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Navy to now allow some CBD use by sailors

CBD oil. (Photo courtesy of PlusCBDoil)
August 29, 2019

The Navy has warned that regular use of cannabidiol, an active chemical compound found in cannabis, could cause sailors to fail a urinalysis test, violating a zero-tolerance policy around drug use.

The new guidance, announced by Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer comes in light of President Donald Trump’s enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which he signed in December of last year. The new law removes industrial hemp and products containing less than .3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from federal prohibition. Products that contain more than .3 percent of THC,the psychoactive chemical compound present in cannabis and hemp, remain federally controlled substances.

“The United States Food and Drug Administration does not determine or certify the THC concentration of commercially available hemp products, such as cannabidiol,” Spencer warned in the guidance issued on Aug. 18.

Spencer continued to warn sailors and marines could not rely on the labeling of CBD products to correctly disclose either the overall presence, or accurate concentration of THC in CBD products.

The guidance reiterated that substance abuse is not compatible with military standards for good order, discipline and operational readiness.

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In the message issued throughout the Navy, Spencer prohibited sailors and marines from knowingly using hemp-derived products, including CBD, regardless of their labeled concentrations of THC.

“Use means to inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body.  Use includes the knowing use of hemp products designed to penetrate through the skin layer, including but not limited to transdermal patches,” the guidance statement read.

The guidance did appear to exclude FDA approved prescription medications, including dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros) and cannabidiol (Epidiolex) so long as a sailor or marine has a valid prescription. The guidance also made an additional carve-out for topical products such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions or soaps that contain CBD.

These exceptions do suggest a change in tone from a November, 2018 Navy mass communication titled “Cannabidiol: Don’t Do It!” issued before the change in law by the 2018 bill.

The Air Force and Army, still appear to maintain strict guidelines prohibiting any use of CBD or hemp-based products.

“The ingestion of products containing or products derived from hemp seed or hemp seed oil is prohibited,” reads the current Air Force guidance on drug substances, published September 2014.

An Air Force Press Release from July of this year reiterated those same guidelines.

The Army’s drug policy since 2016 bar the use of hemp and CBD products in simple language which “prohibits Soldiers from using Hemp or products containing Hemp oil.”