CBD Oil and Hemp Oil: Uses and Future Military Acceptance?
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)?
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?
Is CBD legal for military members?
It is against military regulations for members of the active duty military or currently serving members of the Guard or Reserve to use any CBD products. As of 2022, every military service branch has a regulation banning the use of CBD products.
For example, the Army regulation says “the use of products made or derived from hemp (as defined in 7 USC. 1639o) . regardless of the product’s THC concentration, claimed or actual, and regardless of whether such product may lawfully be bought, sold and used under the law applicable to civilians, is prohibited.”
What to know about CBD, hemp and THC
Here are some things you need to know about CBD, hemp and THC:
- With only trace amounts of THC (less than .3%), it is unlikely you would fail a drug test using hemp/CBD.
- The CBD oil and hemp oil come from the legal, non-psychoactive hemp plant.
- The Cannabis Sativa L produces two types: marijuana and hemp. CBD is produced by both, but THC is not in both.
- Marijuana plants contain enough THC to get users “high;” hemp does not.
CBD is one of many naturally occurring cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis. Yes, this is a product of the same plant family of marijuana and hemp. Cannabis does not mean marijuana. Cannabis is the genus name of the plant family into which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall.
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.
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.
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.
The endocannabinoid system
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.
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.
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.
The legal issues and DoD stances
CBD is legal in the U.S. That does not make it legal for military members, who must abide by Defense Department rules.
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.
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.
Veteran In the business
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:
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
Other veterans in the CBD business
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. As of 2013, the Pentagon was testing troops for Spice use.
Medical studies/reports on CBD oil
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.
If you are considering using the CBD or hemp oils, it is legal to buy online and locally. However, do your research and make sure you select a legitimate seller that adheres to strict third-party and government regulations.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to [email protected]
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Reminder: CBD Oil Remains Illegal for DOD Personnel
Photo By Jeffrey Castro | CID Lookout is a U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command initiative to partner with the Army community by providing a conduit for members of the Army family to help prevent, reduce and report felony-level crime. see less | View Image Page
QUANTICO, VA, UNITED STATES
Story by Ronna Weyland
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division
QUANTICO, VA ( Jan. 11, 2022) – Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, usage and popularity is on the rise across the United States and can be found in food products and everyday household items used for personal hygiene.
While CBD may be legal in most areas, the Army Criminal Investigation Division is reminding the military community that usage and possession is still illegal for Department of Defense personnel.
According to Special Agent Chawn Roundtree, Drug Suppression Team (DST) Team Chief, Fort Belvoir Resident Agency (CID), 3D Military Police GP, all forms of CBD are illegal for Army military and civilian personnel because traces of the Cannabis Sativa plant, can still be found in the CBD Oil.
SA Roundtree, and his team members said the military community may have a misconception that CBD is legal due to recent state law changes. However, it is still illegal to use or possess CBD products on military installations regardless of being a dependent, civilian, or active duty service member.
“It is illegal to introduce drugs, such as CBD on military installations, including through the United States Postal Service,” said SA Roundtree. “This means you cannot order products containing CBD and have them mailed to your on-post residence, regardless of status on the installation.”
Army CID investigates the distribution of controlled substances through the postal system for three purposes: to interdict the flow of controlled substances through the mail system, to identify DoD-affiliated drug violators abusing the mail system, and to deter other potential drug violators from using the mail to distribute controlled substances.
CID officials believe confusion may stem from the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.
According to this legislation, hemp was removed from the federal government’s list of controlled substances and became legal if it contained less than 0.3 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, under federal law, marijuana remains illegal thus making usage prohibited. This includes CBD.
For this reason in February 2020, the Honorable Matthew Donovan, the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the time, released a memo directing all branches of the armed forces to issue regulations or general orders prohibiting the use of hemp products.
Army Regulation 600-85 dated 23 July 2020, states “the use of products made or derived from hemp including cannabidiol CBD, regardless of the product’s THC concentration, claimed or actual, and regardless of whether such product may lawfully be bought, sold, and used under the law applicable to civilians, is prohibited, regardless of the route of administration or use.”
Examples of products that are prohibited include products that are injected, inhaled, or otherwise introduced into the human body; food products, topical lotions and oils; soaps and shampoos; and other cosmetic products that are applied directly to the skin.
The DoD policy on legal and illegal substances is in place to ensure that service members stay healthy, are able to perform their duties, and do not get dishonorably discharged due to drug use.
CID has investigative responsibility for all offenses having an Army interest involving substances listed in Schedule I through Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act, said SA Roundtree.
On April 7, 2021, the Virginia General Assembly voted to approve amendments proposed by Gov. Ralph Northam, making Virginia the 17th in the nation, to legalize cannabis for adults.
The new law took effect on July 1 making it legal for adults to legally possess and share up to one ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to four cannabis plants at their primary residence.
According to SA Roundtree, the Fort Belvoir Resident Agency (CID) DST, which serves both Fort Belvoir, and Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall, has seen an increase since April 2021 of more than double the amount of cases involving THC from the previous two years.
SA Roundtree and his team believes this a direct correlation to the “states legalization of cannabis.”
“It is highly likely other military installations residing in states that have passed this law are seeing similar trends,” said SA Roundtree.
CBD use in the military is punishable under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Failure to Obey a Lawful General Order.