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Those fabulous noses can sniff illicit cannabis, maybe even in the parts per trillion CBD products are legal, but do drug dogs know the difference? Here's what you need to know about traveling with CBD airports with police.

Packing edibles? Careful. Cannabis-sniffing dogs might be able to suss out that stash

Can drug-sniffing dogs smell edibles? It’s a commonly asked question on online forums such as Wikileaf, GrassCity and subreddits dedicated to everything cannabis.

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The intention behind the question is simple: people want to know the risks of travelling across the Canada-U.S. border with edibles.

Packing edibles? Careful. Cannabis-sniffing dogs might be able to suss out that stash Back to video

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The anecdotal evidence, personal border crossing stories and pseudo legal advice offered tend to be largely inconclusive and speculative, with responses falling mainly into two categories: probably and probably not. Some think drug-sniffing dogs would have little trouble detecting cannabis within edibles; others contend cannabis undergoes chemical changes when baked into edibles, making it tougher for the dogs to detect.

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Do edibles have a distinctive smell?

But the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) Dog Detector Service (DDS) teams, which are strategically located at various ports of entry across Canada, means there still remains a risk of being sniffed out by a dog at the border.

Edibles do, in fact, smell distinctly different from the plant and have an altered chemical composition. Todd Knupp, extraction specialist at Colorado’s University of Cannabis Technologies, says most commercially made edibles use a standardized extract of THC that does not typically include terpenes, the fragrant compounds that give cannabis its aroma. “It’s not that the odour of THC in edibles is undetectable, it’s just a matter of how thoroughly the dog was trained to pick up on the scent,” Knupp says.

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Master trainer Sid Murray of ATS K9 Detection Services says that dogs can be trained to detect the scent of cannabis in any form. “The dogs can hit on edibles, oils and sprays as well as paraphernalia such as pipes, pens, bottles, and residual odours,” Murray says, pointing out that dogs have a sense of smell of as much as 100,000 times more powerful than humans.

But certain super sniffer breeds, such as bloodhounds and beagles, are able to detect some odours at one part per trillion (ppt).

Do border service still employ drug-sniffing dogs?

While drug-sniffing dogs may be capable of detecting that packed-away cannabis in edibles, are CBSA detector dogs actively sniffing them out? Judith Gadbois-St.-Cyr, the CBSA’s Greater Toronto Area’s regional spokesperson, says the role of the DDS has always remained the same. “DDS plays an integral role in helping the CBSA keep prohibited drugs, including cannabis products, from entering Canada,” Gadbois-St.-Cyr says. “The ‘cannabis products’ drug category consists of dried and fresh cannabis, cannabis seeds, resin, solids, non-solids, concentrates and synthetic cannabis.”

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The federal government has made it clear: not declaring cannabis products at the Canadian border is a serious criminal offence. If a traveller chooses not to declare cannabis products, he or she may face enforcement action, including arrest and prosecution.

Still thinking about packing a freshly baked batch of brownies on your next trip across the border? Think again. Edibles might not be detectable to fellow travellers, but not so for intrepid detector dogs.

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Are Drug Dogs Trained to Find CBD Products?

Because of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products are now legal for sale in the United States. However, because this is such a recent development, many people have concerns about traveling with CBD products. Is it legal? Is it safe? What about traveling to different countries? Can drug dogs detect CBD Oil? Do drug dogs smell CBD? Can dogs smell CBD gummies? Because of past stigma and false information surrounding cannabis, misconceptions about CBD are common. It’s no wonder that people get worried when it comes to traveling.

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It’s legal to possess CBD products that contain no more than 0.3% THC. Nevertheless, many people get jitters when traveling with it and carrying it in their luggage through the airport. Travelers are concerned that even though they’ve obtained the products legally, they may run into trouble with security or TSA officials.

These concerns have prompted questions about whether or not canine security members are trained to find CBD. As experts in the hemp industry, we feel that it is our duty to shed some light on the matter. Here’s what you need to know about CBD and drug dogs.

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Can Drug Detection Canines Find CBD?

Drug detection canines are commonplace in U.S. airports and transit systems. Dogs have been used for decades to help security guards and policemen find harmful and illegal substances. Can drug dogs detect CBD oil? Can dogs smell CBD oil? Can drug dogs smell gummies?

Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer. It’s uncommon but possible. It all depends on what the dog’s trained to find and what ingredients are in the products. Let us explain.

How Drug Dogs Detect Cannabis

Drug dogs are trained to sniff out certain smells. Not all drug dogs are trained to find cannabis. On the lengthy lists of police concerns, cannabis falls pretty low on the totem pole. Therefore, the vast majority of drug dogs are not trained to find cannabis.

However, there are a few drug dogs that do receive this training. These dogs are trained to sniff out the scent of specific terpenes, such as Beta-Caryophyllene or Myrcene. Terpenes are what give cannabis plants their powerful odor. So while drug dogs may not be trained to find CBD, they are trained to find other compounds that are commonly found in CBD products.

Products to Avoid

If you’re traveling with CBD in the U.S., it may be best to avoid products that are at high risk of being able to be detected by drug dogs. So long as your products contain less than 0.3% THC, you’re not doing anything illegal. But still, some dogs may become confused, and clearing up the matter with the security agents could result in an embarrassing scene or a delay that makes you miss your flight.

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Products that drug dogs are mostly liked to detect are ones that contain high amounts of concentrates and terpenes. This includes full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products. When in doubt, it may be best to stick with a CBD isolate.

However, it’s important to note that this information only pertains to travelers whose destinations are located within the U.S. International travels are a whole different matter.

International Travels

If you’re traveling internationally with CBD, there’s a good chance that whatever cruise port or airport you arrive at may have drug dogs. That’s why it’s generally recommended to check your destination’s laws on CBD before traveling. Some countries strictly prohibit CBD products from the U.S. It’s important to check before you travel so that you don’t end up dealing with complicated legal matters.

Purchasing CBD Internationally

Similar rules apply if you’re purchasing CBD from the U.S. and intend to have it shipped to another country. You may be required to obtain documentation that clarifies the legality of your products and their ingredients. In other cases, it may not be possible to ship products internationally if they’re considered illegal. At Hemp Depot, we are happy to help all of our clients obtain the necessary documentation they need for shipping and distribution.

When In Doubt, Research the Laws

If you’re unsure whether or not it’s okay to travel with CBD, it’s best to do some research. Research your destination country’s laws on CBD and hemp products. If you’re traveling on an airplane or cruise ship, you may want to consider contacting them and asking about their policies. It’s always best to understand what you’re getting into so you can be prepared for all the possible situations that you may encounter.

Get More Information

Do you have questions about traveling with CBD or shipping CBD products to another region? Contact our office to get more information. We will be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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