Over Memorial Day weekend, the Transportation Security Administration updated its policy on marijuana, specifying that some hemp-derived CBD products may be carried aboard flights if the situation fits certain circumstances.
The FDA has not approved any product containing CBD that claims to offer a therapeutic or medical benefit, although the agency has declared several hemp-derived products to be generally regarded as safe (aka, GRAS).
All forms of marijuana were previously prohibited in carry-on bags and checked luggage.
Experts noted the confusion regarding Epidiolex, an FDA-approved pediatric epilepsy drug containing CBD, prompted the change. The TSA said it "immediately updated" its written guidelines "once we became aware of the issue". It's promoted as a way to ease anxiety and inflammation - and it doesn't get people high because it doesn't contain THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome", the FDA wrote in a press announcement on June 28, 2018. TSA officers are required to report any violations of that law. But while agents screen for potential threats to planes and passengers, they do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs. CBD oil-infused food, drinks and dietary supplements are popular even though the USA government says they're illegal and some local authorities have forced retailers to pull products.
In one of his last actions as U.S. Food and Drug Commission (FDA) chief, Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced a May 31 meeting of a "high-level" committee whose task it is to determine how the agency will review "dietary supplements and/or conventional foods containing CBD to be lawfully marketed; including a consideration of what statutory or regulatory changes might be needed and what the impact of such marketing would be on the public health".
In opening the hearing Dr. Ned Sharpless, acting commissioner of the FDA, said despite the widespread use of such products "critical questions remain about the safety" of these items.
Ally Horner, the co-owner of Your CBD Store in Spring, Texas, 25 miles north of Houston, said questions about traveling with CBD products are common among her customers. Research to support such claims is ongoing.