Seniors Take to the Skies - Can CBD Help with Travel Woes?

Older adults are back on the road and traveling by car, train, boat, and plane. Whether traveling on their own or with loved ones, travel for some seniors can be complicated by health and anxiety problems. There are ways to make it easier.

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Seniors Take to the Skies - Can CBD Help with Travel Woes?
10 Min Read July 5th, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on travel for many people, but older adults were particularly affected. According to a study by the National Travel and Tourism Office, travel by adults aged 65 and older declined by 50% in 2020.

However, as the virus crisis has eased, older adults are starting to travel again. A recent survey by AARP found that 70% of older adults plan to travel in 2023.

The number of older adults traveling on their own is also increasing. In 2020, only 30% of older adults traveled without companions. However, that number is expected to increase to 40% in 2023.

Of course, older adults may face some health and physical issues when traveling. For example, they may be more susceptible to fatigue, shortness of breath, and other health problems. They may also need help walking long distances or climbing stairs.

However, there are several things that older adults can do to make their travel experience more enjoyable and safer. They should talk to their doctor before traveling to make sure they are healthy enough to travel. They should also pack comfortable clothing and shoes and take breaks often when walking or climbing stairs.

Overall, the number of older adults traveling is on the rise. And as more and more older adults start to travel, the travel industry is starting to cater to their needs. There are now a number of travel companies that specialize in trips for older adults, and there are also a number of resources available to help older adults plan their trips.

CBD and Older Adults

Traveling can be a great way to experience new cultures and places but it can be stressful. Some seniors, or their families, are suggesting ways to make travel easier. One way is the use of CBD which has increased as laws have been relaxed. Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, may offer some benefits for older travelers, such as reducing anxiety and stress and promoting better sleep.

According to a recent study by the AARP, the use of CBD by older adults has increased by 50% in the past two years. This is likely due to a number of factors, including increased awareness of CBD's potential health benefits, the legalization of CBD in many states, and the availability of CBD products in a variety of forms.

CBD can be a helpful supplement for some older adults who travel, as it can address anxiety, ease discomfort, support better sleep, and manage age-related health conditions. It's likely that CBD's cousin, THC, will see the same kind of popularity surge in the coming years. According to's guide to THC edibles, hemp-derived THC is now legal across the country and has many of the same benefits. 

Unique Challenges Faced by Older Adults During Travel

Some older adults face unique challenges when traveling, such as increased anxiety about unfamiliar surroundings and new experiences, mobility limitations that make it difficult to navigate airports, train stations, and other transportation hubs, and age-related health conditions that can be exacerbated by travel, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Reducing Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress are part of traveling no matter your age, but the additional challenges many older adults face when travelling can easily increase stress levels. 

CBD has been shown to have calming effects on the nervous system. A 2019 study published in the journal Neuropharmacology found that CBD effectively reduced anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder. Another study published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology in 2020 found that CBD could help reduce stress in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Studies indicate that it may help reduce anxiety levels and stress responses.

Promoting Better Sleep

Many travelers struggle with maintaining quality sleep while on the go. CBD's influence on sleep regulation may help improve sleep quality by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is involved in various physiological processes, including sleep. CBD may also help enhance the quality of sleep.

A 2019 study published in the journal Sleep Medicine found that CBD effectively improved sleep quality in people with insomnia. Another study published in the journal Scientific Reports in 2020 found that CBD could help reduce sleep disturbances in cancer patients.

Cannabis for insomnia can be an excellent option for weary travelers seeking restful sleep. CBD's calming effects may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Alleviating Discomfort and Pain

According to the National Institute on Aging, about two-thirds of adults over the age of 65 experience pain, and the prevalence of pain increases with age. Pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including arthritis, injuries, and chronic medical conditions. It can also be a side effect of medications.

Pain can have a significant impact on older adults' quality of life. It can make it difficult to sleep, eat, and participate in activities. It can also lead to depression and anxiety. Traveling often involves long periods of sitting or standing, leading to discomfort and pain. Cannabidiol has the potential to serve as a natural analgesic, providing relief for travel-related aches and pains.

The effectiveness in managing pain can be found in numerous studies. For example, a 2018 study published in the journal Pain found that CBD effectively reduced pain in people with chronic pain. Another study published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology in 2020 found that CBD could help reduce pain in people with arthritis.

Managing Nausea and Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is caused by a mismatch between the signals from the eyes, inner ear, and body. This can happen when traveling in a car, plane, boat, or other moving vehicle. Symptoms of motion sickness can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headache.

Older adults are more likely to experience motion sickness than younger adults. This is because the inner ear, which is responsible for balance, can become less sensitive with age. Additionally, older adults may be more susceptible to dehydration, which can also contribute to motion sickness.

For those prone to nausea or motion sickness during travel, CBD's antiemetic properties may provide relief. Studies on CBD and nausea relief have shown that it can effectively reduce feelings of queasiness and vomiting.

How CBD Can Specifically Benefit Older Travelers

CBD benefits can particularly benefit older travelers, who may be more susceptible to anxiety, stress, pain, and sleep disturbances. Here is a quick review of some of the benefits CBD can provide for senior travelers:

Addressing Anxiety and Stress

Traveling can be a stressful experience for anyone, but it can be especially so for older adults. They may worry about getting lost, falling ill, or experiencing other unexpected difficulties. CBD can help reduce anxiety and stress by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, which regulates mood, pain, and sleep.

Ease Travel Discomfort

Long periods of sitting or standing during travel can lead to discomfort and pain, especially for older adults. CBD has the potential to serve as a natural analgesic providing relief for travel-related aches and pains.

Better Sleep Improving Travel Experience

Sleep quality is crucial for overall well-being, but maintaining a healthy sleep schedule while traveling can be challenging. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has been shown to have sleep-promoting effects. CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating sleep.

