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Some people have a phobia of flying, and unfortunately – when it comes to traveling long distances – there is no better means of transportation than an airplane. Passengers may experience intense anxiety and need to take certain measures to calm their minds and relax their nerves: it could be a glass of wine, listening to music, watching an in-flight movie, or chewing on some CBD gummies.  But is it legal to fly with CBD? This is a rather complicated question to answer. Could you fly with hemp-derived CBD, and is it safe? What kind of CBD is safe to bring on a flight?

Before discussing the legality of CBD on airplanes, it is important to understand what CBD is.

What Is CBD?

CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol and is one of the several cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant has two major varieties: hemp and marijuana. For quite a while, people were almost exclusively familiar with marijuana, but in recent years, the many applications of hemp has become a huge topic of research and study. CBD is mostly derived from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the substance that makes one feel high whenever marijuana is ingested. Marijuana contains a high content of THC, while hemp does not. Therefore, hemp is non-psychoactive and does not give the experience of being ‘high,’ which is why it is such a highly sought after and popular substance in the world today.

The CBD industry is growing steadily and is not showing any signs of slowing down. Companies produce CBD products like bath bombs, creams, balms, and pain relievers, which are intended to give a soothing and non-intoxicating relaxing effect.

So what is the protocol when it comes to traveling with products that contain CBD? 

CBD and Air Travel

Under federal law, the Transport Security Administration (TSA) recently updated its policies about traveling with medical marijuana. This policy states that it is completely legal to travel with CBD derived from hemp as well as anything approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that individuals can be allowed to fly with FDA-approved medications with CBD content.

In December of 2018, the signing of the US Farm Bill removed CBD from the list of ‘scheduled drugs’ and labeled it instead as an ‘agricultural product.’ The signing, however, stated that CBD should be taken as a supplement and not as a medication. Some products that contain CBD can be found in cafés, restaurants, and health food stores: you can find CBD in drinks, coffee, gums, burgers, tinctures, and many other edible substances. They are all legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC.

 While it is true that under federal law CBD has been made legal, federal laws are different from state laws: each state has its own laws, rules, and regulations that each person living in that state must abide by. For that reason, it is wise to familiarize yourself with the laws of the states you will be traveling through, especially their stance concerning CBD. In a state where CBD is still illegal under the state law, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) may refer cases related to traveling with CBD to state officers.

If you are ever traveling with an FDA approved drug containing CBD – such as the anti-seizure medication Epidiolex – always stick to your prescription. Otherwise, it is probably best to leave your CBD products at home. If you choose to travel with them, there may be unnecessary delays due to searches from the TSA.

How CBD Helps To Ease Tension During Flight

The human body contains an Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which controls and regulates certain functions in the body. These functions include sleep, pain, appetite, memory, energy balance, and mood. CBD works with the ECS by interacting with brain receptors to regulate fear and anxiety, the effects of which result in a more relaxed mind and the calming of nerves. 

Rules Of Flying With CBD

There are certain rules guiding flight travel with CBD products. If one adheres to these rules, you should not have any problems traveling with CBD.

  1. Remember the TSA’s main priorities: One of the main priorities of the Travel Security Administration is to ensure that no passenger is a threat to others: they need to ensure the safety of all passengers on board. As long as you don’t present harm to the rest of the passengers, you shouldn’t have any issues with TSA. 

  2. Leave your products in the original packaging: Before flying with CBD, it is important that you leave your products in the original packaging they came in. The packaging or label will show that it is a hemp-derived CBD product with non-psychoactive properties. This will allow TSA agents to see and understand that you are not trying to smuggle anything. Also, hemp smells like marijuana, and the TSA may not take the time to try and differentiate between the two. To save yourself stress and time, leave your CBD products in the packaging they came in.

  3. Follow TSA guidelines as strictly as possible: The Travel Security Administration has certain guidelines for travelers regarding packing and organizing luggage. Simply research these guidelines and follow them strictly.

  4. Carry your CBD products in your carry-on luggage: It is important to remember the reason why you’re bringing CBD on your flight in the first place: to reduce the feelings of anxiety, fear, and nervousness you experience while flying. In order to take your CBD once seated on the plane, it will need to be stored in an easily accessible location – not stuck in your checked bag.

  5. Bring documentation: If you’re carrying any medical drug containing CBD, it is important that you carry all necessary documentation – such as a doctor’s note – stating that the product you are carrying is strictly for medicinal purposes.

  6. Common courtesy pays off: Wearing a smile and being courteous to TSA agents goes a long way when flying with CBD. Any tense or suspicious behavior may make them begin to see you as a suspect, and if that happens, you will be subject to thorough and intense searching. Be polite, and you will have a much less stressful security experience.

Finally, any international travel with a cannabis-related product – whether it be hemp or marijuana – is very risky due to the strict laws in certain countries. It is advised that in these instances, you look for other ways to relax on the plane that do not involve the use of any CBD related products. Breathing techniques can be beneficial in this regard.

Safe travels!

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