Those fabulous noses can sniff illicit cannabis, maybe even in the parts per trillion If you are traveling with your CBD oil, you might be concerned that drug dogs could sniff out your product. Is this concern warranted? We take a look.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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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Do Drug Dogs Smell CBD? [ANSWERED]
The world we live in today is extremely confusing when it comes to cannabis and its derivatives, like CBD. Each state has different laws and regulations, and many still use drug dogs to detect weed. So what happens if you are carrying CBD oil on you? Are drug dogs able to smell CBD?
Dogs provide some of the most reliable and useful tools in the war against drugs and terror in the United States. They form an integral part of law enforcement and protection services. Drug dogs are often put to work at airports, traffic stops, and public events. They are trained to detect specific scents related to guns, machinery, people, and drugs. Now that CBD is becoming extremely popular, many consumers are left wondering if dogs can smell CBD.
If you’re traveling to another state and are thinking about taking your CBD with you, you need to exercise caution. As you probably already know, the legality surrounding CBD is very complex, and there’s no clear answer regarding whether you are allowed to travel with CBD.
Technically, it depends on where the CBD is derived from. If it’s hemp-derived, it should be legal. However, even then, your semi-legal bottle of CBD oil may be confiscated. In some cases, arrests have been made.
How Are Drug Dogs Trained?
Before looking at the issue of whether drug dogs can smell CBD, it’s good to understand how drug dogs work. Many dogs are highly intelligent animals that can follow commands with proper training and do a variety of tricks. Typical drug-sniffing dogs include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Belgian Malinois, and Weimaraners.
Similar to people, drug dogs have a job that requires consistent work. Once enrolled, they are constantly training with their human partners. The path to reaching the top level can be a very long one. Drug-sniffing dog breeders can begin training and testing puppies as young as six weeks old.
After selection, the puppy will spend the next few months going through daily training routines with officers until it’s ready for service in the field. The service life of dogs in this line of work is typically eight or nine years.
Dogs that are trained to detect drugs are highly specialized. They spend several years training to smell very specific terpenes in cannabis. These terpenes include caryophyllene, beta-caryophyllene, and pinene.
CBD products that are free of THC don’t contain high levels of these terpenes – unless they are somehow injected into the product. But, keep in mind that levels of terpenes may vary between hemp-extracted CBD brands.
Can Drug Dogs Smell CBD?
Technically, yes, drug dogs could be trained to detect CBD. But don’t freak out just yet. Take note of the phrase “can be trained to detect CBD.” This means that handlers would have to dedicate a lot of their time towards training them to smell CBD – which isn’t likely.
It’s even less likely considering that reports from last year stated that many drug dogs would be going into retirement due to the legal status of marijuana. Basically, K9 unit dogs that can detect marijuana are being retired because they are unable to tell the difference between medical and recreational substances. For both of these reasons, it’s highly unlikely that a drug-sniffing dog will detect CBD.
However, you do need to worry when you are traveling or flying to a place where CBD is illegal. The 2018 Farm Bill now allows for each state to manage CBD as they see fit, which means that you need to check your state’s law, as well as the laws of the state you are traveling to.
Drug dogs are able to smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than humans. This means they can pretty much smell anything given the proper training. However, recent reports suggest that drug dogs these days are typically trained to primarily detect hard drugs or dangerous bombs, and not necessarily marijuana.
Furthermore, as we’ve already touched on, drug dogs are trained to smell caryophyllene oxide and beta-caryophyllene, which is found in most cannabis strains. However, in CBD-heavy hemp tinctures, it’s present in miniscule amounts – amounts that most dogs would likely glance over. Unless, of course, you happen to be carrying a whole bag full of something. With just one or two bottles of CBD oil, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.
How Accurate Are Drug Dogs?
Drug dogs are not always as accurate as you might think. One study reports this by testing various dog breeds against illegal substances with their handlers to determine how quickly (if at all) they can detect the substances.
They used 68 Labrador Retrievers, 61 German Shepherds, 25 Terriers, and 10 English Cocker Spaniels to determine their results. Most of the drug dogs were able to detect the substances quickly and efficiently. However, 5.3% were false accusations.
When it comes to the war on drugs, thousands of innocent people have been wrongfully convicted. As you can imagine, several of these arrests are bound to be the result of a K9 falsely detecting drugs and the officer going along with it.
But fortunately, drug dogs are starting to retire for marijuana purposes – as we’ve already mentioned. And since CBD is non-psychoactive, law enforcement is not spending time and money on training dogs to look for it.
Final Thoughts on Whether Drug Dogs Can Detect CBD
Drug dogs are highly trained, powerful tools used by law enforcement and police officers. They are often used but don’t typically react to hemp-extracted CBD products because the levels of terpenes in these products are usually so small that the dogs are not interested.
However, there is still always the possibility that a drug dog will detect the presence of CBD. For this reason, it’s crucial to check the laws and regulations surrounding CBD before you travel.