Traveling with CBD oil: Important things every senior should know


You may be considering flying with CBD oil. After all, it may be a supplement that you have been taking for pain, anxiety, skin issues, sleep, or a more severe ailment that you have a prescription for.

Because some CBD oil and full spectrum CBD oil contain THC, one has to be careful when traveling. 

CBD oil is legal in the U.S. under the Agricultural and Improvement Act of 2018 or farm bill. Under this law, the THC content of the CBD oil has to contain under 0.3% THC. 

Also, the CDB oil has to be derived from the hemp, and not the marijuana plant. However, CBD oil is still illegal on a federal level.

Keeping this law in mind, traveling internationally with CBD oil is illegal, and some states here in the U.S. have a low tolerance for such products. The good news is that the TSA now allows passengers to travel with some forms of CBD oil. 

THC and CBD both come from the hemp or cannabis plant. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive part of the marijuana plant. This is because chemically speaking, THC, a compound in cannabidiol, is received by CB1 receptors, which mostly reside in mammalian brains. And so, THC alters perceptions, causing a euphoric or ‘high’ feeling.

CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is received by CB2 receptors, which mostly reside in our peripheral systems. CBD primarily affects inflammation and immunity issues. This is why it can help with anxiety, acne, pain, and insomnia.

How are you getting to your destination? By plane, train, car? If you plan on traveling with CBD oil, you will have to plan according to what mode of transportation that you are taking. The TSA’s rules don’t necessarily apply to take Amtrak, or when traveling interstate by car.

According to Healthcare Weekly, it is essential to be aware of what type of CBD product is on hand, and what you are using it for. Apart from oil extractions and tinctures, CBD oil is also used as an ingredient in cosmetics, skincare products, and edibles.

So, your skincare regime that you need for supple skin, especially while traveling, or that CBD oil pill that may help you get some well-deserved rest on a long plane or train ride, may not be as accepted by law enforcement as the CBD oil that you need for pain. 

Domestic airline travel

When 71-year old Lena Bartula was arrested in May for carrying CBD oil through the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, she was embarrassed and shocked. “I think I almost laughed out loud, because I thought that couldn’t be,” Bartula said in an interview with a local NBC television station. Bartula, an accomplished artist, and grandmother had a nightmarish experience while on a layover flight, passing through Texas on her way to visit her granddaughter in Oregon.

The TSA allows some CBD oil products on domestic flights, in line with the 2018 farm bill. According to the TSA website, “Marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law, except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA.” Also, the TSA says that officers are mandated to report suspected violations of the law at their discretion.

An example of a prescription CBD drug approved by the FDA is Epidiolex, which is used to control epilepsy and seizures. According to Healthcare Weekly, Epidiolex, a prescription drug from the British firm G.W. Pharmaceuticals is used to treat seizures associated with two severe and rare childhood epilepsy forms: Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes

Notwithstanding, the fact that the law remains at the discretion of the TSA officer means that it is really up to an officer to decide if what you are carrying is legal. Even if it is, the hassle of being wrongfully jailed is undoubtedly a trip downer.

When traveling by air with CBD oil, first ensure that the CBD is hemp-derived and contains under 0.3% THC. The best way to do this is to look on the label to see if the THC content is listed. Even if this content is listed, you may want to get a certificate of analysis for your CBD product, especially if you are using it as a treatment for a severe issue such as pain management.

Many states have stores that sell CBD products, and it is even sold in some airports. 

Road and rail travel

As with traveling by air, it is super important to research each state’s sentiment on CBD oil products. Even though it is legal to use CBD oil within the United States, it is also at the discretion of each state. 

Because CBD oil use varies from state to state, many bus and rail companies don’t allow CBD on their vehicles. This includes Amtrak and Greyhound.

“In states like Texas or Florida, who enforce the federal laws prohibiting marijuana, those with CBD oil in their possession do face the potential for legal intervention should the THC level be higher, or even suspected to be higher,” according to an article in Cool Things Chicago.

Cruises, resorts, and national parks

Hester Burkhalter, 69, was arrested and spent eight hours in jail after police found out that she was carrying CBD oil upon entering Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. “I have terrible arthritis in my legs and my arms and my shoulder, and I use it for the pain because it helps,” she told a local FOX television station.

Although Burkhalter had a prescription from her doctor, the fact that her CBD oil tested positive for THC did not stop officials from detaining her. Disney, Carnival Cruises and other large-chain resorts typically do not allow CBD oil on their premises, as it is considered to be a marijuana derivative.

There may be other resorts that do use CBD oil for therapeutic purposes, such as in facials and massages. Your best bet is to call and research if these services are offered.

National parks are not part under the jurisdiction of a state or town, but of the U.S. at large. Even if CBD oil is legal in a state, once you enter a national park, that state’s laws don’t apply. This is because CBD is illegal on a federal level. Make sure you check to see if a significant park is a national park and keep the CBD oil away from such areas.

International Travel

A Canadian woman is facing being permanently banned from the U.S. after border control found CBD oil in her backpack. This incident happened in August, despite the 2018 farm bill that legalized CBD oil with 0.3% THC or lower. It did not matter to border protection agents that she was using it for pain related to her scoliosis. Many Canadians have been refused entry to the United States for carrying CBD oil. Some have even been denied entry because they admitted to smoking a single joint in their lifetime.

International visitors will be banned from entry into the .U.S. if CBD oil or any cannabis-related product is found on their person. This is because of CBD, although legal within the U.S. is still banned under federal law. The U.S. border is governed by federal law. Therefore, CBD oil can not come into the country, even if it is hemp-derived.

When traveling outside of the U.S., it is not advisable to carry CBD oil. Many countries consider CBD oil a controlled substance, thereby making it illegal to bring it in. Even if it is legal in that country, TSA agents will still not allow it to leave the border.

Furthermore, some international flights land in other countries for layovers, and although your destination may let CBD oil, another flight during your layover may not.


According to CBD Kyro, a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection said, “CBD is a controlled substance under U.S. federal law. Travelers found in possession of controlled substances at .U.S. ports of entry can face arrest, seizures, fines, penalties, or denied entry.”

However, John Miller, an attorney who has represented people arrested for CBD oil possession, disagrees. “Federal law is very clear. And when a customs official pulls someone over for this, he or she is acting in the wrong,” he told CBD Kryo.

Here are some tips to consider when thinking about traveling with CBD oil:

  • Don’t carry CBD oil across international borders, as it is still illegal federally.
  • Research which states have tough CBD oil laws… You may want to reconsider taking the supplement to these places.
  • Having a prescription may not necessarily put you off the hook, check the laws of the jurisdiction you are visiting.
  • TSA and other officers may not accept cosmetics and skincare products with CBD oil if they feel it contains a high amount of THC.
  • If in doubt, take your CBD oil before leaving, and check where it is sold at your destination.