While many of us may have been confined to our homes for the past year due to the ongoing pandemic, we cannot forget the horrors of long-distance travel and jet lag. While travelling is exciting, long journeys by air mean squishing into uncomfortable seats with little leg space, dragging heavy luggage through airports, and sacrificing precious sleep. Many would do anything to make their extended plane trips less taxing.
With the rising popularity of CBD, several people are now questioning whether CBD could help with travel in any way? While CBD may not be any help with hauling your luggage through security lines, it can help with a familiar problem for any traveller: jet lag.
Jet Lag: What Is It?
Jet lag refers to various symptoms that you experience when you travel across different time zones. These are a result of an imbalance or disruption in your circadian rhythm or natural biological clock. This natural clock allows us all to match our internal systems with the 24-hour day and night cycle.
When this is in balance and properly regulated, your internal rhythm is in sync with the outside world. However, when you fly across different time zones, your body doesn’t have time to adjust and gets confused. Your senses might tell you it’s one time of the day, while your internal rhythm might be working on another altogether.
Jet Lag: Common Symptoms
According to Sleep Foundation, the common symptoms of jet lag include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
- Impaired thinking and concentration problems
- Irritability, unstable mood, and general malaise and uneasiness
- Stomach problems such as constipation, indigestion, or diarrhoea
- Lack of appetite
- Muscle cramps, soreness, and headaches
Travellers with jet lag may experience any of the symptoms listed above. These symptoms can appear immediately or gradually set in a few days after arrival in the new place. They may last anywhere from a few days and, in some cases, even a few weeks.
However, it all depends on the person, as jet lag affects everyone differently. For most people, though, it usually takes a day or two to recover from jet lag symptoms for each time zone crossed.
CBD: Can It Help With Jet Lag?
While it may be difficult to avoid jet lag completely, there are steps you can take to minimise its effects. For one, you can try and cut back on alcohol and caffeine before your travels, as these can disrupt your circadian rhythm. You should also try to stay hydrated and stretch your muscles whenever the opportunity presents itself.
However, despite all these measures, you may still end up suffering from some of its symptoms. This is where CBD may be able to potentially help you. CBD oil and other products like CBD gummies, tinctures, and capsules can be a useful inclusion in your jet lag relieving plan.
Anecdotal evidence by CBD users as well as a variety of animal studies, highlight the many potential health benefits of CBD. These are largely due to CBD’s beneficial interactions with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for regulating important functions like sleep, pain, immune system response, and so on.
Let’s take a look at how CBD may be able to help tackle the various symptoms of jet lag.
1. Sleep Disturbances and Circadian Rhythm
When travelling long distances from east to west, travellers might experience insomnia or fragmented sleep. The circadian rhythm is greatly influenced by exposure to sunlight, and when it is disturbed, you may have trouble remaining asleep or wake up earlier than planned. These symptoms usually manifest after long flights to different time zones because a disruption in the circadian rhythm affects hormones that regulate sleep and other body processes.
While some travellers may take sleeping pills like benzodiazepines to combat these symptoms, these pills can have unsavoury side effects. They are also highly addictive. This is a reason why many are looking into natural health supplements such as CBD, which is non-intoxicating, non-addictive, and safe for consumption.
Some studies indicate that the use of CBD could help in regulating circadian rhythm and in tackling REM sleep disorders. Moreover, according to a recent animal study involving a rat model, it was observed that CBD has calming effects. Surprisingly, it helped reduce daytime drowsiness and kept the male rats alert and active during the day. Therefore, if you’re really struggling with sleep disturbances because of jet lag, you can try taking CBD oil drops and help your internal clock get on track again.
2. Anxiety, Irritability, and Low Mood
These are common symptoms of jet lag, as it disturbs the brain’s cortisol levels. Various studies suggest that CBD may help reduce the levels of this stress hormone, which can ease stress and stabilise mood. CBD interacts with different neurotransmitter receptors and is seen to influence anandamide, a cannabinoid also known as the ‘bliss molecule’. It is also observed to alter serotonin signals, by acting on 5-HT1A receptors, which are primarily targeted in most treatments for anxiety and depression.
3. Inflammation and Minor Aches and Pain
Sitting for long hours on a plane in one position with very little room to move can cause the muscles to become stiff and sore. The longer the journey, the harder it is to avoid any sort of muscle fatigue. The limited space also makes it difficult to stretch your legs or walk around frequently.
Several studies suggest that CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It may also help to alleviate common aches and pains and may work as a muscle relaxant. There is also strong anecdotal evidence by CBD users who claim that CBD balms help reduce muscle and joint pain.
Constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, and nausea are various indigestion symptoms that can occur if you’re travelling long distances. CBD may help ease some of these symptoms, as researchers have recently discovered that CB-1 and CB-2 receptors (both integral components of the ECS) are found in the gut. Since CBD can affect ECS’ receptor activity, it follows that it may potentially help any gastrointestinal problems such as impaired gut motility and so on.
CBD and Legality Issues
While CBD is legal in the UK, and most parts of Europe and North America, it is very important to check its legal status in the country you’re visiting. There are several transport agencies and airports that don’t allow any CBD products in your baggage. To avoid any unpleasant experiences at the airport, always take care to thoroughly research all rules and regulations regarding CBD products before your trip.
Many travellers experience jet lag when travelling long distances and crossing different time zones. While there are several ways you can cope with its many irksome symptoms that can persist anywhere from a few days to even a few weeks, CBD may be able to help you tackle them well. Anecdotal evidence by CBD users as well as several medical studies indicate a variety of potential health benefits of CBD. Just ensure that you thoroughly check the laws and regulations of your destination country before you decide to travel with any CBD products.