The past decade has seen a number of studies suggesting that cannabidiol (CBD) can be used as a tool to help the body fight many of the symptoms inherent in aviophobia and other specific phobias. A 2011 study conducted by Brazilian researchers on human subjects with generalized anxiety disorder found that CBD contains similar anxiolytic properties as benzodiazepines, but none of the habit-forming drawbacks (4). The authors of this study concluded that CBD could help to significantly reduce anxiety by helping the human endocannabinoid system to manage the limbic and paralimbic parts of the brain associated with motivation, sensory processing and instincts. This is wonderful news for anyone suffering from either general or situational anxiety and is looking for a way to curtail their symptoms without the use of harmful prescription medication. Since aviophobia symptoms are virtually indistinguishable from the those of generalized anxiety disorder, it stands to reason that CBD could be used as a means to control the temporary condition that arises when a sufferer takes a flight. At the very least, CBD should be viewed as a possible tool in an arsenal of ammunition against aviophobia and other specific phobias.
One final item to address is the legality of bringing CBD onto a commercial flight. The good news is that hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states and can be brought onto an airplane without a medical marijuana card (5). The bad news is that TSA will likely not recognize CBD as a medication, and since the majority of CBD products are in liquid (oil) form, they are subject to the same security requirements as normal liquids such as shampoo and contact lens solution. TSA’s official stance is that solid and pill forms of medication can be carried through security in unlimited amounts, and liquid forms of medication can be carried in excess of the typical 3.4 oz. requirement for other kinds of liquids (6). Because CBD is not technically considered a medication, the best option is to carry it through security in quantities less than 3.4 oz.
CBD and Airport Security
Could CBD help you? Does CBD help with anxiety? Does fear of flying stem from anxiety? What is the current understanding of CBD for anxiety?
Still, many people who have anxiety turn to CBD for help.
A true phobia is a fear that sticks around despite you knowing that it is illogical. If you have a true fear of flying, it doesn’t matter how many times you run the numbers. It doesn’t matter whether or not you understand that being on a plane is significantly safer than driving on the highway. There is no way that you can overcome the fear as it is implanted in your brain. Some people might say that you will get used to it, or they might give us the advice to overcome it. But in reality, these fears are internal and have nothing to do with overcoming it naturally.
While nothing is certain, sources like The Cut believe that CBD will soon become a fairly common tool for fighting anxiety. Most likely, people will also use it to treat other disorders. This may not happen next year or even the year after that. Still, CBD’s successes in animal testing and in human testing offer a lot of promise.
However, irrational as they may be, the fears feel very powerful to the person experiencing the fear response. In many cases, it seems like the fearful person can do nothing about it. If they don’t know what causes it, it’s hard to figure out how to resolve it.
In some cases, people may have gotten sick or been with someone who became ill on a plane. Situations like that can be very stressful and traumatic. The other passengers may carry this trauma with them and associate the bad, scared feelings they felt with flying itself. It may not be the plane’s fault at all, but if the two events get associated together, that is hard to combat and separate later.