Traveling Can Be Stressful, but Some People Turn to CBD

Your 11 a.m. cross-country flight is already delayed by severe weather alerts, yet that isn’t calming your nerves because your Uber driver advised you an interstate accident is slowing traffic in all directions.

Arriving, you scurry into the airport only to find the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) line the length of two football fields, realizing you’re not pre-cleared and will have to wrestle with your belt and shoes in the security checkpoint line. It’s enough to make anyone contemplate a couple of mid-morning cocktails.

Even when plans are going smoothly, some people still get pre-takeoff jitters at the thought of flying, resorting to alcohol, prescription or non-prescription anxiety medications, and sleep aids – or most anything available to settle their nerves. But those aren’t the only options.

For those who have used cannabidiol (CBD oil) to reduce air travel anxiety, a majority continue to do so and would recommend CBD to others.

To evaluate the benefits of CBD on travel, along with which products are best suited for air travel, we surveyed over 500 individuals who have used CBD when traveling.

With no air turbulence to rattle your nerves, take a few moments to relax and join us while we explore the efficacy and options for using CBD on the ground and in the air.

Air Travel and CBD

For those unfamiliar with CBD, it is found in cannabis plants and is one of more than 100 cannabinoids that interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system that regulates sleep, mood, and digestion. Unlike other cannabinoids such as THC, CBD doesn’t make you “high,” yet is reported by many to have a calming effect that can lead to improved mental clarity.

Colin Lloyd, Unsplash

It may surprise you – as it did us – to learn in previous surveys that 1 in 3 air travelers reported canceling travel plans because of stress. If those plans involve business, that means productivity and even opportunity or income could also suffer, further compounding stress levels.

The good news is 97 percent of respondents said CBD made their travel experience better, with 58 percent going as far to say it was moderately or much better. Only 3 percent said taking CBD didn’t improve their travel experience.

As more medical and scientific research is completed on cannabinoids and CBD, in particular, medical experts are recognizing the positive impact of CBD oil for anxiety with few to no side effects.

Giving additional credence to CBD’s benefits for reducing travel anxiety is that 93 percent of those who’ve taken the product would recommend it to others. On average, people using CBD while traveling said they used it on two out of every three trips.

Sometimes, Making the “Top 10” Isn’t Good

Most of us are accustomed to seeing many top 10 lists, many of which may be attributes or things we want to achieve. Experiencing any of these 10 symptoms while flying is something most want to avoid.

Besides delayed flight schedules and dealing with overzealous TSA agents, there are, undoubtedly, dozens of events that can increase travel frustrations before even reaching your destination.

Increased anxiety was reported by 79 percent, giving it the top spot on this list. Other top symptoms were stress (67 percent) and restlessness (47 percent), followed by fear and nausea at 38 and 35 percent, respectively.

Our survey helps confirm other studies, like the one by The National Institute of Mental Health, discovering over 6 percent of Americans have a phobia that prevents them from flying. They continue, saying their estimate of common flight anxiety is “much higher.”

Compounding the symptoms even further, feelings of impatience and panic attacks certainly won’t help other issues like headaches, back discomfort (we can’t blame smaller seats this time), or elevated heart rates.

Relief at 30,000 Feet

Do you recall the tagline for the antacid commercial asking, “How do you spell RELIEF?” Discovering that 90 percent of respondents used over-the-counter (OTC) medications to find some relief from travel symptoms, while 76 percent used prescription medications, helped us realize the true and widespread impact of travel on health and well-being.

When asked how they treated the top five symptoms previously discussed, CBD was the top choice of those surveyed to address anxiety, stress, restlessness, fear, and even nausea. The percentages ranged from 88 to 77 percent, declining in the order listed.

One intriguing finding in our survey is what CBD users said they used less of while traveling – alcohol being that which most travelers used less frequently.

Just over half of those surveyed indicated that when they used CBD to relieve travel anxiety, they were less likely to drink alcohol. Fewer over-the-counter and prescription medications were also used, as reported by 46 percent each of respondents, while 39 percent said they were less likely to use illegal drugs, which is a good idea since fines and penalties associated with outlawed substances can be severe.

While 88 percent of respondents said they used CBD to relieve anxiety, their second option at 49 percent was prescription medications, and then alcohol at 36 percent.

Another interesting point is the difference between CBD use for these five symptoms and the second most popular option. For example, 86 percent of respondents said they used CBD to combat the effects of stress, with 39 percent saying prescription drugs were a second choice. That’s a difference of 47 percentage points.

Similar differences between CBD and other symptoms were seen for restlessness and fear. For nausea, the difference was slightly smaller, with CBD coming in at 77 percent, compared to 54 percent for prescription medications. Maybe those rolls of antacid tablets came in handy after all.

Also worth noting is 55 percent of those who reported taking CBD for travel were not sure how many milligrams they usually took. Whether it’s OTC, prescribed, or as in the case of alcohol, purchased by volume or serving size, understanding the correct and safe CBD oil dosage amount is essential.

Is CBD a “Risky” Traveling Companion?

If you believe CBD is an option to relieve travel anxiety, would you feel comfortable bringing it into an airport or aboard a U.S. commercial aircraft? Over half of those surveyed have done one or both.

When specifically asked if they had brought CBD into an airport or onto a plane, 59 percent said “yes.” Most took it aboard in their carry-on bags (58 percent), while 55 percent had it on their person, and 31 percent packed it inside their checked baggage.

