is military allowed to take cbdDecember 15, 2021
Troops have known since last year that most products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, were off-limits, with two of the four DoD services issuing guidance restricting use of any form of CBD, including in supplements, creams, ointments and tinctures.
U.S. troops can now be punished for using products that contain hemp or cannabidiol, according to a Defense Department memo recently made public.
A Coast Guard spokeswoman said Tuesday that the service’s policy to allow food items containing hemp remains in effect. The service falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security and not the DoD.
But the new orders make use of hemp and CBD punitive across all DoD active-duty and reserve component personnel, including the Navy and Marine Corps, whose members were allowed under the Department of the Navy to use topical products like shampoo, lotions and creams.
The order also does not apply to those taking FDA-approved medications that contain CBD or synthetic cannabis, including Epidiolex, Marinol and Syndros.
Although products containing CBD and less than .3% THC are legal in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration does not certify the ingredients of dietary supplements, and in an unregulated market, such products may contain levels of THC that may cause service members to pop positive on a drug test.
If a service member is found to have used a CBD product, it would be punishable under Article 92 of the UCMJ. Exceptions include use by authorized personnel in the performance of medical duties, those who ingest or use hemp and weren’t aware that what they were consuming contained hemp or CBD, and those taking it “pursuant to legitimate law enforcement duties,” according to the memo.
The Coast Guard’s policy restricts ingestion of hemp oil or products made from hemp seed oil but does not include food items that contain hemp ingredients.
Lt. Brittany Panetta added that marijuana and other THC products remain prohibited under federal law, and Coast Guard men and women are not allowed to participate in any event that celebrates cannabis or enter any establishment that sells or promotes such products.
The Air Force and Army have had policies since last year that made use of any CBD product punishable under Article 92.
Since troops can’t determine exactly what they are getting in any CBD product and the DoD can’t practically maintain a list of approved hemp products, all products must be off-limits, Donovan said.
Donovan’s memo, dated Feb. 26, was highlighted Monday in a tweet by the DoD’s Operation Supplement Safety, an initiative within the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences that provides information to service members on dietary supplements.
Since hemp’s legalization, the market for CBD, derived from the hemp plant, has exploded into a $1 billion industry in the U.S., with products touted to help nearly every ache and ailment, from pain and stress to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Donovan said the move was needed to “protect the integrity of the drug testing program.”
In February, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew Donovan directed the services to issue general orders or regulations by March 1 prohibiting the use of products made from hemp under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“I specifically find a military necessity to require a prohibition of this scope to ensure the military drug testing program continues to be able to identify the use of marijuana, which is prohibited, and to spare the U.S. military the risks and adverse effects marijuana use has on the mission readiness of individual service members and military units,” he wrote.
The Navy’s policy restricted ingestible CBD or other hemp products but allowed Marines and sailors to use topical goods.
But according to a Navy official, additional guidance is in the works to align the service’s policy with the memo to apply to all sailors and Marines.
The companies selling CBD oil are permitted to use industrial hemp. Therefore, it is not in contradiction of the Controlled Substances Act, making CBD oil legal and not a substance the Drug Enforcement Administration would consider illicit, because it contains only trace amounts of THC. The hemp growers have to be careful and are highly regulated not to allow the THC values to increase within their substances they sell. The CBD that is produced must have zero THC, which makes it not testable on any drug test.
Henderson created a new company, Extract Labs, that focuses on the “non-alcoholic beer” version of the same products above. The CBD oil products have the same types of ingestion models as above, but with none of the psychoactive effects of the THC type of cannabis.
Do your research on the branch of service and its official stance on hemp or CBD (with no THC). The stances tend to ebb and flow at the speed of politics and military bureaucracy.
You may have heard about products like Spice or K2, which is a synthetic cannabinoid made from chemicals, not from the cannabis or hemp plant, whereas CBD oil is organic, naturally occurring and extracted using natural methods. These chemicals sprayed over such things as tobacco have caused severe side effects, even deaths, and can be two to 100 times stronger than THC.
