If living in a legalized state like Colorado, it’s easy to forget that much of the world is less accepting of cannabis, something that we can so easily purchase just down the block.  With individual states taking their unique legal stances toward marijuana, you may be confused by the variance in acceptance.  However, most of the country has no issue with hemp-derived CBD products, but there are a few states to be extra mindful towards; and international laws are even more diverse.  When traveling with CBD, follow these guidelines for a hassle-free trip in and out of the United States.  

Know The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana

Cannabis leaves against the blue sky, bottom view.  It's important to know the difference between hemp and marijuana when traveling with CBD both in and out of the United States.

First, because some states only allow CBD products derived from hemp, it’s important to know the difference between hemp and marijuana, as CBD can be sourced from both.  Now, when it comes to scientific taxonomy, there’s actually no difference in classification between these cannabis plants.  However, the law makes this distinction very clear: hemp contains no more than 0.3% THC and will not cause consumers to experience a “high.”  Whereas marijuana tests above 0.3% THC and is associated with psychoactive effects and a greater amount of recreational use.  

The CBD products you buy at the grocery store or any other retailer should be derived from hemp.  However, because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the CBD market, you as the consumer must do your due diligence to purchase from reputable sources.  Trustworthy companies third-party lab test their products not only to prove legal THC content, but also to ensure CBD potency, homogeneity, and even to verify that harmful pesticides and heavy metals are not present in your supplement.  

CBD Laws in the United States 

United States federal laws towards cannabis became more clear with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which made the manufacture, sale and use of hemp-derived CBD products completely legal.  In nearly all of the country, you can travel with your full spectrum CBD supplements, so long as they truly contain no more than 0.3% THC.  However, there are a couple states whose existing legislation contradicts the relatively-new federal guidelines.  Be aware of these two grey areas: 

  • Idaho: Due to inconsistencies between federal and state laws, Idaho residents and those traveling within Idaho’s borders should only carry hemp-derived CBD products that contain 0% THC.  This means CBD isolate and broad spectrum formulas are acceptable, provided the company you purchase from has lab tests results to prove that THC is not present.  We advise carrying these documents when traveling out of an abundance of caution.  
  • South Dakota: Again, due to discrepancies between federal and state legislature, it’s unclear whether CBD products are acceptable within South Dakota.  According to their Senate Bill 96, CBD is a Schedule IV drug and cannot be commercialized unless approved by the FDA.  Because state prosecutors have opposing regulations, we suggest that South Dakota residents and those visiting refrain from having CBD products in their possession.  

Pro tip: if you are traveling anywhere by plane, train or automobile, do not pack CBD flower or pre-rolls.  Having an identical appearance to marijuana, it’s not worth the trouble it could cause, and there are plenty of other ways to travel with CBD without looking suspicious.  

International Travel with CBD

If traveling to Europe, it’s important to know that EU law allows hemp-derived CBD products which test under 0.2% THC.  Therefore, it’s advised that you only travel with lab tested CBD isolate and broad spectrum formulas.  However, like the United States, there are a few countries outside of this standard.  For example: 

  • Czech Republic: This country’s laws are like the United States — you may carry products including up to 0.3% THC.  
  • Austria: Similarly, 0.3% THC is the legal limit; however, you may only possess CBD extracts and flower, not food supplements.  But again, don’t fly with flower; only purchase it within the country if you so choose.  
  • Finland: Because Finland views CBD as medicine, it requires a prescription.  If you try to fly into this country with CBD products, they will likely be confiscated by customs.  

If visiting Mexico, you may travel across the border with your full spectrum CBD products; but if heading north to Canada, know that you cannot enter the country with any hemp supplements.  However, you can purchase CBD products from a licensed retailer once you’ve been admitted into the country; but then you cannot take them home.  

A man pulling a trupura CBD Toffee chocolate bar out of his back pocket.

Note that several South American countries allow CBD to some capacity; and that in most Asian countries, cannabis products remain illegal, even those derived from hemp.  Japan is an exception to this standard, allowing CBD products that contain 0% THC; and as of 2019, hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in Thailand so long as it contains no more than 0.01% THC.  

Final Tips on Traveling with CBD Oil and Other Products

Avoid missing your flight or worse by staying up to date on legal statuses and packing your CBD products wisely.  Skip on the flower and pre-rolls; don’t bring more than necessary; and pack your CBD the way you would any other supplement or medication.  As long as you’re confident in the laws and trust the brand you’ve purchased from, you have nothing to hide.  

Before flying with CBD into any foreign country, do your research and if legality of CBD falls in a grey area, we advise erring to the side of caution.  If CBD is an essential medication, consider contacting the U.S. embassy in the country of destination.  

And as always, buy from a respected, dependable company so that if airport security or a law enforcement officer were to ask, you have the paperwork to prove the legality of your hemp product.  If the brand you purchased from does not have certificates of analysis on their website, contact them directly so that you’re prepared for all situations.  And if they don’t have paperwork?  Start shopping from a company that has your safety and best interest in mind.  

We’d love to hear about your experiences traveling with CBD and what you’ve learned to avoid any mishaps.  Share your thoughts in the comments below, and tag @trupuracbd in your vacation photos!  Be safe, and travel smart.  

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