Is CBD legal for military members? Here's some information. There are over 30 states in which cannabis use is legal either recreationally or medically. Some military spouses who live in states where marijuana is legal find themselves asking, “Does that mean I can smoke?”
CBD Oil and Hemp Oil: Uses and Future Military Acceptance?
Are you aware of the potential healing and recovery properties of cannabidiol, also known as CBD? How about hemp oil? What is the military stance on using such products even if they contain no THC (the psychoactive drug)?
In this article, we dig into the differences between the two and benefits being tested right now and answer the biggest question: Are these considered marijuana and illegal to use?
Is CBD legal for military members?
It is against military regulations for members of the active duty military or currently serving members of the Guard or Reserve to use any CBD products. As of 2022, every military service branch has a regulation banning the use of CBD products.
For example, the Army regulation says “the use of products made or derived from hemp (as defined in 7 USC. 1639o) . 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.”
What to know about CBD, hemp and THC
Here are some things you need to know about CBD, hemp and THC:
- With only trace amounts of THC (less than .3%), it is unlikely you would fail a drug test using hemp/CBD.
- The CBD oil and hemp oil come from the legal, non-psychoactive hemp plant.
- The Cannabis Sativa L produces two types: marijuana and hemp. CBD is produced by both, but THC is not in both.
- Marijuana plants contain enough THC to get users “high;” hemp does not.
CBD is one of many naturally occurring cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis. Yes, this is a product of the same plant family of marijuana and hemp. Cannabis does not mean marijuana. Cannabis is the genus name of the plant family into which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall.
Natural CBD oil and hemp oil do not contain enough THC to be illegal (or get you high). It is negligible at best, but must be under .3% to be used on the market as hemp or CBD oil. THC is the narcotic in marijuana that give you the “high” (psychoactive effect). THC is illegal within the federal government and military, but legal in some states.
However, the non-psychoactive CBD has been gaining popularity throughout the media and scientific community (see links to studies below) with noticeable recovery benefits and without the illegal substances and carcinogens of some forms of marijuana. CDB oil has been shown to help cancer patients and is used to treat many ailments, such as epilepsy, and psychological problems. It has anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
Hemp oil contains phytocannabinoids, but it is not marijuana. Hemp contains more than 80 phytocannabinoids, including CBD. It can be made from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats like Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids, as well as Vitamin E.
Hemp oil can be used in cooking, shampoos and soaps, and because of the high Vitamin E content, it is an antioxidant that can help the body fight off the catabolic effects of stress. Unlike CBD oil, hemp oil has a nutritional value. It can be consumed in capsule form as well.
The endocannabinoid system
Why are cannabinoids like CBD and hemp important? Our body has millions of cannabinoid receptors that are part of the brain, skin and central nervous system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD interacts with the body’s ECS, and our body naturally produces cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids.
Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout our body from our biggest organ — the skin to the brain, digestive tract and throughout the peripheral nervous system. The main purpose of the ECS is to protect the nerve fibers themselves, the immune system and helping to regulate the autonomic nervous system, which impact appetite, sleep, mood, stress and pain.
Because of its placement within the central nervous system, it has impact within the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. These are our “fight-or-flight” or “rest-and-digest” states, respectively, connecting our hormonal responses to stress in life-or-death situations and our recovery from those moments as well.
The legal issues and DoD stances
CBD is legal in the U.S. That does not make it legal for military members, who must abide by Defense Department rules.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 allows state agricultural businesses, colleges and universities to obtain permits to extract CBD from industrial hemp. In states where marijuana is legal and the transport across state lines is legal for industrial hemp, the flow of CBD oil or industrial hemp also is considered legal.
The companies selling CBD oil are permitted to use industrial hemp. Therefore, it is not in contradiction of the Controlled Substances Act, making CBD oil legal and not a substance the Drug Enforcement Administration would consider illicit, because it contains only trace amounts of THC. The hemp growers have to be careful and are highly regulated not to allow the THC values to increase within their substances they sell. The CBD that is produced must have zero THC, which makes it not testable on any drug test.
Veteran In the business
I recently asked Army veteran Craig Henderson of Extract Labs about his journey from the military to Colorado and into the world of legal cannabis products. Here are some of those questions and answers:
What was the journey from the Army to the legal marijuana business? Henderson was an airborne paratrooper for four years, then decided to use his GI Bill to go to college. After a degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree along the way, he found a path to Colorado, where he started working for a new and legal marijuana company.
He grew with the business and created methods to distribute and ingest these products, using edibles, creams, oils, vapes and more. This type of the cannabis business was mainly for medical and recreational marijuana users. THC was the product people were seeking at that time in the industry; however, he noticed there are big benefits in non-THC cannabis in products from the hemp plant, such as CBD oil and hemp seed oil.
Henderson created a new company, Extract Labs, that focuses on the “non-alcoholic beer” version of the same products above. The CBD oil products have the same types of ingestion models as above, but with none of the psychoactive effects of the THC type of cannabis.
