Could CBD Finally Be Permitted in the Military?

US Army soldiers showing the flag patch on their shoulders after learning about the Army CBD policy


We know of the many ways in which CBD may be particularly useful to us for various reasons pertaining to our general wellbeing, thanks to loads of studies that have been performed in the last decade, combined with ample amounts of anecdotal evidence from thousands of daily hemp users. But that doesn’t mean that everybody gets to explore what it’s capable of. While hemp is federally legal as of 2018, certain sects of the population remain prohibited from using it, including the United States military.

While CBD has grown in popularity massively, and become more accessible than it ever has been in the past, the military has remained strict in their prohibition of it, with the Navy even reminding members just last year that it’s not allowed in any form. Many may be surprised by this, considering the fact that service members are exposed to uniquely difficult and harsh situations in which CBD may be particularly helpful. Further, members are notoriously prescribed potentially dangerous and addictive drugs frequently as a result of injury or psychological stress.

CBD is cannabidiol, which is the main compound found in the hemp plant. It’s federally legal because it’s non-psychoactive, as it comes from the hemp plant rather than the marijuana plant, with the latter having a high level of THC, the psychoactive compound that gets users high. CBD is also widely considered safe due to its nontoxicity, plus can be taken daily without real risk of dependence.

Furthermore, we all know about the potential risks associated with being in the military during times of combat. Between life-threatening injuries and the high rate of PTSD, our service men and women deserve opportunities for relief that come from natural sources.

You may think it’s an unfair policy that military members are banned from using CBD, while highly addictive drugs run rampantly. If so, you’re in good company, because the House of Representatives just approved a new amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which would completely eradicate restrictions regarding hemp usage in all of its forms. Now, it’s up to the Senate to pass it so that CBD can be permitted throughout the military and on military bases once and for all.

The New Bill

The new amendment potentially legalizing hemp use throughout the military was penned by Hawaii’s Tusli Gabbard, which is unsurprising if you are familiar with her track record. A veteran herself, she’s been outspoken for years about various aspects of the military, and has also been a strong advocate for cannabidiol, having attempted to pass laws that would allow for it to be tested more thoroughly to be used in pharmaceutical environments.

The new bill is known as the Hemp for Victory Act, which has the support of hemp activists around the country. Many military men and women desire CBD but are afraid of being penalized. What’s interesting is that there are no widely used tests specifically searching for CBD, and so technically, the military would be unable to prove that it’s being used. But, if a stash of CBD were to be confiscated, that could end someone’s career, which leaves many service members feeling apprehensive about taking the risk.

The reason why it remains illegal is due to the close association with marijuana. CBD comes from hemp, which contains roughly 0.3 percent THC, while marijuana has far more. Therefore, all hemp products including CBD cannot get you high, while marijuana will. The Farm Bill of 2018 made this distinction so that hemp could be declassified, and federal law now dictates that CBD is legal. Yet, the military has not yet caught up, still considering CBD a classified substance despite zero psychoactive effects.

What This Could Mean for the CBD Industry

Despite having been around for over a decade, and now being widely backed by medical experts around the world, CBD still struggles with an identity crisis thanks to its cousin, marijuana. Because both plants belong to the cannabis genus, and because cannabis had been outlawed for decades, many people still don’t feel comfortable taking hemp products, and may even believe that they are illegal despite the recent change in law.

By allowing CBD use in the military, it would add legitimacy to the hemp industry, proving that a reputable organization like the military supports its use. Further, knowing what we do about the many risks that service people encounter, CBD could prove to be extremely helpful for PTSD and injuries, which could show the rest of the American public that it truly offers much potential.

All that we can hope for now is that the Senate passes the bill so that the military can finally put an end to their anti-hemp stance. We await hearing the decision that is to be made, as it can be a sign of massive change in favor of the CBD industry.