The U.S. Navy recently issued a new statement which now allows use of topical CBD products. CBD is short for Cannabidiol, a compound of the cannabis plant. Just before Christmas 2018, President Trump signed the U.S. Farm Bill, which included specific language clarifying a distinction between “industrial hemp” and marijuana.
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
Sea services have long standing regulations regarding the prohibition of drug use by service personnel. Article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is explicit in its mention of marijuana. The intent is twofold: to prevent military personnel from breaking the law by knowingly or unknowingly using a substance that is illegal (such as marijuana); and to ensure they are ready, lucid, and prepared when called to duty.
Even though the Farm Bill specifically legalized industrial hemp at the federal level, and CBD has been deemed 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.”
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.
Topicals Are Allowed for Navy Personnel
The Secretary of the Navy recently released a statement that prohibits enlistees from ingesting, injecting, smoking, vaping, or inhaling hemp products; but yet the same statement specifically allows topical application such as lotions, shampoos, salves, topical oils, creams, soaps, etc., as long as they follow the federal guidelines for industrial hemp (containing less than 0.3 percent THC). The Navy has no evidence that topical use of CBD containing less than 0.3 percent CBD would trip a drug test. The Navy statement also allows for the use of FDA-approved drugs containing CBD, such as Epidiolex, as long as the individual possesses a current, valid prescription.
CBD Use for Military Personnel
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.
It’s easy to imagine the reasons why military personnel could benefit from CBD oil. From post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbances, and anxiety; to pain and inflammation from training and grueling hours in the field, it’s natural for soldiers to be inclined to seek relief. CBD proponents are hopeful that the FDA will expedite its efforts to regulate the market, so that we can more readily understand the compound’s safety and efficacy, 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.
How CBD Works
Every living animal and human has an ECS, an Endocannabinoid System, which consists of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. This system is a sort of communication network amongst cells throughout the body. Endocannabinoids, which are cannabis-like substances produced naturally by the body, first received their name because of their similarities to cannabis, as far as how they act within the body.
The ECS regulates temperature, mood, appetite, sleep, reproductive systems, pain and pleasure signals, digestion, and a whole lot more. Responses by the ECS are measured and precise, designed to keep the body in a state of homeostasis, no matter what is occurring in the immediate environment. When the body’s ECS is not functioning properly, CBD can mimic the endocannabinoids, which can help perpetuate homeostasis and keep everything in good working order.
Benefits of CBS
Despite the lack of extensive CBD research, a wide variety of anecdotal evidence exists as to its reported benefits. Individuals around the globe state using CBD for pain management; anxiety, stress, depression, and mood; digestive issues; inflammation, arthritis, muscle soreness, and stiffness; acne; seizures; as a tool in post-workout recovery; and as an aid in relaxation and improving sleep. CBD advocates are encouraged by the rise in scientific exploration of CBD, and are hopeful that the FDA will speed up its regulation and standardization of packaging, marketing, and testing.
CBD Oil Discounts for Military
NuLeaf Naturals, a Denver-based CBD manufacturer, conducts rigorous third-party testing to ensure its CBD products are well below the 0.3 percent THC threshold. Current lab-verified results may be viewed here. NuLeaf Naturals offers substantial discounts for active and retired military personnel. Call 720-372-4842 to speak with one of our expert team members to access your discount and to learn more about topical application of CBD.