Because of its placement within the central nervous system, it has impact within the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. These are our “fight-or-flight” or “rest-and-digest” states, respectively, connecting our hormonal responses to stress in life-or-death situations and our recovery from those moments as well.
“Consider this the health and wellness side of the business,” Henderson said. “We have customers who use these products for depression, sleep assistance, PTSD, anxiety, high blood pressure, cancer and pain relief, even severe pain relief.”
These products have been part of the sweeping Defense Department regulations regarding any product related to cannabinoids. Recently, more than 76 people in a New Haven, Connecticut, park overdosed with severe side effects from a “bad batch” of synthetic marijuana. This became a mass casualty event that has nothing to do with hemp, CBD or marijuana for that matter, as it was laced with an opioid.
If you are considering going into this business, you do not necessarily need to move to one of the several states where medical and recreational marijuana are legal. To grow, sell and distribute hemp products, it is easier to live in a state where both medical and recreational marijuana are legal, but some states with agricultural laws allow for hemp to be grown.
However, the Agricultural Act of 2014 allows state agricultural businesses, colleges and universities to obtain permits to extract CBD from industrial hemp. In states where marijuana is legal and the transport across state lines is legal for industrial hemp, the flow of CBD oil or industrial hemp also is considered legal.
Why are cannabinoids like CBD and hemp important? Our body has millions of cannabinoid receptors that are part of the brain, skin and central nervous system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD interacts with the body’s ECS, and our body naturally produces cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids.
I recently asked Army veteran Craig Henderson of Extract Labs about his journey from the military to Colorado and into the world of legal cannabis products. Here are some of those questions and answers:
The legal issues and DoD stances.
Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout our body from our biggest organ — the skin to the brain, digestive tract and throughout the peripheral nervous system. The main purpose of the ECS is to protect the nerve fibers themselves, the immune system and helping to regulate the autonomic nervous system, which impact appetite, sleep, mood, stress and pain.
In this article, we dig into the differences between the two and benefits being tested right now and answer the biggest question: Are these considered marijuana and illegal to use? Here are some things you need to know about CBD, hemp and THC:
However, the non-psychoactive CBD has been gaining popularity throughout the media and scientific community (see links to studies below) with noticeable recovery benefits and without the illegal substances and carcinogens of some forms of marijuana. CDB oil has been shown to help cancer patients and is used to treat many ailments, such as epilepsy, and psychological problems. It has anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
Hemp oil contains phytocannabinoids, but it is not marijuana. Hemp contains more than 80 phytocannabinoids, including CBD. It can be made from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats like Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids, as well as Vitamin E.
Other veterans in the CBD business.
He grew with the business and created methods to distribute and ingest these products, using edibles, creams, oils, vapes and more. This type of the cannabis business was mainly for medical and recreational marijuana users. THC was the product people were seeking at that time in the industry; however, he noticed there are big benefits in non-THC cannabis in products from the hemp plant, such as CBD oil and hemp seed oil.
Natural CBD oil and hemp oil do not contain enough THC to be illegal (or get you high). It is negligible at best, but must be under .3% to be used on the market as hemp or CBD oil. THC is the narcotic in marijuana that give you the “high” (psychoactive effect). THC is illegal within the federal government and military, but legal in some states.
What was the journey from the Army to the legal marijuana business? Henderson was an airborne paratrooper for four years, then decided to use his GI Bill to go to college. After a degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree along the way, he found a path to Colorado, where he started working for a new and legal marijuana company.
Are you aware of the potential healing and recovery properties of cannabidiol, also known as CBD? How about hemp oil? What is the military stance on using such products even if they contain no THC (the psychoactive drug)?
Hemp oil can be used in cooking, shampoos and soaps, and because of the high Vitamin E content, it is an antioxidant that can help the body fight off the catabolic effects of stress. Unlike CBD oil, hemp oil has a nutritional value. It can be consumed in capsule form as well.
Medical studies/reports on CBD oil Anti-inflammatory: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
According to the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana includes any resin from any part of the cannabis plant. This would include CBD and hemp oil.