Now that marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational use in Canada and some other US states, a lot of people have been turning to the magical leaf for a relief (there’s a pun there somewhere).
Marijuana has a bad rep, but cannabis is known for its pain relieving and relaxing qualities. Chronic pain sufferers use it for medication. And some migraine sufferers like myself only find relief in the plant. For that, I am ever grateful for it.
What are the Effects of Weed on the Body?
Along with migraine sufferers, marijuana has been given as medication to aid in a variety of conditions from cancer to depression.
What is it about weed that makes people feel so much better? To understand that, let’s look at two of its components.
THC and CBD
Cannabis contains both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabidol).
While THC is responsible for the typical ‘high’ feeling associated with pot, both THC and CBD are, what reports say causes pain relief.
THC interacts with your brain’s cannabinoid receptors (cannabinoid occurs naturally in the body) which triggers the brain’s reward system which, in turn, causes relief.
CBD, on the other hand, won’t get you high, but it still interacts with your brain to help promote pain relief. CBD also helps in causing anti-inflammatory effects.
Marijuana Side Effects
It’s always safer to know the risks. If you’re consuming marijuana with THC, you can expect changes in your mood.
Users have reported feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and hunger (the infamous munchies).
And while these are harmless, depending on the strain or the person, users can also feel paranoid, or anxious.
This can be surprising, especially since cannabis is supposed to help these symptoms, but not everyone and not all strains are the same.
There are other side effects like slower reaction times when it comes to marijuana so be sure to consider these if you are new to cannabis.
Cannabis in Canada
Marijuana became legal in Canada for recreational use under the Cannabis Act on October 17, 2018.
Even before prohibition ended, Canada has been known as a place to light up. Now, with the Cannabis Act passed, you can expect canna-tourism to boom.
Canadians alone are expected to spend billions on marijuana this year. A hike in tourism is also expected, as travellers head to Canada for a greener experience.
Even with some legalized US States, there are still risks that come with marijuana and travel.
Can I Fly with Weed?
The short answer is yes, within Canada. If you are flying within Canada, you can have up to 30 grams of marijuana on a domestic flight.
Cannabis is not allowed on international flights and recreational marijuana is still illegal under federal law in the United States.
This means that even when flying to states where weed is legal, you won’t be allowed to carry your stash with you.
Travellers bringing weed with them from Canada to the US can incur charges, seizure, arrest and denial of admission into the United States.
Can I Cross the Border with Weed?
The above also means, of course, that you cannot bring marijuana with you over the United States border lines, even by car.
The US Border Patrol has specifically stated rules for travel in relation to marijuana.
Cannabis for Travel
Now that we understand a little more about what marijuana does and its laws, we can dive into how it assists with travel.
With legalization happening in North America, the cannabis market is producing more and more products.
This means you’ll find more strains on the market today, as well as a variety of products from oils to bath bombs infused with cannabis.
Various cannabis products that are beneficial for pain relief can be just as effective when travelling.
Sativa vs Indica
Before taking cannabis as an aid for travel, pain, or anxiousness, you should first consider the types of cannabis that are available.
Cannabis commonly breaks down into a few categories for consumption. The main two are sativa and indica.
Sativa strains usually energize, uplift, and stimulate. Indica strains, on the other hand, do quite the opposite.
Indicas tend to cause relaxation, sleepiness, and calmness.
There’s also a hybrid category with a combination of both indica and sativa strains. They can lean heavier to one side, or have an equal balance of the two.
While there’s a lot that goes into classifying cannabis, this is the most common, and most basic way of doing so.
Here’s a little more information on how cannabis affects the body.
The Benefits of Cannabis For Travel
Whether you’re finding it hard to get some shut-eye after a day in the sky, or your new surroundings trigger pain, using cannabis (in places where it’s legal), can help aid disruptions.
Since weed relaxes you, marijuana can also be helpful to those who find it hard to settle down in new locations.
Especially when you’re on vacation, it can be hard to fully embrace your new surroundings if you’re feeling uncomfortable.
Indica-hybrids or lighter indica products will help in allowing your muscles, body, and mind to relax so you can get the most out of your time away from home.
Getting Some Shut Eye
If you’re finding it hard to relax when you’re out of town, you might be finding it hard to sleep too.
On the other hand, some travellers can’t sleep when they’re away from their own bed, no matter how relaxed they are.
