Epidiolex, the breakthrough antiepelleptic medicine derived from cannabis, is now cleared for flights according to the TSA.
According to the drug manufacturer’s website, Epidiolex is used by patients who have seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome. It contains CBD, cannabidiiol, which acts as an antiepeletpic and prevents or lessens the intensity of seizures.
The drug’s website boasts that “the active ingredient is nearly 100% cannabidiol” The medication was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June and has been proven effective in patients 2 years of age and older even when other medications were ineffective, according to the drug’s website.
The TSA’s guidelines state that Epidiolex is subject to “special instructions.” As long as the product in question was “produced within the regulations defined by the law under the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018” or approved by the FDA, the TSA clears it for flight. This update to TSA policy allows for other FDA-approved CBD products, such as oils, to be taken on board flights as well.
The one caveat to this update is that the TSA’s guidelines specify flight-cleared that products or medications contain “hemp-derived CBD.” The TSA’s “What to Bring” section was recently updated to include a guidelines on medical marijuana.
Cannabis and products, even CBD, which are derived from cannabis are still illegal at this time. But the warning on the TSA website does not sound as stringent as it could, basically officers will report any cannabis “discovered” to local law enforcement but they do not specifically screen for cannabis or cannabis-derived products.
“TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
Although this new ruling doesn’t give the free-and-clear for flying with CBD or other cannabis-derived products, this update can be seen as a small victory.
And, if you’re lucky enough to live in California, products containing THC are allowed in airports. LAX and other California airports allow adults over 21 to posses a small amount of cannabis “for personal use,” which they define as 28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated marijuana, without a doctor’s note or medical recommendation. This means that TSA or law enforcement agents won’t persecute adult travelers with cannabis at the airport or after they pass through security.
This policy is great for in-state flights but, the policy does not hold for other airports. Even in weed-friendly Denver, cannabis is prohibited at the airport, according to an article in Westworld. These conflicting laws are yet another example of the multiple grey areas regarding cannabis legislation.
But as this Epidiolex-related update shows, there is hope. As federal agencies like the TSA relax their guidelines about hemp-derived products and recognize the medical value in these herbs and extracts, it follows that cannabis-derived extracts and products may soon be next on the flight list.