It’s no longer an obscure topic—cannabidiol (CBD) oil is widely known for having several health benefits. Over the last five years, the use of CBD oil has been skyrocketing all across the United States. Scientific research is uncovering more benefits from CBD oil every day, including helping patients cope with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and certain types of cancer.
As the use of CBD oil grows in popularity, the rules and restrictions are becoming more well-known at both a federal and state level. There is, however, one particular faction where CBD oil has created some controversy –the United States military.
So, the big question on everyone’s mind is, what is the legal standpoint for CBD use in the military? In this post, we’re going to cover CBD oil’s current legal status for active duty service members and what potential benefits it could bring.
CBD is one of the various compounds cannabis plants produce. It’s such a controversial substance because it derives from the same plant group as marijuana and hemp, which have a reputation for being illegal substances. There’s a big misconception that “cannabis” automatically means “marijuana.” Cannabis is the primary name for the plant family, and marijuana and hemp are subcategories.
Natural forms of hemp and CBD oil don’t contain enough THC (> 0.3%) to make them illegal. THC is the compound found in cannabis that is illegal on a federal level. However, CBD is continuously developing its reputation for being a natural alternative to many over-the-counter medications.
CBD oil is known to help cancer patients battle painful symptoms and reduce the adverse effects of other conditions, such as epilepsy, depression, and arthritis.
Some of the top benefits of CBD oil include:
Although they seem similar, hemp oil and CBD oil are two different products. Hemp oil (also known as hemp seed oil) comes from the Cannabis sativa seeds. Hemp oil doesn’t contain the same compounds as CBD oil; however, it’s still an excellent source of nutrients and fatty acids that provide many health benefits.
One of the most effective uses of hemp oil is to reduce inflammation. It’s also known as a great skincare product because of all the vitamins. All of the fatty acids in hemp oil make it a fantastic choice to nourish your skin and keep you looking young and healthy.
Some of the top benefits of hemp oil include:
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive compound in cannabis that intoxicates the user, or “gets them high.” Whenever you consume THC, it alters the cannabinoid receptors responsible for specific functions like coordination, memory, pain, and mood (more on that later).
THC is the main reason why cannabis was illegal in the United States for decades, but individual states are starting to recognize the variety of benefits cannabis brings. The use of THC is still illegal in some US states and the US military.
Your body contains millions of cannabinoid receptors, also known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). When you consume CBD oil, it binds with the ECS and signals the body to produce cannabinoids. These cannabinoid receptors are everywhere in the body, including the brain, digestive system, central nervous system (CNS), and skin.
Endocannabinoids enhance the body’s natural healing abilities and affect mood, stress, sleep, appetite, and many other bodily functions.
To better understand the effects of CBD, it’s essential to know about the two different kinds of cannabinoid receptors:
It’s important to know that the CBD particles don’t bind directly with the receptors but distinctly interact with them to influence the brain to perform certain functions. Once the CBD activates the receptors, patients will experience the many benefits of the cannabis compound.
The United States military currently employs around 1.3 million people, while roughly 14 percent of adults throughout the country admitted they use CBD products regularly. In 2018, CBD oil became federally legal, which tremendously boosted CBD consumption and manufacturing. However, there was a bill that banned the use of CBD oil for active military members.
Recently, in July 2020, the House of Representatives amended the bill, allowing members of the armed forces to consume hemp or products derived from hemp. This amendment does not mean that military members can consume marijuana; it only permits CBD oil products within specific guidelines.
If you’re unaware, CBD oil doesn’t contain any Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in cannabis that gets you high. Therefore, pure CBD oil doesn’t have any intoxicating effects on the user.
However, there is a grey area surrounding the rules and regulations of consuming CBD products. For starters, many CBD products are unregulated, so it isn’t easy to protect the integrity of drug testing. As a result, police and military officials would need to conduct lab testing to determine CBD oil products’ potencies.
There was widespread controversy when information revealed that the Pentagon secretly made CBD and hemp products illegal for active duty service members. This happened back in February when Mathew Donovan issued a general order to make all CBD and hemp products punishable as a criminal offense under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Before these orders, members of the Navy and Marine Corps were permitted to use CBD products in the form of topicals and shampoos. The general orders were to completely ban the use of CBD and hemp products across each branch of the military, and any offense would be punishable in a court of law.
