Since hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) was made legal with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, many patients have been asking us if it’s okay to take their medicinal CBD products with them when they travel.
As with most questions dealing with the possession and use of medical cannabis, there is no definitive answer. However, we can make things a bit clearer to give you some peace of mind before you head out for your next trip.
Yes, TSA has updated its policy about medical marijuana because of the new law.
The Transportation Security Administration now allows air travelers to pack hemp-derived CBD products in their carry-on and checked luggage, provided those products contain no more than no more than 0.3 percent THC or have been approved by the FDA.*
This is great news for medical marijuana patients hoping to bring their CBD oil or gummies with them the next time they fly. However, there are a few important things to remember before you head to the airport:
- If you pack your CBD oil in your carry-on bag, it still has to abide by the TSA Liquids Rule and must be within the 3.4 fluid ounces limit.
- If your CBD oil or gummies also contain THC at a level higher than 0.3 percent, you’ll need to leave your medicine at home or risk confiscation or possible criminal charges.
- As clearly stated on their website, the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether or not an item is allowed through the checkpoint.
*So far, the list of FDA-approved cannabis-derived medications is limited to Epidiolex, a drug prescribed mainly for children with rare seizure disorders.
Why is only hemp-derived CBD legal?
This is another question a lot of our patients ask us, and the major distinction has to do with how the two plants have been cultivated over time—one for industry (hemp) and one for therapeutic purposes (marijuana).
While both hemp and marijuana fall under the broader biological classification of cannabis (a genus of flowering plants from the family Cannabaceae), hemp is grown primarily to produce fiber for use in food and personal care products, while marijuana is bred specifically for its high THC content and alleviative properties.
As a result, hemp plants typically contain very low levels of THC and higher levels of CBD.
What precautions can I take to avoid problems the next time I fly?
As long as you’re smart about traveling with your CBD products and remember to take the following precautions, it should be smooth flying.
- Make sure you have your valid medical marijuana patient card with you whenever you travel.
- Keep your CBD oil or gummies in their original packaging. If you are unsure about exactly what’s in your CBD product, you can always ask your dispensary agent beforehand for a cannabinoid profile. Because TSA does not conduct on-site testing of cannabis products, they will likely call in local law enforcement officers if they are unsure if a CBD product contains THC, and this can cause delays or even a cancellation of your trip.
- Always be respectful of TSA agents and law enforcement officers. As TSA states on its website, their screening procedures are focused primarily on ensuring security and detecting potential threats to aviation crews and passengers. While TSA agents typically do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, if a substance is discovered during a security screening, they will need to follow procedure and alert the proper authorities.
- Use common sense and be discreet. Remember, the rules and regulations surrounding medical marijuana use are changing constantly, so what may be acceptable one day could change the next day. If you are smart and discreet about carrying your CBD with you when you travel, you should be able to avoid any problems.
Looking for travel-ready CBD products? Head to Desert Rose Dispensary.
If an air travel trip is in your future, stop by Desert Rose at the corner of 7th Avenue and Happy Valley Road in Phoenix. Even though your THC products need to stay at home, we have a wide selection of TSA-acceptable CBD oils and other products to help with pain, inflammation, anxiety, and other symptoms while you travel.
If you make it to the dispensary between 8:00AM and 10:00AM or 8:00PM to 10:00PM any day of the week, you can take advantage of our sweet tax-free deal. And don’t forget to ask about our latest dispensary deals while you’re here!