Indica products are perfect for this. Heavier indicas can make you not only super relaxed, but sleepy too.
This can help you get a better night’s sleep so you’re ready for adventure the next day.
Battling Travel Anxiety
Let’s face it. There’s a lot that comes with travel. From planning, to rushing through airports, to having to deal with being in an entirely new environment.
Whether you’re used to travelling or not, there are a variety of things that can trigger anxious feelings in travellers. A sativa product can help with anxiousness without taking away your energy.
That being said, some sativas can cause anxiety, so be sure to do your research on the type of product before purchasing.
A sativa-hybrid can also be a better choice in combating anxiety, and you can also consider CBD products as well.
Speaking of energizing sativas, they’re also great for getting a bit of a boost when travel has you tuckered out.
Sativa products or sativa-hybrid products are great for the daytime, and won’t leave you feeling lazy or sluggish.
CBD-only products are also great for giving a small boost of energy without the ‘high’ feeling.
I’ve mentioned that I’m a migraine sufferer, and would recommend those with chronic pain to consider cannabis to help with stressful situations like travelling.
I know that something like a migraine can ruin an entire trip. But, having medication that you know works will help in battling conditions like migraines and chronic pain while on the move.
If you’re in a legal country or state, packing some of your medication with you will help you relax since you know you have some relief.
Should your pain flare up, you’ll be able to take care of it without worry.
Getting on an airplane, boat, or train can trigger a bout of anxiety in some.
For that reason, some recommend taking a dose of cannabis to help get through it all.
Instead of gripping onto your seat in fear, cannabis in forms like CBD oil can help relax your nerves and mind.
How to Use Cannabis for Travel
This isn’t a how-to guide on how to roll your first joint, or bake a space-cookie.
As a matter of fact, if you’re no smoker or baker, there other ways to get the benefits of cannabis for home or for travel.
You can find CBD-only products on the market to avoid a fuzzy head high, yet still, give you the pain-relieving benefits of cannabis.
Since cannabis leads to stress-relief, it can be a great travel aid.
Also, if you’re travelling to a location where marijuana is illegal, the following CBD options may be more up your alley.
Again, be sure to do your research on what your destination deems legal, as some products very high in CBD might still be banned.
Cannabis oil is popular option if you’re opting out of smoking or eating edibles.
It’s basically concentrated cannabis. It’s most commonly found in CBD form and is used for medicinal and pain-relieving purposes.
Cannabis oil can be used for baking and cooking, but is mostly packaged in a tincture bottle.
You can take your dosage directly from the bottle, or you can mix it into tea, coffee, or even hot cocoa.
You can find capsules (pills) with CBD and THC which makes it easy to take with you on the go.
If you don’t like the taste of cannabis but still appreciate its healing effects, this option may also be more appealing to you.
Cannabis capsules usually contain cannabis oil, pre-measured for easy dosing. This makes it easy to know just how much you’re taking to avoid guesswork.
Remember that potency will vary from vendor to vendor so it’s always best to start with one.
Balms and Lotions
With the boom of the cannabis industry, you can also easily find topical products like lotions, serums, and balms infused with cannabis.
Most of these products are infused with CBD and can relieving if you’re suffering from aches and pains on areas of your body.
Cannabis topicals are mostly applied to the temples, neck, feet, shoulders, and joints.
A Word on Flying High
While this article mentions that cannabis can indeed insist with the stresses of travel, getting on a flight while under the influence of cannabis may not be everyone’s perfect experience.
There are some factors that can make being under the influence of THC while at an airport, or while in an airplane more stressful.
People can easily forget that weed is legal, especially when facing a large security guard at the airport, which can cause a bout of anxiety and nervousness if THC is involved.
Depending on the person, being stuck on an airplane while under the influence of THC can cause anxiety.
If you’re unaccustomed to the effects of cannabis, you may want to stick with CBD products if you plan on flying.
Cannabis can cause dehydration, and so can flying, so be sure to properly hydrate as well.
Have you tried using cannabis for travel?
Lily Hall is a freelance journalist, travel blogger, and creative writer from Montréal, Quebec. She is the author of “50 Travel Tips From a Local – Paris, France” and owner of travel inspiration website “Anchoring Away” where she continues to inspire others to explore the world no matter the budget. When she’s not writing you can find her watching penguin videos or attempting aerial gymnastics.