Can Airport Scanners Detect Weed?

Can Airport Scanners Detect Weed

Marijuana is prohibited from taking on an Airplane; everybody knows that because the weed trade is illegal, getting caught with weed at an Airport can put you in jail for years, depending on the quantity of weed found in your stuff.

Marijuana used as narcotics is illegal but legal for treating anxiety, nausea, cancer, and a handful of other procedures in the US.

Therefore, the possession of marijuana is legal in some states of the United States but considered illegal in other states.

But, it becomes a different matter when weed is recovered from you at the Airport.

Gone are the days when people used to stuff Marijuana inside their bodies, belongings, or shoes.

Today, AirPort security uses state-of-the-art scanners for weed detection, and on top of that, the AirPort security staff is highly trained to spot weeds.

Carrying weed to the Airport is a serious problem that countries are trying to encounter.

Once a person is caught red-handed carrying weed, the security staff takes that person or group of persons to a private room to confiscate all the weed and hand over the matter to the local police or authorities for further investigation.

So, let’s discuss can Airport scanners detect weed?

Can Airport Scanners Detect Weed?

Yes, Airport scanners can detect weed, but the detection method is not like the scanner will start ringing as soon as it detects drugs in your luggage (Bags or Suitcases).

The job of the scanner is to show the contents inside your stuff and display that stuff in different colors according to the nature of the things inside your luggage.

The security staff will identify the illegal substances during this process, but how?

For that, you need to know what weed looks like on-an air Airport scanner. Because the scanner will represent the weed in orange color on the screen because the scanner is set to show orange color for biological materials, and weed is one of those materials.

A handful of advanced countries have modern scanners which can alert the staff for any suspicious items identified in the luggage. So, now you must have the idea that it is almost impossible to sneak weed through the scanner.

Let’s look at the scanners doing their jobs at the Airports to keep us safe.

Millimeter Scanner

This is a type of scanner that scans your entire body in. The scanner uses electromagnetic radiation that’s safe for the human body but can hide stuff under the clothes.

As discussed earlier, people started smuggling illegal substances hiding under their clothes; with time, securities were successful in catching those people with the help of this scanner.

This scanner beeps when it detects something suspicious with the passenger, and then a security person will inspect the passenger to double-check the type of item.

Don’t confuse suspicious items with weed because the scanner isn’t still able to detect weed; Still, if you have weed inside your clothes, they will help the security person know that you have something with you that requires identification before you move forward.

This tool, like other scanners, provides images but in low resolution, and that is why the security staff is required to do a manual investigation as well so that they won’t misinterpret weed as anything else.

But, the danger is still there because the security staff is highly trained in catching weed, and it won’t be difficult for them to recognize it with the passenger.

Backscatter X-ray

The Backscatter X-ray is one of the modern scanning booths that does a better job detecting weed than the Millimeter scanner; it uses X-ray imaging technology, which is used for the X-rays of our bodies in hospitals.

The scanner sprinkles safe radiation to your body and maps your body according to the reflected radiation to create a sketch of passengers and anything on them. It’s a commonly used scanner and is 100% safe for human exposure.

Again, the scanner will alert the staff, not detect the weed. So, the team will depend on the scanner to show items similar to a typical x-ray profile of contraband ( illegal or banned goods ).

Whether the illegal stuff is inside any luggage or under your clothes, the scanner will detect it. Even the scanner can look inside sealed boxes to see homogenous contents because visual appearance cannot be disrupted.

People have been trying to get past the backscatter scanner by stuffing small amounts of illegal substances in visually similar objects like socks.

The more things there are in the luggage box or suitcase, the more difficult it will be to detect weed.

Metal Detectors

This type of scanner is used to detect metallic or other solid objects using magnetic fields. For weed, metal detectors are useless because weed is an organic material.

Future Technology

As mentioned earlier, some advanced countries use advanced machines or scanners like Terahertz or CT scanners that can detect the weed directly.

The capability of detecting weed comes with multiple technologies like Artificial Intelligence and higher frequencies. However, the testing phase is still in progress for these technologies, and producing such devices is also costly.

Airport Scanners Weed Detection Capacity

Many people successfully smuggled 5 mg or less of weed without getting detected by the Airport scanners.

Usually, people try to smuggle a 100mg amount that seems extremely small, but this amount can get you jailed for a few years.

Can Airport scanners detect edibles?

Detectors can detect food items but not edibles unless a staff member audits the food upon finding it suspicious.

Another option from where the staff can detect edibles is the smell.

Bringing food with you in place has restrictions. Therefore, most food items are confiscated before you board the plane.

The only checkpoint for you is manual checking by the security staff; otherwise, you must take the food with you on the plane.

What happens if weed is found in checked luggage?

If you are caught with drugs, the staff will confiscate all the drugs from you and will hand them over to the local police for further investigation.

Depending on your country, the laws and airport ordinances will be applied.

For example, the LAX airport allows a minimum amount of 28.5 grams to take while traveling. The same is illegal in Texas, inside or outside the airport. Getting caught in Texas means a fine in cash or a certain period of jail.

Do TSA Agents Even care about Weed?

TSA agents care about weed and have the right to confiscate marijuana or other banned items during inspection. Plus, they must report Cannabis-infused items or even medicinal products.

Can you hide weed from the scanner?

First, we do not recommend this, but we have heard people taking small amounts in the body cavities because detectors or scanners cannot scan inside the human body. Plus, the security staff can only detect large items like bombs or weapons, so carrying a small amount becomes feasible for people.

Another method people tried was putting a pot inside the shampoo or moisturizer bottles.

Do Drugs show up on airport scanners?

Yes, Drugs show up on Airport scanners but in a specific color that makes the agents suspicious and leads to further investigations.

Can airport dogs smell weed?

Yes, Airport dogs have 100% better smelling sense than humans and therefore, security agents use dogs to search for drugs. Sometimes, clever drug traffickers use anti-smell agents that repel dogs ( It burns their nose ) but agents are also using different techniques to cater to such situations as well.


Overall, the Airport scanners cannot detect weed outright, but the airport agents can search you for the stuff you carry.

You can also face legal penalties if drugs are discovered from you.

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