is cbd oil authorized for use among military

2022 Active Military CBD Policy

Despite its widespread popularity and several studies claiming its potential benefits, CBD oil is a prohibited substance within the Department of Defence workforce. It is illegal at the federal level for active military members to consume CBD.

Though consuming a CBD product with less than 0.3% THC is legal in all 50 states, article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice clearly states that using, possessing, and distributing any product derived from the cannabis plant is prohibited for military members at all times and all places.

Explore more about the 2022 CBD policies of different military branches in the following sections.

What Is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring substance extracted from the Cannabis Sativa plant. From coffee additives to candies, oils, tinctures, vapes, and even chocolates and bath bombs, cannabidiol is widely popular throughout the country.

While CBD is derived from the infamous marijuana plant, several studies have shown that it is not intoxicating, unlike marijuana.

This means that you cannot get high with CBD, even if consumed in vast quantities. Despite this proven fact, CBD is still prohibited for consumption and possession because it comes from the marijuana plant.

As well as being non-intoxicating, CBD has anti-pain, anti-acne, anti-redness, anti-inflammation, and anti-cancer properties. Additionally, the compound can also be used to treat anxiety, depression, autism, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and even some psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia.

CBD Military: Army CBD Policy 2022

According to Katina Oates, the US Army Substance Abuse Program Manager, “CBD is a federally legal substance, and its consumption, possession, and distribution is prohibited for the DOD workforce.”

Section 2P of the AR 600-85 regulation (The Army Substance Abuse Program), dated July 23, 2020, prohibits army soldiers from consuming hemp or oils containing hemp, regardless of the THC content. Also, controlled substances like synthetic cannabis, THC cannabis, or any other substance that mimics similar effects on the human body are prohibited within the workforce.

All DOD civilian employees are also prohibited from consuming any of the above-stated substances in accordance with the Army CBD Policy 2022.

Oates also said that the widespread availability of CBD is not to be confused with its legality status because the industry is highly unregulated and many products contain THC as well. The FDA also has limited oversight on this substance’s production, exposing troops to pesticides, mold, and heavy metals.

CBD Military: Navy CBD Policy 2022

In 2018, the President passed the Law of Agriculture Improvement Act, removing all hemp-based products from the list of controlled substances. This led to the overall popularity and availability of CBD-infused products throughout the country.

The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate this industry, so some sellers might sell products containing more than 0.3% THC, illegal in the United States. If consumed in vast quantities, this can come out positive in a drug test.

Some products are packaged and mislabeled, so marines and sailors should not rely on this information; they may return positive on a drug test. In addition, the Department of Navy (DON) prohibits its workforce from consuming CBD in any form, including inhaling, ingesting, or absorbing CBD topicals.

This law applies regardless of the THC content in that specific product or other federal laws announcing CBD as legal for consumption. Violation of this law would be subject to disciplinary actions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Under US Code 7, 1639o, ingest, inhale, inject, or introduction of the substance to the human body would have disciplinary consequences regardless of being legal throughout the country or the potency of the product. Consumption can also mean allowing CBD to penetrate through your skin through the use of salves, lip balms, soaps, lotions, creams, bath bombs, conditioners, or shampoos.

This prohibition, however, does not apply to the usage of this substance by law enforcement activities or authorized medical professionals. In addition, if the product is consumed unknowingly or without the intention of consumption, and you have a reasonable reason for being unaware, the prohibition will not apply.

In addition to this, navy personnel can consume CBD in the form of drugs approved by the FDA, like Epidiolex, Marinol, and Syndros, given that they have a viable prescription from an authorized medical professional.

CBD Military: Air Force CBD Policy 2022

As per the Air Force CBD Policy 2022, CBD and all other hemp-derived products remain illegal for consumption within the US Air Force workforce, military personnel, or civilians.

The reason is similar to those stated above. The CBD industry is highly unregulated, and military members might consume something with a THC content of more than 0.3%. This can lead to impaired daily activities, affect the safety of others, and exposure of sensitive information.

The use, including inhaling, ingesting, injecting, and other ways to introduce CBD into your body, is restricted for Airforce members, and its violation could lead to termination or discharge due to drug use.

Despite being non-intoxicating, CBD is still a derivative of marijuana.

CBD Military: Marines CBD Policy 2022

Marines CBD policy 2022 runs the same as Navy CBD Policy 2022. Because of being a highly unregulated industry and no one to oversee the labeling and packaging, CBD is considered illegal for consumption for marine members without a prescription from an authorized medical professional.

Epidiolex is the only CBD-containing drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), even with a doctor’s prescription.

CBD Military: Coast Guard CBD Policy 2022

According to 46 CFR 16.201(c), a service member who tests positive on a drug test for dangerous drugs will be removed from their duties as they might put others in danger or make classified information vulnerable.

This makes CBD prohibited for consumption because some products might contain more than 0.3% THC despite being labeled appropriately and can come positive on a drug test.

