CBD Use for Military Personnel
Topicals Are Allowed for Navy Personnel
According to the bill, industrial hemp includes cannabis that contains only trace amounts (less than 0.3 percent) of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the high-producing element found in increased amounts in marijuana. Once this Farm Bill passed, it federally legalized industrial hemp, though marijuana remains a Schedule I regulated drug. As a result, the U.S. has seen a rapid upsurge in CBD oil and CBD-infused products.
Why the Regulation Exists
CBD proponents are hopeful that the FDA will expedite its efforts to regulate the market so that we can more readily understand the compound, and so that more soldiers can benefit. Allowing the use of topical CBD may create a gray area for legal enforcement of the Navy’s zero-tolerance policy, but only time will tell.
In the meantime, CBD oils and CBD-infused products are flooding the market, and without clear FDA guidelines for testing, packaging, and marketing claims, it can be overwhelming for consumers. In an effort to protect servicewomen and men, individual branches of the military are working on releasing their own statements regarding hemp products and CBD.
The Air Force released a directive regarding hemp products in April of this year, and this also allowed for the use of Epidiolex with a valid, current prescription. Other branches of the military are expected to follow suit as they reach internal agreement on branch policy.
Military branches are looking to the FDA to provide guidance regarding specific dosing and safety assurances, but the FDA has been slow to act. While scientific studies and clinical trials are underway, CBD currently carries the same FDA disclaimer as vitamins and supplements: “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.”
The Navy has banned sailors and Marines from using shampoos, lotions and soaps made with hemp or cannabidiol, one of the main active compounds in cannabis plants, it said in a statement.
The Navy banned the use of topical products made with hemp or its derivatives in a July 24 administrative message, saying it’s impossible for consumers to determine how much THC such products contain based on label claims that may be untrustworthy. The policy warns that the use of hemp-based or products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, risks interference with the department’s drug testing program.
The policy’s goal is to prevent service members from unknowingly consuming THC in any amount, the Navy said last week.
The new rule follows a ban imposed last summer by the Navy on the ingestion of products containing hemp or hemp derivatives without a valid prescription, after a 2018 farm bill removed low-THC hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.
The new rule still allows for the use of CBD-containing products that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, if a service member has a valid prescription. The rules do not prohibit the use of “durable hemp goods” such as rope, twine or clothing.