For both active service personnel and veterans, CBD has proven to be a crucial lifeline, for many reasons. Many have voiced their support of this natural substance. We’ve seen countless anecdotal claims of support as well as well documented research.
But is CBD in the military technically allowed? Or could active service people find themselves in hot water if CBD shows up on a drug test?
CBD with less than 0.3% THC is legal almost exclusively around the country, so why is this question so complicated? Here’s where we currently stand.
CBD in the Military
Even after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp products with less than 0.3% THC, the Department of Defence (DoD) forbid, albeit unofficially, the use of hemp-derived CBD products for members of the U.S. military.
Back in February, the Department made their stance clear. They established a new policy outlining the use of CBD in the military as a major no-no.
The reason for this? “These legal changes and the resulting introduction of hemp products containing up to 0.3 percent THC in the marketplace create a serious risk to the viability of the military drug testing program for a number of reasons.” In a nutshell, the reason offered is that the risk of exposure to products potentially containing more than 0.3% THC is too great.
And yes, we do understand that there’s some truth to that concern. There are still some issues with companies mislabelling, or not offering true concentrations on their products. The thing is, there are also very reputable companies out there offering 0.3% or lower THC products and being super transparent.
**At the same time, the DoD also issued a memo recommending that criminal provisions for the use of hemp products be added to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). This memo specifically named CBD.
Dun, dun, dun…
Not Backing Down
Thankfully, too many voices have spoken up about this. Now we’re finally starting to see some movement in the right direction.
In July, the House of Representatives approved an amendment to allow military service members to use products containing hemp and hemp-derived products. This includes CBD.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who sponsored the measure, stated, “Secretary of Defense may not prohibit, on the basis of a product containing hemp or any ingredient derived from hemp, the possession, use, or consumption of such product by a member of the Armed Forces” as long as it meets the federal definition of hemp.
This same bill also featured a measure which would allow heads of military branches to issue reenlistment waivers for those who admit to using marijuana, or were convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana offense, once. That alone is great news.
So, yes, as of right now, military personnel may still want to be careful. While CBD may not show up on a drug test, there is a chance. And while we just can’t get behind these prohibitions, it’s better to be safe, in this case at the very least.
CBD in the Navy
What about the Navy? Is this branch also limited by a policy that prohibits the use of CBD?
The U.S. Navy policy ALNAV 074/20 states that “Sailors and Marines are prohibited from using any product made or derived from hemp (as defined in 7 U.S.C. 1639o), including 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,” including all topical products, except prescribed, FDA-approved drugs and “durable goods containing hemp, such as rope or clothing.”
Back in early September, the Navy upped the ante even more. A new amendment specifically forbids any hemp products – including lotions, topical CBD products, even shampoo!
So, yes, Navy Service members are also up the creek…
CBD for Coast Guards
Like the Army and Navy, our National Coast Guards are also feeling the strain.
According to Coast Guard policy ALCOAST 308/20, “Coast Guard members are prohibited from using products made or derived from hemp including CBD, regardless of the product’s THC concentration…, and regardless of whether the product may be lawfully bought, sold, and used under the law applicable to civilians.”
The policy defines “use” as to “inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body (e.g. oral ingestion, smoking/vaping inhalation, topical skin application)” and includes “topical products containing hemp and CBD, such as shampoos, conditions, lotions, lip balms, or soaps….[but] does not apply to the use of durable goods containing hemp, such as rope or clothing.”
CBD in the Military: Final Thoughts
It’s clear that we still have a way to go for full acceptance of CBD in the military. But moves are being made, which is a positive step in the right direction.
Our advice? Going forward, do your research. Check in with your specific branch of service to determine their official stance CBD, and check back regularly. We’re (thankfully) seeing amendments all the time. Our fingers (and toes) are crossed that soon all members of all branches will be able to take advantage. We know the value. So do you.
And finally, above all, if you’re currently serving, or have served in the past, we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your service.