No, CBD Oil Won’t Get You Stoned—But It Could Make Travel Less Stressful

Photo Credit: Ted S. Warren

Is it us, or does everything look a little greener these days? With the rise of pot tourism—be it dispensaries from Colorado to Maine or a South Dakota marijuana resort—and the normalization of cannabis (have you heard of Milk Makeup’s newly launched Kush High Volume Mascara?), the U.S. conversation about pot is getting a bit more, well, chill.

The newest trend is the use of CBD (cannabidiol) hemp oil, a non-psychotropic distillation of hemp said to mellow you out without getting you stoned. It’s legal (for now), comes in little bottles you can buy online, and is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Epicurious went so far as to cook with it for a week, adding it to smoothies and soups, and even scrambled eggs.

So we started to wonder… Would CBD work as a stress reliever when you travel? Here’s what we know, and what we tried.

How does CBD work?

Therapeutic uses of CBD—which comes from hemp, a particular strain of the cannabis plant—have been researched for quite some time, because unlike THC, the active compound in marijuana that gives you that “high” feeling of euphoria and intoxication, CBD isn’t psychoactive. It doesn’t significantly alter a person’s state of mind, but it has been known to help reduce pain, inflammation, anxiety, and stress—which makes it a useful tool on the road, especially if you’re afraid of flying. (And who isn’t these days?)

Traveling with CBD

The first thing to understand is that airports, once you hit the security checkpoint, are subject to federal law. You can’t fly with marijuana, period, even if you’re flying from Colorado to California, two pot-friendly states. But you can travel legally with CBD. Remember, CBD is mostly made from hemp, a non-psychotropic strain of the cannabis plant, so it’s not considered the same as THC. It’s still important to properly read the labels on the CBD oils you’re buying, as it can also be derived from hemp’s more psychoactive cousin. As such, many CBD oils on the market can contain trace to large amounts of THC, which could definitely land you in some hot water with TSA.

Every now and then there are moments that can become overwhelmingly stressful and anxiety inducing—delayed flights, turbulence, rushing to your gate prior to departure, or the fact that sometimes it’s just so damn near impossible to fall asleep on a plane. A beauty and wellness movement has begun, encouraging people to swap pharmaceuticals and anxiety medications for more natural approaches, using supplements, essential oils, teas, and of course, CBD oil to help combat the stress of traveling. We decided to join in for a few weeks.

Packing a ‘Daily Hit’

While it has been popping up in many forms—like edibles, vapes, and sprays—one of the most popular ways to absorb CBD is in oil form. Kerrilynn Pamer, co-founder of CAP Beauty, a West Village-based natural beauty and wellness shop, told us, “I travel back and forth between New York and Los Angeles once month, and always take The Daily Hit with me.” Pamer, along with founding partner Cindy DiPrima Morisse, carefully and thoughtfully created The Daily Hit, a CBD oil blend, that I have recently been testing. The Daily Hit is described as a “Cannabinoid + Adaptogenic Inner Wellness Blend” of cannabis sativa oil, avocado and coconut oil, and schisandra fruit and astragalus root. You will also find some extra all natural additives like red reishi mushroom and schisandra berry that help to boost immunity, sea pearl to help nourish the skin, and mucuna puriens, a tropical legume native to Africa and parts of Asia that’s said to be a natural mood enhancer.

The 3.3-oz bottle retails for $96, but Pamer and Morisse suggest adding just a half teaspoon once a day so the TSA-friendly size goes a long way. The directions recommend drizzling it onto soups, smoothies, or even salads to get your recommended dose. Of course, I had to try the oil out in its purest form, so I took my half teaspoon straight and was pleasantly surprised by the silky texture. It runs a bit thinner than an olive oil, but the taste is extremely mild with a few woody top notes that I picked up from the mushrooms.

I typically battle with a restless mind (constantly drafting unanswered e-mails in my head) and CAP Beauty’s CBD oil has tapped into a new level of calmness without feeling like I’m floating away into space. I’ve been getting a better night’s sleep and feel refreshed when I wake up, which I rarely do since I’m not a morning person at all. The lingering effects of relaxation have trickled into my days, making those much better as well. “With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, CBD oil is something easily accessible to anyone with an Amazon account, really,” says Alex Andolina, a cannabis caregiver at Kramer’s Crops in Maine. “I think in the past few years people have really come to accept the idea of cannabis and hemp helping the public and being used to its maximum potential.”

If you’re not completely comfortable traveling with CBD just yet, don’t fret. There are plenty of other natural alternatives to try. “Any adaptogen [herbal supplement that helps the body cope with stress] is great—something calming like Ashwagandha could be a great substitute,” says Pamer. (Ashwagandha is an Indian ginseng and an adaptogen in the nightshade family.) If you do plan on traveling with CBD, it’s important to be mindful of the amount you carry. As with any supplement, it’s good to conduct your own personal research to make sure it’s right for you. THC is classified as an illegal compound under federal law regardless of whether or not you have a valid medical card or if it is legal in the state you are traveling to. Make sure to follow TSA guidelines and if you’re traveling with liquids or oils in your carry-on, make sure they are less than 3.4 ounces to ensure a completely stress-free trip.