CBD - Travel size or travel trouble?
From supplements to muscle balms, creams, and cosmetics - thousands of people across the world are incorporating CBD into their daily wellbeing routine. But with international travel restrictions now beginning to ease, how easy is it to travel with your CBD?
There are 2 main issues to address here:
Firstly, different countries have different laws so it’s essential to know the law at your destination and how that differs from your country of origin. Also, if you are travelling through another country (in transit or stopping over) then you need to consider the laws in that country too.
Secondly, the regulation of CBD is changing so rapidly that laws are being amended on almost a monthly basis, making it difficult to give generic travel advice. This is primarily because legislation is constantly playing catch up with rapid advances in the industry.
The UK is largest CBD market in Europe, and CBD can be sold here as a novel food. (Novel food is food that had not been used for human consumption to a significant degree within the European Union before 15th May 1997.)
Current best practice is that THC should not be detected, which means <0.01% as analysed by an accredited ISO laboratory. THC content must be <0.2% and must never exceed 1mg per pack. THC is listed as a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
In many European countries it is safe to carry CBD provided that the THC concentration does not exceed 0.2%. The legal THC concentration however can vary within the EU, with Switzerland and the Czech Republic having a 1% THC limit. In contrast, CBD is only available by prescription in Norway and must not contain THC, and both CBD & THC are illegal in Slovakia.
In November 2020, the European Court of Justice published a landmark judgement stating that cannabidiol extracted from the cannabis plant should not be considered a drug under the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Despite this ruling, there are still numerous ‘grey areas’, for example about which parts of the cannabis plant are permitted and which are prohibited, and the laws for industrial hemp cultivation (and THC limits) which are different to those regulating the sale of CBD oils.
In the United States each state has their own rules, and in those that permit the sale of CBD for general use, THC concentration must be <0.3%. In some states CBD is legal but only by prescription, and in many states the legal status of CBD remains unclear.
CBD is permitted but is subject to all the rules and requirements that apply to cannabis under the Cannabis Act and its regulations. To import CBD you must hold a licence and permit issued by Health Canada.
CBD Is illegal in the municipality of Dubai, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Yemen.
Japan permits isolated hemp-derived CBD with no traces of THC, although has not officially legalised CBD.
In Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia CBD is illegal.
All cannabis products are illegal in Russia, irrespective of how much THC they contain.
Although CBD is legal in Australia, the products containing it must be approved by the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).
Since February 2021, Australian adults can buy up to a maximum of 150 mg of CBD per day without prescription. The THC limit in Australia is 2%.
Cannabis derivatives are all illegal, listed as Class A controlled drugs.
The CBD market is evolving faster than the legislation in most countries, and laws regulating the production and sale of CBD-containing products are complicated and vary by province/territory. Furthermore, the consequences of carrying CBD in some countries can be severe, despite the fact it may be 100% legal in your country of origin.
Unless you’re very confident you know the rules, in my opinion it’s much easier and safer to travel without it. At least you’ll have something to look forward to coming home to.
Written by Dr Lee Allen, Founder of Phyte Club CBD.
This article is written for information only, and to give a flavour for the complexities of the legal status of CBD around the world. Although all efforts have been made to ensure the information contained herein are accurate at the time of writing, this blog article should not be relied upon as a definitive or accurate reflection of the current legal position of any country, state or province.