If you travel with CBD oil for chronic pain or other medical conditions, you can relax: The Transportation Security Authority now allows travelers to bring certain types of FDA-approved, hemp-derived CBD oil on flights.

The new policy was updated in the TSA’s  “what can I bring” guidelines, and states that while the illegality of marijuana and some cannabis products derived from it — including some varieties of cannabidiol (CBD) oil — has not changed, the rules will now allow for certain exceptions.

More specifically:  “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.”

This pivot may be in response to numerous headline grabbing incidents of older travelers being arrested and detained for carrying CBD oil, both in airports and at the Magic Kingdom, and is indicative of a nationwide trend towards acceptance and decriminalization of cannabis products, especially medical marijuana.  

CBD oil contains little to no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the chemical in marijuana that produces a high. CBD oil has gained considerable momentum as a treatment for a plethora of ailments, including pain, anxiety, and inflammation.

For its part, TSA doesn’t expect the fuzzy line between THC and CBD to complicate travel.

The economy that has sprung up around CBD oil has outpaced both the science to support its efficacy and legislation to standardize its distribution. That means plenty of murky marketing and questionable sales practices. (For instance, this 2017 study showed that of 84 online purchases, only 24 contained the amount of CBD advertised.)

The wording of the new policy is ambiguous about what (if anything) airport security could do about CBD oil that does contain THC. While THC is technically forbidden, TSA does not have testing equipment that can determine levels of the psychoactive compound in CBD oil.

For its part, TSA doesn’t expect that fuzzy line to complicate travel.

Speaking on background to Considerable, a TSA representative said, “TSA expects this to be the busiest summer travel season ever and issued this news release about it. So if individuals notice longer lines at checkpoints, that is the likely reason. TSA does not anticipate that marijuana/CBD oil will impact checkpoint lines.”

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