The purpose of this secret push to make CBD products illegal for military members was to protect the uprightness of the military’s drug-testing protocol. One of the key reasons this was able to pass was that certain CBD products might contain more THC than the label suggests. Therefore, this might put active duty service members at risk of failing a standard drug test.
Simply put, if the Department of Defense (DoD) can’t regulate a list of CBD and hemp products for authenticity, then all of them must be off-limits until they establish a reliable protocol.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sparked the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 2018, which permits United States citizens to add-on hemp to their crop supply. In short, the government realized that countries like Canada and China were making billions of dollars selling hemp products.
The number one product people are consuming as a result of this act is CBD oil. Therefore, the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 2018 opened the door to a billion-dollar CBD industry.
Above, we mentioned how CBD oil comes with a wide array of different health benefits for its users. Since it doesn’t contain any THC and doesn’t get you high, there’s enormous potential for helping active duty service members deal with different symptoms that may come with serving our country.
Some of the most noticeable therapeutic healing effects of CBD oil are stress, anxiety, anti-inflammation, and chronic pain relief. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the ways CBD oil could help people in the military.
People in the military are generally physically active. Therefore, their bodies endure a ton of stress. As a result, many active duty service members live with aches and pains that make doing their job extremely uncomfortable. CBD oil is known to help reduce inflammation in the joints and alleviate chronic pain.
While diabetes isn’t a common health problem in the US military, hospitals diagnose hundreds of active duty service members with the condition every year. CBD oil helps manage symptoms of diabetes, such as inflammation and discomfort.
Every day, roughly 22 veterans commit suicide in the United States, which is tremendously higher than the national population rate. It’s no surprise that people in the military have a stressful job—whether it’s dealing with PTSD, depression, anxiety, or overall stress, CBD oil can help.
Numerous studies show that CBD oil can help patients cope with chemotherapy’s powerful adverse side effects, including headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Although CBD oil isn’t a natural cure by any means, it may still be a useful substance for patients going through the dreadful symptoms of certain cancers. Since people in the military are regularly exposed to harmful chemicals and environments that potentially cause cancer, CBD oil might be useful.
It’s common knowledge that a number of our active duty service members struggle with substance abuse, and addictive substances can consume the lives of our beloved military members. CBD oil is recognized as a promising treatment for substance abuse, including the use of opioids and other addictive pain medication.
As a result of the Farm Bill of 2018, hemp is now federally legal in all 50 states. With that in mind, CBD oil’s legal status is still complicated and continually changing. To determine whether a CBD product is federally legal, it depends on the source of the CBD oil.
For example, CBD oil from hemp is legal in all 50 states, but CBD oil derived from marijuana is still illegal in some regions of the country. As of now, the classification of hemp-based CBD oil is that it must contain less than 0.3% THC. As you might have guessed, marijuana-based CBD oil contains more than 0.3% THC.
Fortunately, most manufacturers prefer to use hemp-based CBD oil for their products, as it contains more CBD than marijuana-based oil. Besides, it would require more work to extract the THC from marijuana-based oil, making it costly and inconvenient.
To put it simply, if your CBD oil derives from hemp, it’s legal everywhere in the country. If it comes from marijuana, you’ll need to check your state’s local marijuana laws to know its legal status. Some states where marijuana-based CBD oil is illegal are Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
Above, we mentioned how one of the biggest influencers of the ban on CBD oil in the military was its tampering ability with drug tests’ accuracy. Now that CBD products are legal for United States military members, regulations will have to be specific to ensure that certain CBD products don’t slip through the cracks and poke any holes in the military justice system.
Without a doubt, CBD oil is a viable form of treatment for anyone going through painful symptoms. CBD oil’s legal status is still a bit foggy, but the future’s looking optimistic, even for soldiers.
However, anyone in the military should still keep in mind that they will likely be tested for drugs, so make sure if you’re consuming CBD oil, you’re using stuff that’s well regulated. This way, you won’t run into any trouble with your commanding officer.
What’s your stance on CBD use in the military? Do you think it’s an effective form of treatment? If you want to learn more about CBD oil, check out some of our posts here at SUPA Naturals. We hope this post was helpful, and you now know a little more about the legal status of CBD oil for members of our military.