By John Wood
The chance of dying in a plane crash is roughly one in 11 million (according to PBS), which makes flying the safest mode of transportation.This is especially true for commercial air travel: Between 2000 and 2009, an average of 548 Americans died in airplane crashes each year, and 85 percent of those deaths occurred in private airplanes.
Nonetheless, fear of flying is a very real phobia. Some studies put the percentage of Americans who feel some nervousness about flying as high as 40 percent. Estimates from the National Institutes of Health say approximately 6.5 percent have such severe aviophobia (as the phobia is known) that they prefer not to fly at all.
Let’s look at traditional treatments for aviophobia and why CBD may help you cope with it. Plus, we’ll give you “CBD/TSA tips” to help you seamlessly navigate bringing CBD onto an airplane.
What Causes Fear of Flying?
So, what causes aviophobia anyway? Why do people get so nervous about sitting on a chair, zooming through the air 35,000 feet above the Earth’s surface?
One thing that doesn’t help is media coverage. Images of a plane crash can be terrifying, especially if you’ve been on a plane that experienced severe turbulence. Plus, there are several phobias (fear of heights, fear of enclosed spaces, fear of terrorism) all working together to fuel aviophobia.
The symptoms of aviophobia include nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath and irritability.
Your options if you suffer from aviophobia are:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT involves questioning your negative thoughts and emotions with the goal of determining where they are indeed realistic. If they aren’t, the idea is that you correct them and change your negative behavior pattern. Studies have shown that CBT helps people change patterns of thinking that prevent them from overcoming their fears.
Medication. Some people turn to pharmaceuticals to deal with fear of flying symptoms, including anti-anxiety medication such as Valium or Xanax. Common side effects of these medications are muscle weakness, drowsiness, slurred speech, dizziness and lack of coordination. Others turn to motion sickness medication such as Dramamine, whose side effects include drowsiness, constipation and dry mouth/nose/throat.
- Fear of flying course. Many airlines offer fear of flying courses. These are usually group courses that are designed to instill confidence in people by having all their questions answered and sharing their anxiety with other sufferers.
Which brings us to CBD. CBD users have found that it helps alleviate stress, tension and has an overall calming effect on them — all characteristics you need if the thought of flying makes your palms sweat and unsettles your nerves. So it’s only natural to want to take it with you the next time you board a commercial flight.
TSA and CBD
As of May 2019, the TSA started to allow hemp-derived CBD and airplanes. According to the TSA website:
“Marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law, except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA. (See the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334.) TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities.”
CBD/TSA Flying Tips
Here are six tips to keep in mind if you're considering bringing CBD on an airplane.
Tip 1 – Check with the airport. Tell them what you want to do. Ask them what the rules are about taking CBD oil on a plane. There are strict rules concerning liquids and the amount of CBD you can bring with you. For instance, this TSA web page indicates that bottles of liquids 3.4 oz (100 mg) are allowed in carry-on bags, and that any containers larger than that should be put into checked luggage. They do make exemptions for medications, but to qualify you’ll need to bring a medical marijuana license.
Tip 2 – Bring documentation. If you have a medical marijuana license, bring it. Also, bring the certificate of analysis of the product you bought to prove that the content is below 0.3 percent THC.
Tip 3 – Your preference should be to put it in your carry-on bag. This allows you to explain what it is and show the applicable documentation.
Tip 4 – Don’t hide your CBD. This makes it appear as though you’re trying to pull a fast one. Always be upfront with the TSA.
Tip 5 – If you’re traveling internationally, always acquaint yourself with the cannabis laws of the country you’re flying to. If you’re going to a country where cannabis laws are still pretty primitive, it’s not worth the risk. (They include Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Iran, Thailand, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, North Korea, Philippines, Turkey, Costa Rica and Colombia). Keep in mind, some countries still have a death penalty for even small amounts of drugs.
Tip 6 – If you don’t need the CBD in flight, consider shipping it to your destination versus carrying it with you. If you are thinking of shipping CBD to your destination, make sure you understand the legalities involved.
If you believe that CBD’s calming effects will calm your nerves for flying and want to take it with you on your next flight, follow these six tips. When you do, dealing with TSA should go smoothly and your flight will be a much more pleasant experience.