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How to fly with CBD, where you can travel with CBD, and what the best CBD products for travelers are. TSA allows some CBD products on flights Transportation Security Administration officers work at a checkpoint at O’Hare airport in Chicago. Sometime around Memorial Day, the TSA changed its

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.

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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.

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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.

TSA allows some CBD products on flights

Transportation Security Administration officers work at a checkpoint at O’Hare airport in Chicago.

Sometime around Memorial Day, the TSA changed its stance on carrying onboard a plane a medication that treats childhood epilepsy and on CBD oil, which WebMD calls “the hot new product in states that have legalized medical marijuana.” CBD oil is said to relieve pain.

It also does not get you high, according to Harvard Medical School’s Healthbeat newsletter.

Under TSA’s “What Can I Bring” program that lets passengers ask about items that may or may not be allowed on planes, its previous advice on medical marijuana, including CBD oil, was no and no for carry-on bags and checked bags.

But if you look at the page today, it says medical marijuana can be transported in carry-on bags and checked bags, with the proviso of “special instructions.”

“Products/medications that contain hemp- derived CBD or are approved by the FDA are legal as long as it is produced within the regulations defined by the law under the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018.”

Quickly, travelers, does your CBD oil conform with that law? And, more to the point, how will TSA officers be able to recognize what does or does not adhere to the new law?

Answer to the first question: The CBD oil you have today probably does not conform to that law.

Answer to the second question: TSA officers probably couldn’t differentiate, but the point may be moot, one policy expert said.

When TSA was asked about these questions, it was still consulting its attorneys for answers.

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What we can say for sure: It’s messy.

As Hawaii residents know, marijuana, for medical use, is legal in this state and several others.

Although you may be free to use cannabis products in your home state, the use and possession of such products is illegal under federal law.

But TSA’s own page is a kind of a wink and a nod to carrying such products: “TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers,” it says. “Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”

The strictest interpretation of the law, until recently, has been no, you can’t have it in your carry-on or checked bag. But the change in policy seems to walk that back, “seems” being the operative word.

Here is what we know for sure: Epidiolex, a drug used for treating epilepsy in children, is permitted in carry-on and checked luggage. The Food and Drug Administration approved it in June 2018. “This is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana,” its announcement said.

Then TSA had to act. “TSA was made aware of an FDA-approved drug that contains CBD oil for children who experience seizures from pediatric epilepsy,” the TSA said in a recent statement. “To avoid confusion as to whether families can travel with this drug, TSA immediately updated TSA.gov once we became aware of the issue.”

For clarity on the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018, I turned to John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a public policy organization, and author of “Marijuana: A Short History.”

In a Dec. 14 piece on Brookings’ website, he explained more about the farm bill:

Here’s the first roadblock to CBD, which generally derives from hemp: “Hemp cannot contain more than 0.3% THC, per section 10113 of the farm bill,” Hudak’s post said. “Any cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3% THC would be considered non-hemp cannabis — or marijuana — under federal law and would thus face no legal protection under this new legislation.”

THC is what creates the high, but how can an officer know how much THC is in any substance? He or she cannot, in all likelihood.

But that may not matter, Hudak said, because of Part 2 of this conundrum: States’ plans for the production of hemp must be approved at the federal level. Thus there is no CBD at the moment that meets the requirements of the law.

How this ultimately may be solved, from an enforcement perspective, may include packaging that indicates legality, Hudak said.

But until then, be aware that you walk a fine line in the regulation/enforcement of CBD through TSA. Proceed with caution.

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