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The future of American cities looks mighty leafier, thanks to pot-friendly places like California, Colorado, Oregon, and Maine. And while the beauty industry is stocked with balms and creams, the latest legal entry into the space: the plant-powered, nonpsychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) hemp oil. Meaning: this won’t get you high in the traditional sense. Known to help reduce anxiety, inflammation, and pain, these oils are also useful in combating the doldrums of travel—delayed flights, airport crowds, and onboard tension. It’s also a welcome swap for in-flight booze and medications.

But what is it exactly?

First things first, it’s illegal to fly with marijuana—you can brush up on federal law here. And while cannabis plants contain around 100 chemical compounds including THC, the active “high” associated with ingestion, hemp-derived CBD oil offers a bevy of mellowing effects sans the glaring heady buzz.

Within the saturated marketplace, we sampled a quintet of quality brands that adhere to rigorous, third-party testing standards. The leader of the pack: the Stanley Brothers venerable Boulder-based Charlottes Web Hemp Oil, whose namesake origins came from helping treat a 6-year-old’s epileptic seizures. It’s shipped across the country and also part of zeitgeist—you can find inside the stores of LA-based wellness brand Moon Juice; they also dose their alt-milk lattes. Available in three different strengths, Charlotte’s Web touts two golden olive oils: an unflavored silky variety with a grassy herbal taste and a fragrant, semi-sweet mint chocolate.

Meanwhile, the female-owned Soul Addict extracts their earthy oil with C02 and a taste profile resembling unsweetened green tea. “We like to keep it super pure. Some people like to mix it with a little honey or maple syrup if they aren't used to a deep green juice,” says founder Laura White. And just last year, the sweetly-titled Rosebud entered the space with a light, natural cannabis and coconut oil. The creation was born after its founder Alexis Rosenbaum was looking for a transparent, organic, and US-grown product. “After years of battling anxiety and depression, I found cannabis to help with anxiety, leveling mood, and an all-around wellness supplement,” she says.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate in the air. Opting for a vodka soda? Add a droplet of sweet, organically-sourced, Arizona-based 2Rise Natural tincture with coconut oil, vanilla bean, and sunflower lecithin—which also doubles as a welcome addition in coffee and tea. Flavored roasted CBD oil peanuts anyone? Hailing from San Diego, Cordial Organics has two offerings: unflavored Enhance and Balance which uses coconut, whole flower CBD, monk fruit extract, lemon, and peppermint oil, and non-GM sunflower lecithin. If you’re a purist, co-founder Desi McKinnon recommends taking CBD sublingually (under the tongue). “It’s the fastest and most effective manner,” she adds.

Responsible Dosing

Patience, please. “Everyone’s body responds differently with dosing,” notes Rosenbaum. Science says it takes at least a week for cannabinoids to activate in the brain. So, start small and use consistently for your body to adapt to the effects. The instructions are also simple: shake well and administer either a half, or full dropper under your tongue, hold for 30-to-90 seconds and then swallow. For now, you can order online, find at niche beauty shops or on the shelves of your health food store. And, per TSA guidelines: remember to keep travel-bottles under 3.4 oz.


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