There is some evidence to suggest that CBD can help improve sleep quality. A small study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that CBD effectively reduced sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) and improved sleep quality in people with insomnia.

More research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBD on sleep. However, the available evidence suggests that CBD may be a promising natural remedy for travel-related sleep problems.

Managing Age-Related Health Conditions While Traveling

CBD demonstrates potential advantages for various age-related health conditions, such as arthritis, neurodegenerative disorders, and cardiovascular problems. Older travelers who incorporate CBD into their wellness routines may experience relief from symptoms associated with these conditions, making their journeys more enjoyable and comfortable. Using marijuana as medicine can help older adults make the most of their travel experiences by promoting relaxation, comfort, and overall well-being.

Legal Considerations and Safety

When considering CBD use for senior travelers, it is important to be aware of the legal and safety implications. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • CBD's legal status in different locations: It is crucial to be aware of the legal status of CBD in your destination country, as regulations can vary widely. For example, in the United States, CBD derived from hemp with less than 0.3% THC is legal at the federal level. However, some states have stricter regulations or ban CBD altogether. For example, Illinois' cannabis law, for instance, the use of CBD products with less than 0.3% THC is permitted, similar to federal law in the United States. However, some states have stricter regulations or ban CBD altogether. Indiana has some of the most stringent CBD laws in the country. CBD products are only legal if they contain less than 0.03% THC. This is much lower than the federal limit of 0.3% THC. To avoid potential legal problems while traveling, always research and comply with the specific CBD regulations in each country you visit.
  • Traveling with CBD products: Before traveling with CBD products, thoroughly research your destination's local regulations and laws. You can start by contacting a local cannabis dispensary for advice or searching reputable online resources for information about CBD-related legalities in the country you are visiting. By doing this, you can ensure a smooth trip while staying compliant with the laws of the land. 
  • Ensuring product quality and safety: Purchasing CBD products from reliable sources is important to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Look for products that have been third-party tested, which verifies their purity, potency, and safety. Your local cannabis dispensary can be helpful for information about product quality and testing methods. By relying on their expertise, you can make well-informed choices about the CBD products you decide to buy.

Practical Tips for Traveling with CBD

To make the most of your travel experience with CBD, consider the following practical tips:

  • Research local regulations: Before embarking on your journey, research the CBD laws and regulations in your destination country to avoid any potential legal issues. This includes understanding local restrictions on cannabis and its medical uses.
  • Pack and store CBD products securely: Ensure that your CBD products are packed securely and stored in a cool, dry place to maintain their quality and effectiveness throughout your trip.
  • Understand proper dosage and usage: Consult with your medical provider or a knowledgeable staff member at your local cannabis dispensary to determine the appropriate dosage and usage of CBD products for your specific needs. Start with a low dose and gradually increase it as needed, paying close attention to how your body responds.

Always Check Laws and Consider Health

CBD can offer a variety of benefits for travelers, including reducing anxiety and stress, promoting better sleep, alleviating discomfort and pain, and managing nausea and motion sickness. 

When traveling with older adults, CBD can provide additional support for the unique challenges faced by seniors. However, it is important to note that CBD laws vary from state to state. In some states, CBD is legal for recreational use, while in others, it is only legal for medical use. 

The laws surrounding CBD vary dramatically from country to country. In some countries, CBD is legal and can be purchased over the counter. In other countries, CBD is illegal or only available with a prescription. Researching the laws in the country you are visiting is important before traveling with CBD.

For example, CBD is illegal in Russia, and possession can result in a prison sentence. This is the case for American basketball player Brittney Griner, who was arrested in Russia in February 2022 for possessing CBD oil. She faced up to 10 years in prison before a negotiated release.

If you plan to travel to a country where CBD is illegal, it is best to leave it at home. You can also contact the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to get more information about their CBD laws.

It is important to note that even if CBD is legal in the country you visit, it may still be illegal to bring it into the country. 

Individual health issues should also be considered. Always check with a doctor if you or a senior loved one is considering using CBD for travel.

By staying informed and taking proper precautions, you can enjoy the potential benefits of CBD while ensuring a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

Get Ready and Travel

Overall, the number of older adults traveling is on the rise. And as more and more older adults start to travel, the travel industry is starting to cater to their needs. There are now a number of travel companies that specialize in trips for older adults, and there are also a number of resources available to help older adults plan their trips.

Here are some additional tips for older adults who are planning to travel:

  • Start planning early. This will give you time to research your destination, book your flights and accommodations, and get any necessary vaccinations or medical clearance.
  • Choose a destination that is easy to get around. Avoid destinations with a lot of walking or stairs, and choose destinations with good public transportation or Uber/Lyft options.
  • Pack light. You won't need as much luggage as you used to, and carrying heavy luggage can be difficult.
  • Take breaks often. Don't try to do too much in one day. Take breaks to rest, eat, and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Stay hydrated. It is important to stay hydrated, especially when traveling in hot weather.
  • Listen to your body. If you start to feel tired or unwell, take a break or rest.

With a little planning, older adults can enjoy safe and enjoyable travel experiences and do so with less discomfort, stress, and anxiety.

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About the Author

Marcus Howard is a writer with years of experience in the field of alternative health. He has written extensively on a variety of topics, including CBD, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and the use of alternative health options for older adults.

LTC News Contributor Marcus Howard

Marcus Howard

Contributor since July 5th, 2023

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As we age, it's natural to experience some changes in our health. We may develop chronic conditions, become frailer, or need assistance with daily activities. But these changes shouldn't dictate our lifestyle. We can still enjoy life and travel, even if we need long-term health care.

With a support system in place, including family, friends, or health care professionals, can make a big difference in our quality of life as we age.

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