traveling to a state that you know has strict marijuana regulations, research the state laws before bringing CBD — and make sure your CBD products are devoid of THC.
When traveling outside the U.S., rules shift on a per-country basis. CBD is illegal in a few European countries — including Iceland, Monaco, and Montenegro — and Asian countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam. Most African and Middle Eastern countries have banned all cannabis products, CBD included — though Lebanon legalized medical marijuana in 2020, and CBD products are legal under certain conditions in South Africa.
Within the U.S., you can fly with CBD products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC. However, TSA rules very much apply, in that any liquids (oils, tinctures, creams) must be less than 3 ounces. You can bring a CBD vape pen through airport security in your carry-on, but not in your checked baggage.
The best rule of thumb when traveling with CBD is to research whether your destination (and any countries or states you are traveling through to get to your destination) allow CBD. You should also make sure to thoroughly understand the products in your possession, and whether they contain any THC or are purely CBD.
CBD Products for Travelers
Here comes the fun part — what are the best CBD products for travelers? From gummies made in Maui that taste as good as the peach rings of your youth to sleepy time CBD pills to topical CBD cream to soothe your spasms, these are the best introductory CBD products for travelers.
Verma Farms Peachy Pau Hana Gummies
Verma Farms makes some of the best-tasting CBD gummies on the market. Verma Farms’ gummies vary in terms of size and dosage. Their peach rings are each 25 milligrams, which is a fairly hearty dose (making it a great bedtime gummy). If you’re looking for a smaller dose to unwind, just eat half a peach ring, or try their CBD gummy bears, which are 12.5 milligrams.
To buy: $60, vermafarms.com
Highline Wellness CBD Gummies
Highline Wellness’ 10-milligram CBD gummy bears are a Travel+Leisure editor favorite. Anxious travelers will love the sense of calm that comes with popping one of these into your mouth as your flight takes off. They’re all-natural and made from hemp — and they taste great. You can also buy the 20-milligram version of these gummies.
Fab PM Chews
CBD gummy enthusiasts love the flavor of Fab chews — and their PM gummies are perfect for the jet-lagged traveler who needs to get some sleep, or fliers trying to sleep on a red-eye. These gummies contain melatonin.
To buy: From $89, fabcbd.com
Lord Jones CBD Tincture
Lord Jones is a well-regarded, hemp-based CBD brand. Their vegan, sugar-free, alcohol-free tinctures come in two flavors: lemon and peppermint. Both flavors are calming, and you can place a dropper full (10 milligrams) on your tongue for optimal relaxation.
To buy: $55, lordjones.com
My Soul CBD Capsule Travel Packs
My Soul CBD sells travel packs specifically for those on the go. The travel packs make it easy to slip a few capsules in your toiletry case without having to bring the whole bottle. Their Alert CBD capsules perhaps aren’t what you’d first think of as a travel remedy. But these capsules are all about clearing your mind and keeping you calm and focused, which might be exactly what you need if you’re trying to work on the plane or tackle a day of sightseeing after a red-eye.
To buy: $30, mysoulcbd.com
Laura’s Homestead Alternatives Topical CBD Lotion
If you’re someone who — no matter how many travel pillows or compression socks you try — has a kink in your neck after traveling, or pain in your back from a hotel bed, topical CBD lotion is worth trying. This all-natural CBD cream meant to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation is, of course, travel-sized to be TSA compliant.
Beam CBD Recovery Capsule
Another remedy for travel-fatigued muscles is Beam’s CBD Recovery Capsule. While marketed as a workout recovery CBD product, the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients are perfect for a traveler recovering from a longhaul flight.