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Zero tolerance policy on use of CBD by Airmen/Defense Department employees

CBD oil is derived from the Cannabis sativa (hemp/marijuana) plant. The Department of Defense has a zero-tolerance policy on the use of all CBD products by Airmen/Defense Department employees. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda Welz)

CBD oil is derived from the Cannabis sativa (hemp/marijuana) plant. The Department of Defense has a zero-tolerance policy on the use of all CBD products by Airmen/Defense Department employees. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda Welz)

March Air Reserve Base, Calif. --

The United States has seen a recent surge in cannabis products since the legalization of recreational marijuana in eleven states. One such product that has become widely available is cannabidiol (CBD), a substance that is derived from Cannabis sativa (hemp/marijuana) plants. You may have heard radio announcements or anecdotal stories about the wonders of CBD, and you may have seen store shelves stocked with CBD products, such as oils, lotions, or natural pain relief alternatives.

Despite these indications that CBD is commonplace, it is not authorized for use by Defense Department employees because it is derived from marijuana, which remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

A common misconception is that CBD products are okay to use because they are free of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance in marijuana. But many CBD products claiming to be THC-free, in fact, contain measurable amounts of THC.

The retailers of these products can make these false claims because CBD is currently unregulated by the Federal Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency. There are no official government standards for measuring CBD, or identifying CBD or THC content, in any product. Without this regulatory oversight, CBD consumers may not know exactly what they are putting into their bodies.  

The bottom line for Airmen and DOD employees is that the use of CBD products may result in discharge or termination for drug abuse.

“It’s important for both uniformed and civilian Airmen to understand the risk these products pose to their careers,” said Maj. Jason Gammons, Air Force Office of The Judge Advocate General spokesperson. “Products containing unregulated levels of THC can cause positive drug tests, resulting in the same disciplinary actions as if members had consumed marijuana.” *

Article 112(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice specifically defines “controlled substance” to include “marijuana and any compound or derivative of any such substance.”  Because CBD is a marijuana derivative, it is considered a controlled substance under the UCMJ.

Additionally, AFMAN 44-197, Military Drug Demand Reduction program, also addresses the subject of CBD use as follows: “…the use of products containing or products derived from hemp, including but not limited to cannabidiol (CBD), is prohibited. This prohibition applies regardless of the route of administration, ingestion, or use.” Military members who fail to comply with this prohibition can be found in violation of Article 92 of the UCMJ, even if they are not otherwise in violation of Article 112a.

If you are a DOD employee, the solution is simple: no CBD, zero, no exceptions.

If you have any questions or need any clarification, please contact the March legal office at 951-655-4454 or email them at 452AMW.JA@us.af.mil.

* https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2020473/air-force-says-cbd-products-not-ok-to-use-may-cause-positive-drug-test/

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