How to fly with CBD, where you can travel with CBD, and what the best CBD products for travelers are. Generally, yes, you can bring CBD on a plane so long as the THC content is under a certain percent, and the place you're traveling to allows
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.
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.
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.
Can You Travel with CBD? Yes, With Some Caveats
More information about the remarkable benefits of CBD (also known as cannabidiol) over the years has catapulted this alternative medicine into the mainstream world. When it comes to travel, CBD has proven to be especially popular. It’s been touted for its benefits including helping alleviate the fear of flying to nixing anxiety from travel, as well as helping to eliminate pain and inflammation and more. Naturally, one of the most-asked questions regarding CBD is if people can travel with it.
What is CBD?
CBD is a chemical derived from cannabis. Although both CBD and THC are derived from cannabis, THC creates a “high” or euphoric effect, while CBD does not.
CBD is used to help control seizures, anxiety, pain, Parkinson and Crohn’s diseases and more. Consumers can purchase CBD as a flower to smoke, cartridge for vaping, as well as tinctures, gummies, supplements, lotions, patches, and more.
Is CBD legal?
First, you’ve got to understand the difference between hemp and marijuana—both of which come from the cannabis sativa plant. They both produce CBD. With hemp, the amount of THC is virtually non-existent; it’s another story when it comes to marijuana. In the US, marijuana is federally illegal because of the high THC percentage (though more and more states are decriminalizing it).
In 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act was passed, making hemp-derived CBD products legal on a federal level. It also removed hemp as a Schedule I substance and moved it to an “agricultural commodity.”
So, if the CBD is coming from hemp, then it is legal federally. In addition, the CBD must contain less than .3 percent THC. Hemp-derived CBD can be transported freely across state lines so long as it meets the criteria passed in the bill.
That being said, although CBD is legal on a federal level, not all states consider it so. For example, it’s fully illegal in Idaho (only legal with 0 THC and from mature stalks of plants), Nebraska, and South Dakota as of 2022. And, it’s only legal for medicinal use in Alabama (must contain less than .3% THC), Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee (must contain less than .6% THC), Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The benefits of traveling with CBD
CBD can be particularly beneficial to people when they travel.
For starters, since CBD is known to ease anxiety, it can help people with travel anxiety. It’s been shown to lessen the body’s response to stress. In addition, it also quiets the part of the brain that registers threats, making flying a more relaxing experience. For those who have never taken CBD before, make sure to use it a few weeks before flying to see how the body reacts.
Aside from CBD helping with travel anxiety, there are other benefits as well. Lotion can help alleviate dry skin, especially when flying. It helps nourish the skin and prevents dry skin, cracks and more. Plus, if inflammation and joint pain are an issue, it can also provide relief when applied topically.
Finally, CBD can help with jetlag, too. Take some at night to relax and unwind before going to sleep (you can also read our tips for sleeping on a plane).
Choosing the right CBD for traveling
What CBD is the right one for you when it comes to traveling?
If you’re looking for a slight euphoric feeling, grab the full spectrum CBD. While the THC percentage is still normally less than .3 percent, it’s made with many other cannabinoid compounds and low levels of THC. While it’s not enough to get someone “high,” it can give a euphoric effect. Because it contains terpenes from the cannabis plant, it also may smell like the plant. Skip the full spectrum CBD if you have to take drug tests, as it could show up.
Broad-spectrum CBD delivers all the calming effects of CBD, minus the euphoric feeling. Like full-spectrum, it contains other cannabinoid compounds, but has zero (or only traces) of THC. So, in a place where THC is illegal, this is the CBD to choose.
For nearly instant gratification to combat anxiety, tinctures/oils are the way to go as they get to your bloodstream the quickest. However, this wears off the quickest of all delivery methods, so you’ll need to take it every four to six hours.
CBD gummies are easy to dose and provide relief to your entire body since they are metabolized and spread throughout your entire body. Plan for when you want the gummies to kick in, as they take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours to feel the effects. Most single servings last up to 12 hours.
You’ll want to use a CBD cream or lotions, balms, patches or salves for aches and inflammation, as well as for dry skin.
Because vaping isn’t allowed on planes, it’s probably best to leave that at home or only bring it out once you’ve arrived at your destination (assuming it’s legal where you’re traveling).
No matter which method of CBD you choose, always check the label to make sure the percentage of THC is lower than .3 percent for traveling to destinations where it’s legal to use.
Can you bring CBD on a plane?
Generally, yes, you can bring CBD on a plane so long as the THC content is under that magic .3 percent. If you’re carrying a liquid or cream form of CBD, it must be less than three ounces if you want to take it in your carryon. If you’re traveling with a CBD vape pen, then it can only go in your carryon, not your checked baggage.
When traveling, know the state laws for your destination and understand that, ultimately, it’s up to the TSA officer to let you through with CBD. Sometimes they get it wrong, and will confiscate your CBD. A handful of states only allow CBD for medicinal use. It is illegal to have CBD in Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Internationally, always check the laws before departure. CBD is illegal in countries including Singapore, Bolivia and Armenia, as well as most countries in Africa (except South Africa).