The US Military's CBD Phobia

CBD Banned in US Military

CBD (cannabidiol) is a trending health and wellness supplement that was legalized in the United States in 2018.

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CBD is currently being studied for a variety of potential medical uses including for the treatment of: anxiety, depression, acne, hypertension, chronic pain, PTSD, inflammation, insomnia, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and epilepsy.

CBD is also being studied in the skincare industry for its anti-aging benefits.

CBD comes with virtually no side effects, making it an attractive option as the country strives to move away from traditional painkillers.

 Regardless of its legalization and potential health benefits, CBD continues to be off-limits for all military and federal employees.

“The @DeptofDefense has a zero tolerance policy for the illegal or improper use of drugs by service members, which includes CBD oil,” tweeted Military Health System in January 2020.

Keep in mind CBD oil is what my 65-year-old mother uses to ease arthritis pain in her fingers. 

The Pentagon’s opposition to CBD seems to stem from misinformation about THC (the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana) as well as fears that CBD could interfere with other medications.

Legal CBD products contain no more than 0.3% THC, but since CBD is not yet regulated by the FDA, there is no way to be certain that what’s on the label is accurate.

“Bottom line, even if legal on the state level, and even if the label of the CBD product states there is no THC content, CBD use remains prohibited for military members,” says Air Force Captain Marcus Walker. “Air Force policy prohibits all marijuana derivatives, including hemp. If they use it, they risk a positive result for THC on a drug test, and as a result, they could ultimately face administrative or criminal action.”

Mr. Walker is clearly misinformed here, as hemp is not a marijuana derivative, but a separate plant altogether.

CBD comes from industrial hemp, a member of the cannabis plant family that contains very little THC. Industrial hemp cannot be used as a recreational drug. It is impossible to get high using industrial hemp.

Marijuana is a different plant in the cannabis family that contains between 5% and 30% THC and as little as <1% CBD.

It is possible, but not common, to extract CBD oil from the marijuana plant. This is called “cannabis oil” and it does contain higher amounts of THC. Cannabis oil is sold at dispensaries in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana use is legal.

Based on the way CBD is extracted and produced, it is almost impossible that a store-bought CBD product would contain enough THC to make you “high” unless the producer intentionally mislabeled the product. This would never happen, because it would represent lost profits for the producer.

Even so, the military seems to be convinced that its member are going to accidentally get high by using CBD products.

“It’s a real conundrum, and it’s going to be a major issue for the military because is it available,” argues Patricia Deuster, director of the Human Performance Lab at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. “You go into any store, and you can find gummy bears with a supplement fact panel on it.”

It seems the military will continue to oppose CBD until it is fully regulated by the FDA. We can only hope this happens soon, as CBD holds vast potential to treat PTSD and several other illnesses suffered by members of the armed forces.

Have you tried in CBD products? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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