The thought of travelling abroad can be unnerving. But for anyone who is being treated on medicinal cannabis to manage their wide range of health issues, this thought can be even more daunting. This is because carrying medicinal cannabis internationally can present a number of challenges. With regulations around cannabis varying widely from country to country, and in some cases, even from state to state, it’s important to carefully plan your trip and take steps to ensure that you are in compliance with local laws and regulations. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the important things to keep in mind when traveling overseas with cannabis medication.
Understand Local Laws and Regulations
First and foremost, it is essential that you take the time to research and understand the laws and regulations surrounding the use of cannabis in the country you’ll be visiting. In some countries, cannabis is completely legal and readily available, while in others, it is strictly prohibited and can result in severe legal consequences if caught in possession. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the local laws and regulations, and if possible, speak with a medical professional or cannabis advocate with experience in the area to gain further insight.
Visit the Office of Drug Control here for more information regarding local laws and regulations – Traveling to or from Australia with medicines and medical devices | Office of Drug Control (ODC)
It is recommended you also contact the Country Consulate of where you intend on traveling to and seek information about bringing Medical Cannabis medication into or out of the country. VISIT The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) DFAT – Consulates in Australia – Protocol (dfat.gov.au)
Secure the Right Documentation
In order to travel safely with medical cannabis, it’s important to have the right documentation in place. This may include a doctor’s note explaining your need for the medication, a medical cannabis card or certification, and proof of legal access to the medication.
It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for traveling with cannabis medication, such as the amount and form of medication that is allowed, and any restrictions on how it must be transported.
Visit the TGA website and complete the declaration form. It’s advised to also print and have this with you when traveling. Even though medical cannabis is not on the PBS, it is recommended to complete a medicine export declaration form – How to manage your PBS medicine overseas – Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – Services Australia
Prepare for Security Checks
Depending on where you’re traveling to and from, you may need to go through a number of security checks and screenings before boarding your flight. This can be particularly nerve-wracking when traveling with cannabis medication, but rest assured that the vast majority of security personnel are trained to recognize the difference between medical and recreational cannabis. Be prepared to explain your situation and show your documentation, and consider bringing along a printout of the relevant laws and regulations to help avoid any confusion.
Ultimately, traveling overseas with medical cannabis medication can be a complex process that requires careful research, planning, and documentation. By understanding local laws and regulations, securing the right documentation, preparing for security checks, and considering alternative consumption methods, patients can continue to manage their health issues while staying in compliance with the law. Always stay up to date with laws and regulations and speak to a local medical cannabis specialist before and throughout your travels. Happy and safe travels!
For more information, visit the TGA – Medical Cannabis Hub.