What Is CBD Used For?

CBD is known worldwide for its potential benefits and can help you manage the following conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Arthritis
  • Acne
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cancer symptoms
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammation
  • Migraine
  • Nerve pain
  • Schizophrenia

CBD can be found in a wide range of products. The market comprises of products ranging from oils, tinctures, vape oils, cigarettes, lotions, soaps, gummies, chocolates, powders, isolate, dabs, salves, lip balms, face masks, and even bath bombs.

Why Is CBD Considered Illicit by the DOD?

Federally, CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal for consumption. However, as stated above, the CBD industry is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This makes it highly impossible to oversee the packaging and labeling of the product.

As a result, some of the products might contain high levels of THC, consumption of which can result in a positive drug test. And, because the 46 CFR 16.201(c) clearly states that receiving positive results on a drug test would mean dismissal, termination, or suspension from the services, CBD and other hemp-derived products are considered illicit for the DOD workforce.

What About Prescriptions With CBD?

Military members are allowed to consume CBD in the form of Epidiolex, as it is the only drug approved by the FDA. However, you must have a valid medical prescription from an authorized medical professional to consume Epidiolex.

Keep Up to Date With CBD Military Policy Changes

While the CBD policy for 2022 is not subject to change anytime soon, make sure to stay up to date on any amendments made to the policies. The consumption of CBD might be illegal for active service members; however, with efforts like regulation of the industry, there are hopes that the DOD might validate the potential benefits of CBD and bring certain changes to the policies.

Pentagon Changes Policy on CBD, Hemp Oil — Here’s What You Need to Know

The Department of Defense recently prohibited the use of hemp oil and CBD products for all active-duty and reserve military members.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is marijuana’s second most prevalent chemical compound and is frequently used for medicinal purposes. Derived from the hemp plant, CBD is a component of marijuana that does not cause a high by itself.

In February, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew Donovan put out a memo prohibiting the use of all hemp products, saying the move was needed “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.”

Donovan said the move was required, “even though such a prohibition will, in some instances, extend to products the normal use of which could not cause a positive urinalysis result.”

According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. […] To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

The federal government removed hemp from its list of controlled substances and established a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

“Hemp is defined in the legislation as the cannabis plant (the same one that produces marijuana) with one key difference,” according to the Brookings Institution. “Hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC.”

Hemp Extract. Photo by Caleb Simpson on Unsplash.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, or the chemical compound that gets users high. The 0.3 percent THC threshold for CBD and hemp products is tantamount to the small amounts of alcohol allowed in so-called nonalcoholic beverages. It’s not enough to get users high.

However, Donovan pointed out in his memo that “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not determine or certify the THC concentration of commercially-available hemp products, such as CBD, and these products can contain appreciable levels of THC, yet omit any reference to THC on the product label and/or list an inaccurate THC concentration.”

Donovan said for that reason, and because it’s impractical for the service branches to keep track of “hemp products that may or may not cause a positive urinalysis result,” the policy change was necessary. “Since it is not possible to differentiate between THC derived from legal hemp products and illicit marijuana, and these products could cause or contribute to a THC positive urinalysis result, I find that the use of hemp products could effectively undermine the Department’s ability to identify illicit THC use.”

Hemp Extract Softgels. Photo by R+R Medicinals on Unsplash.

CBD is commonly used for pain relief and can be ingested or applied topically. Some studies show benefits for addressing anxiety and insomnia, and there is strong scientific evidence for CBD’s effectiveness in treating childhood epilepsy syndromes, according to an article by Dr. Peter Grinspoon, who teaches medicine at Harvard Medical School.

CBD is a $1 billion industry in the U.S., and according to Grand View Research, “the global cannabidiol market was valued at $4.6 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.2% from 2019 to 2025.”

Service members found to have used CBD products can be punished under Article 92 of the UCMJ — Failure to Obey an Order.

Hemp balm. Photo by Pharma Hemp Complex on Unsplash

Donovan’s order provides exceptions for use “pursuant to legitimate law enforcement activities” or “by authorized personnel in the performance of medical duties.” It also makes exceptions for cases in which lack of knowledge “that the product was made or derived from hemp, including CBD,” is reasonable.

The order does not prohibit the use of durable goods containing hemp, such as rope or clothing. FDA-approved medications containing CBD or synthetic cannabis for which service members have a valid prescription are also allowed under the change.

Is CBD Use Permitted in the Military?

Military members have physically and mentally taxing jobs. CBD’s many benefits seem like a perfect fit for these purposes. If you’re a man or woman in uniform, you may be asking: is CBD federally legal for military?

According to a 2020 article in the Military Times, despite being federally legal for civilians, the Pentagon has made CBD use strictly forbidden among active duty and reserve military personnel. The statement issued puts forth the reason that hemp-derived products will obfuscate the results of drug tests. This applies to the Navy and Marine Corps too. Matthew Donovan, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, issued the following statement:

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.

…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.”