CBD Oil and Hemp Oil — Uses and Future Military Acceptance?

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Extract Labs CBD products.
Extract Labs CBD products. (Photo courtesy of Extract Labs)

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?  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 oil

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

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.

Frequently asked questions about Hemp Oil from Thorne.

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

According to the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana includes any resin from any part of the cannabis plant. This would include CBD and hemp oil.

However, 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.

Official View by Department of Defense and individual branches (2016).

DEA View on Hemp and Controlled Substance Act and New Laws.

Do your research on the branch of service and its official stance on hemp or CBD (with no THC). The stances tend to ebb and flow at the speed of politics and military bureaucracy.

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

War Fighter Hemp

Veterans for Cannabis

Veteran Grown

Synthetic cannabinoids

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.

These products have been part of the sweeping Defense Department regulations regarding any product related to cannabinoids. Recently, more than 76 people in a New Haven, Connecticut, park overdosed with severe side effects from a “bad batch” of synthetic marijuana. This became a mass casualty event that has nothing to do with hemp, CBD or marijuana for that matter, as it was laced with an opioid.    

Medical studies/reports on CBD oil Anti-inflammatory: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/

Psychological benefits: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22716160

CBD and FDA approval: https://www.solcbd.com/blogs/news/fda-approved-cannabidiol-epilepsy%20

Side effects of CBD: https://www.solcbd.com/blogs/news/the-known-side-effects-of-cannabidiol

Lower blood pressure: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5470879/

Treatment of anxiety disorders: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171

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 stew@stewsmith.com.

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