Interestingly, 84 percent of those respondents indicated they ingested CBD while at the airport, and 65 percent admitted doing so while on a plane.

You may be wondering if CBD is legal in all 50 states. The answer to such a broad question is “no.” The primary criteria regarding legality depend on whether the CBD was derived from a hemp or marijuana plant and if the hemp was grown for industrial or academic purposes.

However, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) still maintains that CBD is illegal, although their motivation to prosecute cases regarding individual use is admittedly low. Adding to the confusion is how each state classifies and regulates hemp and marijuana production.

The majority of respondents – 57 percent – were not concerned about the risk factors of taking CBD into an airport or onto a flight, whereas 43 percent did feel there was some risk involved.

Related: CBD for Calm and Focus

Coming Clean With Fellow Passengers

Our survey results clearly indicate that those who’ve used CBD to relieve travel anxiety are comfortable using and taking the product in the airport or on a plane. The question remains, would you admit to others you used CBD, and are you concerned about the legal implications?

Overall, CBD users were comfortable using the product in front of strangers. Only 27 percent said they were not comfortable, with 27 percent saying “maybe,” and 46 percent, a firm “yes.”

Even though some may be reluctant to admit it, people are often skittish when asked about something they are doing if it’s controversial or not readily understood by others. For those using CBD for travel anxiety, that’s not the case.

Regarding being asked by a stranger on board about taking CBD products, 53 percent had no problem being candid about using it for travel anxiety. Another quarter of respondents said they might be honest about using CBD, with only 22 percent hesitant to reveal such information.

Respondents may be embarrassed about discussing some personal issues, but apparently, their usage of CBD isn’t one, because 83 percent said they would not be embarrassed if a stranger witnessed them using CBD.

Legal issues are another matter, most likely because of the convoluted nature and confusion surrounding the legality of CBD possession and usage.

When asked if they were concerned about legal trouble if a stranger witnessed them using CBD, 68 percent were not, but 32 percent said potential legal problems were something to worry about.

Questions About CBD Legality

Is it legal or illegal to bring CBD products into an airport or take them onto a commercial airplane? The answer depends on who and how you ask. However, it doesn’t appear to be a big issue for our respondents who use CBD products to relieve travel anxiety.

We discovered most people who have brought CBD to an airport or onto a plane are well-informed about laws and regulations concerning possession and usage.

For example, 42 percent weren’t concerned in the least about CBD usage in or around airports. Only 30 were slightly concerned, 14 percent somewhat concerned, and 9 percent moderately so, leaving only 5 percent to be very concerned.

Compounding the issue is the complex interpretation of laws surrounding CBD products and usage. Suffice it to say, having a firm understanding of them is challenging.

An overwhelming majority at 90 percent said they were slightly to very familiar with their state laws covering CBD. That number fell slightly to 81 percent when asked about federal laws and to 66 percent when it came to TSA regulations about CBD.

While the legality of using and flying with CBD continues to be discussed and debated in legal and political circles, 42 percent of respondents were unsure if flying with CBD was legal under federal law. However, the 32 percent who said “yes, sometimes” are correct.

Recent state laws allowing for the growth, possession, and/or usage of CBD remain overshadowed by the fact that marijuana remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug.

Fortunately, the 2018 Farm Bill agreed to by Congress in December of 2018 and signed into law by President Trump legalized industrial hemp, which is defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC. Passage of the bill will allow businesses to grow and cultivate industrial hemp legally, and the DEA will no longer be able to interfere with the manufacturing or transportation of industrial hemp.

However, the 2018 Farm Bill does not give individuals or businesses complete authority to grow hemp at their own discretion, given there are still many restrictions. Those possessing and using CBD products are encouraged to research and understand specific laws and regulations at the local, state, and federal levels, as they are continually changing.

CBD Interest for Travel Anxiety Continues to Increase

Given the changes in federal laws concerning industrial hemp, combined with more people recognizing the product’s many benefits, the market for CBD products will likely increase. Hopefully, that will reduce any anxiety about purchasing or using CBD.

The many benefits of using CBD for travel anxiety and other issues continue to expand. Besides anxiety issues – ranging from mild to severe – other concerns are being researched by medical professionals, some of whom are discovering the positive impact CBD can have on relieving symptoms.

For the latest developments on these and other issues relating to CBD products and usage, we encourage you to make a part of your online reading regimen.


The data in these charts represent information gathered from 510 individuals who have used CBD for travel. All the data in this survey were self-reported, but several steps were taken to ensure accurate data.

To guarantee that respondents took our survey seriously, all were required to pass an attention check. Thirty-seven respondents failed the attention check and were excluded from our analysis. Additionally, to ensure that respondents were truthful about the substances they consumed, dishonest respondents were eliminated through the use of a decoy. 383 would-be respondents reported using a nonexistent treatment method and were excluded from the survey. In total, 930 survey respondents indicated they used CBD for travel; our methods to ensure accuracy narrowed those respondents down to the 510 people reflected in the data presented.

In some cases, questions and answers have been rephrased for clarity. Due to rounding, some percentages may not round up to 100 percent.

Fair Use Statement

Like many travelers, there are times we also experience anxiety before and during air travel. That being said, we certainly aren’t apprehensive about sharing the data we produce. If you find this information interesting and believe your audience will as well, please feel free to share it for noncommercial purposes. For attribution, we request that you link back to the full study on this page.



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