The use of cannabidiol (CBD) products has, in recent years, increased after the passing of the Farm Bill 2018. This bill legalized the use of industrial hemp extracts, as long as they contain no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), that psychoactive ingredient in cannabis responsible for intoxicating or making users high.
CBD is believed to have a wide range of potential health benefits, and that’s why the federal government and several states have accepted it as an alternative medicine for various health conditions. But despite the legalization at both the federal and state levels, CBD consumption in the military still remains controversial.
Here are five things to know on this issue:
1. The DOD Unofficially Banned CBD Use in the Military
In February 2020, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness circulated a memo to all service members prohibiting the use of CBD products. The reasons for this ban were as follows:
i) To Protect the Integrity of The Drug Test Program
Members of the armed forces must undergo a urine test to detect illegal drug use. And marijuana is one of the illegal substances they check during the test. A positive test result may lead to disciplinary action or even discharge from service.
For CBD use, the argument was that the service members wouldn’t be able to entirely avoid the consumption of THC, given that the CBD industry isn’t strictly regulated. One can buy a product that states the THC content is below the legal cap, but the test results prove otherwise. Understand that CBD products aren’t FDA-regulated, and so, there might be several dishonest manufacturers out there. Then there’s the misconception between hemp and marijuana. For more details on this, you’d want to read the rest at SUPA Naturals.
ii) To Uphold the Mission of Readiness
If the active-duty members happen to consume high doses of THC and CBD, they might experience coordination challenges, slower reaction times, memory loss, anxiety, dizziness, and fatigue. This way, they won’t always be ready to protect their country when duty calls.
Thus, if any member of the armed forces was found guilty of CBD consumption, they’d be charged with violation of the law and face disciplinary action, like solitary confinement, or a dishonorable discharge from the military.
2. Tulsi Gabbard Helped Change DOD’s Stance On CBD
Gabbard, a military veteran, filed a bill in 2020 with the goal of modernizing the hemp industry. And in July 2020, the House of Representatives agreed on an amendment to allow members of the uniformed services to use CBD products. In addition to that, the Secretary of Defense was prohibited from illegalizing the use of hemp derivatives, provided the consumption complies with applicable Federal and State laws.
336 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the amendment, while 71 voted against it. Thus, the use of CBD products in the military received the green light.
3. CBD Products Can Help Service Members
Now that the use of CBD is acceptable in the military, here’s how members of the Armed Forces can benefit:
- Anxiety: It’s commonplace for militants to stay on the battlefield for prolonged periods, during which they witness horrors, such as the death of fellow service members. Knowing not what might soon befall them, and coupled with other factors, such as long stays away from family and friends, anxiety and depression may get a hold of them. It’s believed that CBD can help restore mental calm in such situations.
- Pain: Still on the battleground, injuries can occur at any time, either as a result of an ambush from the enemy or accidental slips and falls on the rugged terrain characteristic of battles. The resulting aches and pains on various body parts can limit their performance henceforth. It’s believed that the application of CBD pain creams can help reduce such pain and promote the healing of wounds.
- Sleep Disorders: Facts have it that more than 50% of active-duty military personnel have Obstructive Sleep Apnea—that sleep disorder that lowers sleep quality and causes gasping, snoring, and choking during the night. About 33% also suffer from insomnia. Ongoing studies reveal that CBD appears to help preserve sleep architecture, meaning that it may lead to improved sleep for those with related disorders.
CBD consumption in the military should be embraced because of the potential health benefits listed above and several others. All that active-duty members have to do is shop from reputable manufacturers of CBD products who stick to the federal guidelines on THC content. This way, they’ll reap the benefits of this natural product without compromising their mission of readiness to protect the country at all times.