Can Drug Dogs Smell Delta-8? - CBD Nationwide (2023)

Users of cannabis derivatives like cannabidiol oil (CBD) and delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are always worried about these products’ legality due to the lack of uniform legislation on them. While many states have legalized these products, others have conflicting definitions.

As a result, frequent travelers are often on edge about run-ins with transport security. They may wonder, can drug dogs smell delta-8?

Drug dogs can smell delta-8. The handlers train these canines to pick up various substances, including delta-8 and other cannabis derivatives. However, with relaxed legislation around cannabis and more focus on hard drugs, the chances of a drug dog picking up delta-8 are low.

Getting pulled from a line at the airport is an embarrassing experience most people would prefer to avoid. It’s essential to know what to expect and plan ahead if you intend to travel with delta-8 products. The rest of this article will cover all you need to know to stay under the radar.

Table of Contents

What Is Delta-8?

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol is one of the dozens of chemical extracts in cannabis. It’s another extract similar to the widely popular delta-9—a psychoactive compound responsible for the euphoric high in cannabis. However, delta-8 has come into the limelight in recent years.

The Farm Bill of 2018 legalized the sale and production of CBD oil and other derivatives that don’t deliver the characteristic high of cannabis. These products include those containing very little THC (0.3%).[1]

Technically, the legislation makes delta-8 legal under federal laws. There is also less pressure to regulate delta-8 because research shows that the compound is less potent than delta-9.[2] Therefore, the legality of delta-8 remains unclear from the federal to the state levels.

Can Police Dogs Smell Delta-8 Products?

Can drug dogs smell delta-8? Police canines can detect delta-8, but only if the handlers trained them for the job. Dogs have a sense of smell that may be 10,000-100,000 times more powerful than ours.[3]

Trained well enough, they can smell just about anything, including delta-8, but unless your product has the terpenes caryophyllene oxide and beta-caryophyllene, the dogs probably can’t smell it.

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However, dog handlers will need to spend substantial time training the dogs to detect delta-8. This endeavor isn’t always cost-effective. Therefore, dog-handling departments are more likely to train the dogs to detect hard drugs.

Additionally, the hunt for marijuana derivatives took a back seat after the legalization of marijuana. So, it’s highly unlikely that police dogs are waiting to pick out users of polarizing derivatives like delta-8 across major transport hubs. Furthermore, K9 unit dogs can’t differentiate between recreational and medical cannabis substances.

However, you still need to exercise caution when traveling or flying to one of the states where delta-8 is illegal. Although you’re unlikely to get pulled aside, it’s best to take precautions when traveling to these places.

Just because delta 8 isn’t recommended for dogs to take doesn’t mean that they can’t smell some delta 8 products. Drug detection canines trained to find CBD products can smell beta-caryophyllene and caryophyllene oxide found in many cannabis strains. Therefore, any cannabis-finding drug dogs on duty will likely flag your luggage. You may land yourself in trouble if you’re carrying high amounts of delta-8 products.

Can You Hide Delta-8 from Drug-Sniffing Dogs?

You can’t hide delta-8 from drug-sniffing dogs trained to find these products. If you ever get flagged, it’s best to cooperate with the police officers. You should also discuss your reasons for carrying the products with the officers.

Many people believe that you can hide cannabis products with food, spices, etc., to conceal the drugs’ smell. However, that’s a faulty assumption. Dogs can wade through multiple layers of strong smells to find a particular one due to their powerful sense of smell.

Furthermore, authorities may perceive attempts to mask the delta-8 product as a sign that the carrier understood the product’s illegality. Even worse, they may assume that the carrier tried to deceive police officers.

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How Many States Have Banned or Restricted Delta-8?

Eighteen states across the country have banned or placed restrictions on delta-8. Some of these states include New York, Washington, Michigan, Mississippi, and Arizona.[4]

Texas lifted the restriction on delta-8 products in November 2021. State officials decided that delta-8 no longer met the requirements for classification as a Schedule One drug.[5] Analysts expect more states to follow suit, but there’s no movement on that front thus far.

Therefore, you must check state laws if you intend to use delta-8 products in a certain state. Carrying them across state lines also necessitates reviewing these laws.

In the states where delta-8 remains banned or restricted, punishment for defaulters includes jail terms. These terms run for as little as six months to six years, with cash fines between $250 and $2,000.

How to Travel with Medical Delta-8 Products

You can travel with medical delta-8 products by bringing along the prescription. If drug dogs flag your luggage, the prescription will serve as supporting evidence that may help you avoid litigation and fines.

Because the Farm Act of 2018 handed control over delta-8 laws to individual states, you’ll need to be especially careful when crossing state lines, as the legality of what you’re carrying may change. Before traveling, look up the applicable laws in your destination, and if where you’re going has harsh penalties for delta-8 possession, it may be best to leave yours at home.

The Benefits of Delta-8 Products

With so few studies conducted on delta-8, it’s unclear if products containing this substance deliver any benefits. However, some studies show that delta-8 may help in the treatment and management of some medical conditions, just like CBD and delta-9 THC.

Some of these conditions include:

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● Depression

● Stress

● Chronic pain

● Anxiety

Consult your doctor before adding delta-8 to your treatment for any of the above medical conditions.

Key Questions

Can drug dogs smell delta-8 edibles?

Possibly, but it’s highly unlikely. When drug dogs are trained to find cannabis, they are trained to smell for caryophyllene oxide and beta-caryophyllene. Unless your delta-8 edible product has these added, dogs will not likely be able to smell it.

Do drug dogs smell CBD?

Some delta-8 products also contain CBD, so it’s important to consider whether or not drug dogs will be able to smell CBD in the product. The short answer is unless the product contains caryophyllene oxide and beta-caryophyllene, probably not. Some full spectrum products might contain these terpenes, though. This is a case where isolates might be a better choice.

Can drug dogs smell delta-8 carts or pens?

It’s more likely that a drug dog would key in on a delta-8 cartridge than on edibles. Why? Because many manufacturers add terpenes to cartridges for their physiological effects and taste. It’s the specific terpenes caryophyllene oxide and beta-caryophyllene that the dogs are looking for.


Can drug dogs smell delta-8? In short, K9 units trained to detect delta-8 and other CBD products can find them. However, drug dogs trained to only find hard drugs will likely ignore them.

The current cannabis legislation environment makes maintaining units specifically for CBD products more difficult. The line between legal and illegal drugs continues to thin with each passing day. Currently, users can travel with their medical or recreational delta-8 products to most parts of the country without getting flagged.

However, 18 states still maintain restrictions or bans on delta-8. So, it’s best to find out the laws and regulations before traveling to those places. Drug-detecting dogs in these regions may flag all marijuana-related products.

When you’re ready to buy top-quality CBD products, CBD Nationwide is here for you! Visit our website to see the wide variety of CBD products we have available and find the ones that are best for you!




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