“Consider this the health and wellness side of the business,” Henderson said. “We have customers who use these products for depression, sleep assistance, PTSD, anxiety, high blood pressure, cancer and pain relief, even severe pain relief.”
Other veterans in the CBD business
You may have heard about products like Spice or K2, which is a synthetic cannabinoid made from chemicals, not from the cannabis or hemp plant, whereas CBD oil is organic, naturally occurring and extracted using natural methods. These chemicals sprayed over such things as tobacco have caused severe side effects, even deaths, and can be two to 100 times stronger than THC. As of 2013, the Pentagon was testing troops for Spice use.
Medical studies/reports on CBD oil
If you are considering going into this business, you do not necessarily need to move to one of the several states where medical and recreational marijuana are legal. To grow, sell and distribute hemp products, it is easier to live in a state where both medical and recreational marijuana are legal, but some states with agricultural laws allow for hemp to be grown.
If you are considering using the CBD or hemp oils, it is legal to buy online and locally. However, do your research and make sure you select a legitimate seller that adheres to strict third-party and government regulations.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to [email protected]
Want to Learn More About Military Life?
Whether you’re thinking of joining the military, looking for fitness and basic training tips, or keeping up with military life and benefits, Military.com has you covered. Subscribe to Military.com to have military news, updates and resources delivered directly to your inbox.
© Copyright 2022 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Can Military Spouses Smoke Marijuana?
There are over 30 states in which cannabis use is legal either recreationaly or medically. Some military spouses who live in states where marijuana is legal find themselves asking, “Does that mean I can smoke?”
The short answer is yes, if it’s legal in your state. The long answer, like most things with the military, is a little more complicated.
If you’re a military spouse or dependent who is hoping to head over to the nearest cannabis dispensary ASAP, here’s what you need to know:
Though affiliated with military, be it active duty, Reserves, or National Guard, military spouses are still treated as civilians in the eyes of the law and the military. So, if something is legal in your state, then military spouses are treated the same as any other civilian.
But that doesn’t give you free reign to smoke wherever you want. This is especially true on government property as it is still a federally-controlled substance. Government property includes on base or in any military housing (on base or off). You can’t bring it on base in your car and you can’t bring it in your house if you’re living in military housing as that is subject to inspection.
Also, be aware that even if you can use cannabis, your service member cannot. That includes Reservists and National Guard because they are bound by federal laws. Further, because it is illegal federally, service members cannot participate in any marijuana related activities. That includes not only ingesting the substance, but also attending marijuana specific festivals and the like. You may also want to be cognizant of whether or not your spouse is in close enough proximity to you to receive a second-hand smoke contact high. If your service member has enough marijuana in his or her system to show up on a drug test, that could be the end of their career, even if they never smoked.
Lastly, remember that driving while under the influence of marijuana is still considered driving impaired and could land you a DUI.
So, what have we learned?
- Yes, military spouses can smoke marijuana if it is legal in the state in which he or she resides.
- No, you cannot bring it on base or in military housing (on base or off) in any form.
- Service members cannot, under any circumstances, ingest marijuana regardless of where they live as it is still a federally controlled substance.
- Driving with marijuana in your system is still considered driving under the influence.
Kristen Baker-Geczy is a communications specialist, active duty military spouse, and former MWR marketing coordinator. She was also deployed to Southwest Asia as an Air Force contractor.
|VA Policy on Medical Marijuana & Veterans||Smart Drugs and the Military|
|5 Top Military Spouse Benefits||Benefits of Families Living on a Military Base|
|5 Ways It’s Great to Be a Military Spouse!||VA Benefits for Spouses and Dependents|
Military + Veteran Discounts
Want 30+ Military and Veteran discounts to use today? Enter your email for updates and we’ll send it!
Connect With Us
Veteran.com is a property of Three Creeks Media. Neither Veteran.com nor Three Creeks Media are associated with or endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs. The content on Veteran.com is produced by Three Creeks Media, its partners, affiliates and contractors, any opinions or statements on Veteran.com should not be attributed to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs , the Dept. of Defense or any governmental entity. If you have questions about Veteran programs offered through or by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, please visit their website at va.gov. The content offered on Veteran.com is for general informational purposes only and may not be relevant to any consumer’s specific situation, this content should not be construed as legal or financial advice. If you have questions of a specific nature consider consulting a financial professional, accountant or attorney to discuss. References to third-party products, rates and offers may change without notice.
Advertising Notice: Veteran.com and Three Creeks Media, its parent and affiliate companies, may receive compensation through advertising placements on Veteran.com; For any rankings or lists on this site, Veteran.com may receive compensation from the companies being ranked and this compensation may affect how, where and in what order products and companies appear in the rankings and lists. If a ranking or list has a company noted to be a “partner” the indicated company is a corporate affiliate of Veteran.com. No tables, rankings or lists are fully comprehensive and do not include all companies or available products.
Editorial Disclosure: Editorial content on Veteran.com may include opinions. Any opinions are those of the author alone, and not those of an advertiser to the site nor of Veteran.com.