As the COVID cloud lifts around the world, I find myself compulsively surfing discount travel sites (between Zoom calls) in search of vacation deals. But can I take my CBD Wellness Products with me when I travel? Like millions of other Americans, I use CBD products as part of my daily self-care regimen. I love the quick relief I get, and I’d hate to leave that behind, especially with the added stress of navigating safety protocols in airports, taxi cabs, and vacation rentals. But with irresistible airfares spurring me to start packing, I decided to reach out to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other sources for the scoop on CBD restrictions. To say there is some confusion out there about the legality of CBD products would be a gross understatement. Let’s just say, not all states are on the same page. However, a little self-education goes a long way here, and I discovered that it’s helpful to start with some basic definitions.
What exactly is CBD oil?
Most CBD is sold as CBD oil. CBD, when extracted from hemp flowers, is sticky in texture. So mixing CBD with a carrier oil such as hemp seed or coconut oil, makes it easier for the body to absorb. One of the most common forms of CBD oil products are oral drops, meant to be ingested by the user for relief from various stress issues and other ailments. My go-to Everyday Relief Oil Drops by Zuna Brands contains lavender flower, marjoram leaf, and key lime peel essential oils, in addition to avocado oil as a carrier. It also comes with a Certificate of Analysis ensuring that the amount of THC is at or below the 0.3 percent threshold. This “red line” was established by the 2018 Farm Bill as the legal limit in the United States for all derivatives of hemp. But here’s where you really have to start paying attention.
Is CBD oil legal?
While many use “cannabis,” “hemp,” and “marijuana” interchangeably, they are actually very different. In my research I learned that cannabis is the classification of a plant that can be broken down into three main types: indica, sativa, and ruderalis, with indica and sativa being the most well-known.  In a 2019 article published by PBS New Hour, authors Nsikan Akpan and Jamie Leventhal explain that “marijuana” is any cannabis plant with abundant amounts—technically, more than 0.3 percent—of the mind-altering drug THC. They go on to explain that “hemp,” by contrast, cannot legally contain more than 0.3 percent THC. They also point to a noteworthy contradiction in weed law: marijuana can also produce CBD. If your purified CBD comes from hemp plants, it is federally legal, but if it comes from a marijuana plant, it is illegal. Clear as mud?
Traveling with CBD oil domestically
CBD oils, like the type derived from marijuana, are still illegal in 26 states, so it’s not recommended to take those types across state borders. The type of CBD oil that’s derived from hemp oil is what’s legal at a federal level and therefore allowed to be taken across all state borders and, yes, on flights. That said, officials arrested a 71-year-old woman at the Dallas/Fort-Worth International Airport in 2019 after finding CBD oil in a carry-on. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, she spent two nights in jail. SmarterTravel writer Ashley Rossi suggests, as an extra cautionary step, you double-check the CBD oil possession laws of both the state you’re traveling to and the state you’re traveling from. Print out a product’s lab report and have it available if needed to verify the cannabinoid content to any inquiring authorities.
Traveling with CBD oil outside the U.S.
TSA guidelines as of March 2021 specifically state that consumers can travel with CBD products as long as they contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis, or that are approved by the FDA. However, professionals strongly advise to err on the side of caution and leave products with any cannabinoids (including hemp-derived oils) at home, especially because some countries have much stricter drug laws.
Play it safe. Follow and comply with normal TSA 3-1-1 rules when you’re traveling with CBD oil for all edibles, gels, lotions, oils, and other liquids. You don’t need to declare them separately, but you shouldn’t hide them either, according to Rossi. While TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security, you’re still subject to search, which could lead to delays at the airport.
If navigating the rules and regulations on CBD is killing your vacation buzz, you might consider leaving your products at home. Or check out whether there’s a neighborhood dispensary where you’re headed and buy your products there. Some sellers can help you find a local supplier when you share your postal code or the code at your travel destination. That’s one way to ensure that the quality and integrity of the products you use on vacation are the same as what you’ve come to love and rely on at home.
Elizabeth Roper is an education consultant and lifelong learner. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Chico, California.
TRY ZUNA BRANDS CBD Products and Take 15% Off Your First Order!
Just use Promo Code-ZUNA15 at checkout
 Josh Laskin, “What you need to know about flying with CBD right now,” The Points Guy. May 29, 2019, https://thepointsguy.com/news/traveling-with-cbd-products/
 Nsikan Akpan and Jamie Leventhal, “Is CBD legal? Here’s what you need to know, according to science,” PBS News Hour, July 12, 2019, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/is-cbd-legal-heres-what-you-need-to-know-according-to-science
 Mitch Mitchell, Still illegal: Texas law on CBD oil lands grandmother in jail after DFW airport search,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 22, 2019, https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/article230704704.html
 Ashley Rossi, “Can you travel with CBD oil? What’s the best kind? SmarterTravel, February 3, 2020, https://www.smartertravel.com/traveling-with-cbd-oil/