Can you take CBD oil on a plane?

by Chloe Palmer

Since CBD and THC belong to the same family (the cannabis plant), many people may not immediately know the difference. As such it's completely reasonable to ask whether restrictions on carrying illegal substances, like cannabis, apply to CBD oil when travelling through airport security - especially if you're planning your next holiday. Even though CBD is legal in the UK, there remains uncertainty around whether individuals are allowed to travel with it. This article will answer all your questions and explain the rules around flying with CBD oil in your luggage.

What is CBD oil?

CBD (cannabidiol) is the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants, such as hemp. It is extracted as an oil through a supercritical CO2 extraction process and then developed into sprays, drops and capsules. CBD is a sister chemical to THC, but the key difference is that it doesn't give users a psychoactive high - it's perfectly legal to buy and consume.

CBD has many purported 'health benefits' — through interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), it may help improve sleep and ease anxiety, as well as potentially having positive effects on concentration and energy levels. This occurs due to its interaction with the mood-regulating endocannabinoid system (ECS). Meanwhile THC binds with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain that are responsible for causing the high effect, something that CBD doesn’t do. 

Is it legal to take CBD oil on a plane in the UK?

Not only is CBD widely available across the UK, but you can take it on your next trip on a plane. Although cannabis is a class B controlled substance under the Drugs and Misuse Act of 1971 due to its high THC content, because CBD’s is close to zero, possessing it doesn’t break any laws.

Nonetheless, because of the confusion around CBD and THC, we always recommend telling your flight provider and customs officials in advance to make sure they are aware of your luggage contents. A sensible option is to carry your prescription with you if you have one. However, these are less commonly issued in the UK because CBD oils tend to be sold under the category of nutritional supplements, as opposed to medical products, so you don’t need a prescription to purchase them — which is good news.

On that note, the same rules around hand language and checked baggage apply. If you want to have access to your CBD oil during the flight, remember that it is a liquid. The UK rules state that containers of liquid should not exceed 100ml. While most bottles of CBD oil are only 15ml, you must ensure that it’s visible in a clear plastic bag to avoid delays at the airport. It is essential that you also check the customs regulations of your destination, because CBD is not legal in some countries, including China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

Can I travel to the UK with CBD oil?

If purchased legally in another country, you can bring CBD oil back into the UK, as long as it adheres to customs regulations and laws, and has less than 0.2% THC. When arriving in the UK from another country, you are entitled to a personal allowance of goods to bring back — either as gifts or for yourself — that people usually use for products like alcohol and tobacco. The same rules apply to leaving.

Though returning here with CBD oil does not present any obvious problems, a number of international destinations will have differing laws that you need to check, and double check (and probably check again!) before travelling

Can I take CBD oil abroad?

As touched upon, the problem is not with carrying CBD oil onto your departure flight out of the UK, but the legal requirements of entering another country with it.

While knowledge and understanding of CBD is constantly improving, many countries remain wary and reluctant to allow travellers to bring CBD in due to its family relations to cannabis. Despite its legality in the UK, it would be silly to assume everywhere else in the world has the same regulations.

That said, you shouldn’t face any issues if you are travelling from the UK to another country where CBD oil is legal. Though, it is still best practice to double check with your airline provider and customs officials of your chosen destination to avoid any unnecessary hassle, delays or inconveniences — the last thing you want when you’ve been excited for your holiday for months.

We have compiled a list of nations with the relevant legal information below, bearing in mind that it’s always worth a conversation with authorities from each individual country. All designations of legal status in the chart refer to when CBD oil has 0.2% THC, unless otherwise stated.

Country

Legal Status of CBD

Australia

Austria

Argentia

Belgium

Bolivia

Brazil

Bulgaria

Canada

Chile

China

Colombia

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Ecuador

Egypt

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

India

Ireland

Italy

Japan

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Netherlands

New Zealand

Norway

Paraguay

Peru

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Russia

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Thailand

Ukraine

United States

Uruguay

Venezuela

Legal (with prescription)

Legal (THC limit 0.3%; cannot be sold as food supplement)

Legal (with prescription)

Illegal

Illegal

Legal (with prescription)

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal (THC limit 0.3%)

Legal (with prescription)

Illegal

Illegal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Legal

Legal (THC limit 0.6%)

Legal (but must not contain THC)

Legal

Legal (THC limit 0.3%)

Legal

Legal (THC limit 0.3%)

Legal (with prescription)

Legal

Legal (with prescription)

Legal (with prescription)

Legal (with prescription)

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal (but must not contain THC)

Legal (THC limit 1%)

Legal

Legal (but must not contain THC)

Illegal (legal in some states)

Legal

Illegal

 

It's vital to take into account any countries where you may stop over during your journey. Even if you’re only within their borders for a matter of minutes between flights, you are still liable for your baggage contents. Put simply, if CBD oil is illegal in your transit country and it’s found in your luggage, you could face consequences from the local authorities. Given that, for instance, in China CBD is treated no differently than marijuana, you could face 10-15 days of jail time for bringing it into the country, and a maximum fine of 2,000 yuan (£235).

Liquid laws

While you must adhere to the 100ml rule for carrying liquids aboard a plane, there is some uncertainty around this for CBD as it is also true that medical products are exempt from this rule. As such, if you have a CBD prescription, you are permitted to ignore this limit. If you don’t, it's best to stick to the 100ml limit in any case to prevent issues at the airport.

Summary

Now we've cleared up the laws around taking CBD oil with you on your travels, you should hopefully feel more confident when booking your next trip. Again, always check with the relevant authorities beforehand. No holidaymaker needs additional stress or items confiscated at the airport.

We also can’t emphasise this enough — check the local laws and restrictions for your destination, as well as any stopover countries you might travel through, to avoid trouble (at the very least). 

Bon voyage!

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