Last updated: November 27, 2023
Service members may be legally able to use CBD products where they’re stationed. However, the Defense Department has spoken and forbids CBD use by any and all military personnel. With a growing number of states legalizing the use of CBD oils, Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act in December 2018. The main purpose was to legalize the cultivation of the hemp plant treating it as an agricultural commodity.
The Federal Government removed cannabidiol (CBD) from the Schedule 1 list. This allowed the floodgates to open in the CBD market. However, manufacturers had already done a pretty good job of flooding the market with products. In fact, CBD oil’s become a billion-dollar industry.
All the rage
CBD products range from coffee additives to vaping liquids. They come in edible forms too, such as candies, cookies, and cream-filled cakes. They supposedly treat an array of medical issues ranging from relieving pain and anxiety to using CBD as a sleeping aid.
The products fly off the shelves.
If they’re legal for use and sold openly in every store you walk into, what’s got the Defense Department in such an uproar?
What’s in that stuff?
Both the hemp and marijuana plants are strains of Cannabis. The hemp plant contains 0.3% or less THC content, however, it’s loaded with CBD. Marijuana, of course, contains a THC content higher than 0.3%, but it has lower CBD levels.
THC is the ingredient that induces psychotropic or euphoric effects in the brain. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t but is useful for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.
Theoretically, CBD oils extracted from the hemp plant contain only minute levels of THC. In fact, there are even products that claim to be THC free on the label. Therefore, CBD products could never contain enough THC to cause someone to pop positive on a drug test.
Unfortunately, reality shoots a giant hole in that theory.
In defense of the Defense Department
The problem with the proclamations and accolades is that there is no regulation in the industry. With no set standards in place by which to measure themselves, no matter what manufacturers say to be true, it’s just a big free for all.
The extraction process collects both CBD and THC from the plant, but not separately. Manufacturers use the concentrated oil for production. Since no testing is required, no one truly knows if THC and CBD level get listed correctly.
That said, those who purchase these products really have no idea what they’re getting.
It’s entirely possible that someone taking CBD products will test positive for marijuana.
Rules and regulations
The only CBD product approved for use by the FDA (Food and Drug Agency) is Epidiolex. This medication controls epileptic seizures and both the Navy and the Air Force allow service members to be prescribed the medication.
The Navy also allows topical use of CBD products, but nothing that’s designed to deliver CBD into the body, such as transdermal patches, for example. However, the Navy strictly prohibits ingesting the stuff.
The Army addresses the issue in their substance abuse program. They strictly prohibit the use of hemp oil, synthetic cannabis, synthetic blends using CBD, and other THC substitutes.
By the book
Short of the FDA stepping in to regulate and approve CBD products, the Defense Department will stand firm.
The Defense Department prohibits CBD use due to the fact that products can contain high levels of THC. Furthermore, it remains illegal under federal law for companies to list CBD as a dietary supplement or to appear in food. Moreover, other than studies regarding the impact of CBD on seizures, there is really no research to support many of the claims made by product manufacturers as to the wonders of CBD.
Patricia Deuster, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Science in Bethesda, Maryland, was quoted as saying, “It’s completely forbidden for use by any service member in any of the services at this point of time.”
In short, if a service member tests positive for marijuana and can’t produce a prescription, they could be discharged.
And, it won’t be honorably.
That means they lose the opportunity to move forward in the military if it’s their chosen career. Moreover, they could lose their veterans benefits.
This includes testing positive for marijuana due to the THC levels found in CBD products.
Looking out for #1
The men and women in the United States military are our country’s first line of defense. They play an important part around the world providing aid to many foreign countries. Many of them continue to move forward in the ranks making the military a lifetime career choice.
We commend them for serving our great country. Becoming a member of the military is a worthy and honorable profession of which they should be proud.
We understand that it can be a stressful profession as well. CBD products claim to help ease anxiety and any number of other medical issues. But, servicemen and women need to reconsider the decision to self-medicate.
Studies proving the positive effects CBD has on the body are minimal, at best. Furthermore, studies showing any possible ill-effects really haven’t been conducted either. However, we do know that THC is being extracted along with CBD.
Until the government puts regulations and set standards into place, don’t expect a change. The chance is slim to none that the industry will self-regulate. The drive to get a piece of the pie probably motivates more often than not.
Many manufacturers care far more about how big their cut will be in the billion-dollar industry instead of caring about providing a top-notch product. Case in point, manufacturers that have no qualms about misrepresenting the product on the label to make a sale.
In other words, their concern isn’t about the quality, but the quantity.
It all boils down to this, risking a career and benefits due to unknowingly ingesting THC when using a CBD product just isn’t worth it.