When it comes to the what’s what of the cannabis legalization trend, the United States government is still so confused on how to handle it — any of it — that it still refuses to let some of its employees take part in a substance that, as far as Uncle Sam’s big, bad book of laws is concerned, should no longer be problematic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it his mission last year to pull the industrial hemp plant out of the trenches of prohibition, a move that has since given new life to the ridiculous CBD craze.
But the self-proclaimed Grim Reaper of Capitol Hill didn’t stop for a second to consider that legal hemp (a kissing cousin to marijuana) would cause a massive uprising in confoundedness, one that has federal agencies perplexed about how to regulate CBD and stumped them on how to determine if soldiers are getting high. It is for this reason that the Navy recently came out with a new policy banning sailors from using CBD, even if it is only the crap now sold in convenience stores.
Earlier this week, Navy officials made it clear that sailors are prohibited from using popular cannabidiol products like everyone else in the country. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said that not only are these hemp-derived substances not proven to provide any of the therapeutic benefits that are often reported on the internet, but these products can also cause service members to fail a drug test and get kicked out of the military altogether. Therefore, if a sailor feels the need to use CBD to help combat whatever ails them, they could find themselves on the wrong end of a discharge.
“Sailors and Marines are prohibited from knowingly using products made or derived from hemp, including CBD, regardless of the products’ THC concentration, claimed or actual, and regardless of whether such product may lawfully be bought, sold, and used under the law applicable to civilians,” the Navy said.
“Use means to inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body,” the order continued. “Use includes the knowing use of hemp products designed to penetrate through the skin layer, including but not limited to transdermal patches.”
The only exception to the ban is if a sailor just so happens to have a prescription for the only FDA-approved, CBD-based epilepsy drug on the U.S. market: Epidiolex. But considering that it can be difficult for someone who suffers from epileptic seizures to serve in any branch of the military, we’re going out on a limb and saying that not many sailors are going to be flashing their prescription for CBD drugs anytime soon.
For those Navy men and women without a prescription — and, of course, medical marijuana cards do not count — the threat of being tossed out of the military over a false positive for marijuana is very real.
Wait, wait, wait, what? Can CBD really cause someone to fail a drug test?
There have been several reports over the past year suggesting that people have tested positive for THC as a result of using CBD products. Since these products are not yet regulated by the FDA, CBD manufacturers are sometimes sloppy in the manufacturing process. A study published in 2017 found that most of the CBD sold online either contained more or less of the active ingredient than advertised. And while these products are not supposed to contain any more than 0.3% THC (not enough to cause a failed drug test), researchers found that 5% of these products had enough of the stoner compound to test positive for marijuana. So it is rare, but it can happen.
“Some of these products do not list all ingredients, making it impossible to know definitively how much CBD, THC or other synthetic cannabinoids they may contain,” the Navy said. “It is possible to test positive for THC on a urinalysis by using a CBD or hemp product. It can be impossible to determine where a CBD or hemp product was manufactured and what level of THC it may contain. Even trace amounts of THC can accumulate in the body and be detected in a urinalysis screening.”
As of now, none of the world’s sharp cannabis-friendly minds have yet developed technology able to distinguish whether someone is just using CBD for anxiety or smoking marijuana on their free time to get high. Until that changes, the Navy isn’t messing with any of it, despite the fact that it is legal.
“Sailors who test positive for THC or other controlled substances for which they have no valid prescription are subject to mandatory administrative processing and could receive a discharge characterized as other than honorable, which can affect future veteran’s benefits and employment opportunities,” the release states.
The Navy isn’t the only branch of the military banning soldiers from using CBD products. Earlier this year, the Army and Air Force announced CBD bans because of the risk of testing positive for marijuana. The military wants all service members to know that a positive result for THC, regardless of whether it was only through the use of CBD products, is enough to end their careers.
TELL US, have you ever failed a drug test?