Is CBD the Answer for Flight Anxiety?

As CBD has become a focal point of many conversations in the last few years regarding anxiety and how we might tackle it in a more naturalistic way, it only makes sense that eventually some desperately anxious traveler might try to make a connection between flight anxiety and CBD. But what exactly is the connection, and what are the best ways to take CBD to combat this sometimes debilitating, albeit common, malady?


It’s Non-Psychoactive

CBD might just be an excellent solution to flight anxiety for a few reasons, but the ones that might be most crucial are that it’s for the most part (in North America and Europe) legal, plus it’s non-psychoactive, so CBD will not run the risk of causing anxiety on top of anxiety. Of course, these two things go hand in hand. Perhaps one of the most blatant reasons for legal leniency when it comes to CBD is precisely because it does not cause any psychoactive effects.

Both of these interconnected reasons have to do with how CBD functions in our systems after we ingest, inhale or apply it. Cannabis ­– in particular, THC – can, in some instances, cause the opposite of decreased anxiety. And, although the times are a changin’ and the stigma surrounding THC is slowly evaporating to reveal its very legitimate benefits, it can lead to paranoid thoughts and even panic in some people and in some situations.

Both CBD and THC interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates mood, sleep, memory and appetite, The ECS’s two main receptors are CB1 (found mostly in the central nervous system) and CB2 (found mostly in the peripheral nervous system). THC only bonds to CB1 receptors, which are mostly responsible for mental and physical processes like memory, cognition, emotion and coordination. When THC bonds with these receptors, it results in the “high” associated with smoking marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, interacts with the receptors rather than binding to them, making the ECS function more efficiently on its own.


It’s Been Linked to Feeling Less Anxious

CBD’s ability to influence the ECS without meddling with it directly has been a main focal point of its potential for quite some time, and has subsequently led to its popularity in treating anxiety. But how does it do this? Because the ECS has a hand in regulating our mood, CBD can help stabilize moods when we’re feeling less than calm.

CBD can help activate serotonin receptors, which influence things like sleep, learning ability and, most importantly, mood. People whose brains are less sensitive to serotonin’s benefits demonstrate higher levels of anxiety. So, if CBD can stimulate our brains to more effectively utilize serotonin, we become less anxious overall.

In terms of flight anxiety specifically, CBD’s anxiolytic effects could certainly help. Many of us probably don’t even realize how much stress is translated to our physical bodies until we’re stuck on a long-haul flight squished between two strangers, our knees start to ache and we’re only two hours in. CBD can and does also help relieve tension and pain, which can trigger further anxiety. 


Best CBD Options for Flight Anxiety

There are many different ways to take CBD, but some might be a bit better for flight anxiety over others:

• It’s always important to make sure you get the best quality CBD, especially when you’re fighting anxiety. If your product, unbeknownst to you, contains more THC than the label suggests, this could do the opposite of what you’re using it for.

• Edibles are a great way to monitor your dosage, so you can be sure to take the perfect amount for flight anxiety. Beyond this, they’re delicious and inconspicuous, and because they metabolize at a slower rate than oils or flower, the effect is longer, which is ideal for those really tedious flights.

• Although topicals won’t quell anxiety entirely on their own, since they doesn’t actually enter the bloodstream, they could be a really useful sidekick to edibles or oils. If you know that your joints suffer during flights, applying a soothing CBD topical to the affected area will keep you more comfortable during the flight.

Suffer in silence no longer and let CBD show you the relief from flight anxiety you deserve.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.