CBD is proving effective at treating or soothing an impressive range of conditions, both large and small, from arthritis to anxiety to acne. Could it also be helpful in treating the common traveller’s malady, jet lag?

WHAT IS JET LAG?

Jet lag is the set of symptoms which occur when you travel across time zones and your body’s circadian rhythm is disrupted. The circadian rhythm is a biological process that allows living creatures to match their internal systems with the day/night cycles of the planet. Animals’ circadian rhythms play key roles in regulating brain waves, core body temperature, hormonal activity, and cellular health. In humans, melatonin and cortisol play key roles in regulating our circadian rhythms.

When you travel across time zones, your body’s wires get crossed. Your circadian rhythm is telling you it’s one time of day, while your senses are telling you it’s another.

Jet lag often causes sleep disturbances and poor quality of sleep. When going from west to east, travellers can experience insomnia, and when going from east to west, travellers might experience early awakening, or trouble remaining asleep. Jet lag can cause impaired cognitive performance, decreased focus, irritability, fatigue, muscle soreness, and headaches. It can also cause gastrointestinal problems, including indigestion, constipation, and lack of appetite. Jet lag can be exacerbated by travel fatigue, which are symptoms unrelated to jet lag caused by travel conditions like cramped limbs, dehydration, loss of sleep, and time spent in a low-oxygen environment.

Many travellers don’t experience jet lag unless travelling over more than three one-hour time zones. However, some travellers report jet lag after moving over a single time zone. One “rule of thumb” is that it takes a day to recover for each one-hour time zone crossed; it’ll take three days to recover from crossing three time zones. However, jet lag affects different individuals differently, so claims like this should be taken with a grain of salt.

Jet lag tends to be more severe when moving from west to east than east to west. As you get older, you may become more susceptible to jet lag.

CBD Jet Lag Sleep

HOW TO PREVENT JET LAG

There are a few steps you can take to prevent and minimise jet lag. Leading up to your flight, try to shift your sleep schedule so it more closely resembles the time zone of your destination. Cut back of caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes before and during your trip, as these substances are all known to disrupt your circadian rhythm. While travelling, make sure to stay hydrated, eat healthy, and stretch your muscles. Once you arrive at your destination, spend plenty of time outdoors and in the sun to “jolt” your body into the new routine.

USING CBD TO TREAT JET LAG

Even if you follow the above tips, you still may experience jet lag, especially if you’re travelling across a large time difference. If this is the case, you may want to consider treating your jet lag with CBD. CBD seems almost tailor-made for jet lag, as it addresses virtually all its symptoms.

We’ll go through each, one by one, and see how CBD can be of benefit.

Melatonine and Cortisol Production

SLEEP DISTURBANCES

Some jet lag sufferers attempt to treat the condition by resorting to sleeping pills like benzodiazepines. These cause a host of side effects like weakness, depression, irritability, and headaches, and are highly addictive. Others might try taking exogenous melatonin to help regulate their sleep cycles. Melatonin can be effective for many people, but it doesn’t work for everyone and for a minority can be tolerance forming. If these options aren’t right for you, consider treating your jet lag with CBD.

CBD is a calming cannabinoid—though not sedative—and can help you achieve a more restful slumber. Strangely enough, CBD can also help reduce daytime sleepiness, keeping you alert during the day. CBD may improve your body’s circadian functioning, allowing you to sleep more deeply at night and increasing your wakefulness by day. Studies showing that CBD is effective at treating REM disturbance sleep disorders support this hypothesis.

ANXIETY AND IRRITABILITY

Jet lag can also cause anxiety and irritability as it disrupts your brain’s cortisol levels. CBD helps regulate your brain’s cortisol, as well as its GABA, dopamine, and serotonin, helping you return to a calm and content baseline.

INFLAMMATION AND PAIN

CBD has been shown to reduce muscle pain and help fight inflammation. If you’re experiencing physical issues due to jet lag, CBD may be exactly what you’re looking for.

CBD oil Jet Lag

DIGESTION

CBD has been shown to be effective at soothing a number of gastrointestinal problems, including ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel diseases. This is due in part to the recently discovered presence of CB1 receptors throughout the GI tract, leading researchers to posit the existence of an endogenous cannabinoid system in the digestive system. CBD has been shown to reduce gastrointestinal motility, a term used to refer to contractions or dysregulations in gut muscles. If you’re suffering from jet lag-related digestive issues, give CBD a try!

COGNITIVE ABILITY

Those who work while travelling might be especially frustrated by cognitive impairment associated with jet lag. There’s a lack of research on the short-term effects of CBD at improving cognition, but there’s indirect evidence that it may be of benefit. Oxidative stress is known to cause cognitive impairment, and may be associated with jet lag. CBD reduces oxidative stress in the brain, and has been shown to reverse cognitive deficits related to oxidative stress in rats. CBD also reduces inflammation of the brain, which could further help improve cognition. It is neuroprotective, which can help guard the brain against damage from jet lag.

CBD Jet Lag

QUESTION OF LEGALITY

The major potential side effect of using CBD for jet lag isn’t medical: it’s legal.

If you’re planning to use CBD to treat your jet lag, make sure you check to see if CBD is legal in your destination country. Many areas still criminalise CBD, so if you show up touting your tincture bottle at the airport, you may find your jet lag treatment coming with a side effect of legal charges.

If your destination country is a-okay with CBD, then there’s little downside to using this cannabinoid in attempt to treat jet lag. You’ll be hard pressed to find another substance that addresses jet lag’s particular combination of mental, digestive, sleep-related, and musculoskeletal issues with little-to-no side effects.

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