After the nationwide legalization of hemp-derived CBD, products infused with the oil skyrocketed in popularity, being sold in pharmacies (including CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid, but only in select states), herb stores and even specialty stores like GNC and Ulta Beauty. Most products in stores are being sold as topicals, meaning they are lotions infused with CBD oil for the purpose of reliving pain; Ulta Beauty sells "skin nourishing oil" that is supposed to help with dry skin.
But with strict no-drug policies across all cruise lines, is CBD banned or an exception? Here is everything you need to know about how and when you can travel with CBD oil.
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is an oil derived from cannabis that has become increasingly popular as a home remedy for anxiety, pain, sleep disorders and more, since the U.S. legalized its use in 2018. Now, avid cruisers who are fans of CBD are wondering if they can bring the oil onboard to help smooth out their time at sea.
CBD oil can be sold as is, or it can be purchased in the form of lotion, gummies, capsules and more. It's made from marijuana or hemp (two varieties of cannabis). Hemp-derived CBD was legalized by the U.S. in 2018 because hemp is less than 0.3 percent THC, which is the psychoactive compound that gives users a "high" feeling. Marijuana has a THC content of 20 percent or higher, and therefore it and its products are still banned federally.
If you're flying to your cruise, any CBD oil product that is approved by the FDA (which is only one prescription medication, as of this writing) or has less than 0.3 percent THC is allowed by the TSA as of May 2019.
For example, in Tennessee, you need a medical exemption to possess CBD oil, but you do not need an exemption in Arkansas. If you purchase CBD oil in Arkansas and then travel with it to Tennessee without the necessary medical exemption, you could get arrested. Further, states like Kansas only allow CBD products with zero percent THC, so products that are lawful in other states could be prohibited in Kansas.
There is no doubt that cannabis laws in the United States are confusing. Many people do not know which products are legal and which products can send them to jail. While you might know that recreational marijuana is unlawful in Tennessee, do you know whether you can legally purchase CBD oil? Once you purchase it, can you travel with it? Many people use CBD oil for pain relief and other medicinal purposes, so they want to bring it with them when they travel. Is it illegal to travel with your oil, or could you end up in trouble with the law?
Flying with CBD Oil
The federal Farm Bill of 2018 legalized hemp products with less than 0.3 percent THC, which is the psychoactive component of marijuana, throughout the United States. Any CBD products with more than 0.3 percent THC are still strictly illegal at the federal level and in many states. In addition, each state has its own laws regarding the legality of CBD oil and related hemp products. Legal CBD possession in one state may not be lawful in a neighboring state.
Many people use CBD to relieve stress or anxiety, which is common when flying. So, can you take your CBD products on the plane with you? Previously, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) banned all cannabis-derived products from checked bags and carry-ons, and TSA did not differentiate between marijuana and hemp products. In 2019, however, TSA changed its policy and now allows hemp-based CBD oils with less than 0.3 percent THC to travel with passengers or in checked bags. You can still be reported to law enforcement if TSA finds products with more than 0.3 percent THC.
Most cruise lines prohibit any type of CBD products, even if you have a medical exemption. This is true even if the state from which the cruise departs allows CBD oil possession. If you want to bring CBD oil on a ship, you should always check with the company regarding their policy.