Products containing CBD oil are off limits for airmen, the Air Force said Tuesday.
The service issued a reminder that products with CBD oil, an abbreviation for cannabidiol oil and derived from the marijuana plant, may lead to positive results for airmen undergoing urinalysis designed to detect marijuana.
Currently, 11 states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws to OK recreational marijuana use, and even more states have approved measures to permit medical marijuana use. But service members are barred from consuming marijuana under Article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Even so, CBD oil and products containing CBD oil — such as gummy bears, teas and lotions — still remain a bit of a question mark. Because CBD-oil products are unregulated by the Federal Drug Administration, the Air Force cautioned that these products may contain undisclosed levels of the mind-altering chemical in marijuana: tetrahydrocannabinol.
“It’s important for both uniformed and civilian Airmen to understand the risk these products pose to their careers,” Maj. Jason Gammons, Air Force Office of The Judge Advocate General spokesperson, said in an Air Force news release. “Products containing unregulated levels of THC can cause positive drug tests, resulting in the same disciplinary actions as if members had consumed marijuana.”
The Air Force cited a report that Marcel O. Bonn-Miller from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine published in 2017 examining 84 CBD products sold online. Bonn-Miller’s research determined that less than a third of the products accurately reflected the CBD content.
Even when products claimed they did not contain any THC, the study detected THC in 21 percent of the products. Under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, THC levels in CBD oil products must remain under 0.3 percent.
The Air Force said that while the levels of THC may be low, Airmen shouldn’t take chances.
“The important point for Airmen to consider is the level of uncertainty for these products,” Gammons said. “We want to ensure we arm them with the facts so they can make informed decisions and not inadvertently jeopardize their military careers.”
According to a blog post from Crisp and Associates Military Law, airmen who test positive for marijuana during urinalysis typically receive a discharge and an Article 15, the highest form of military nonjudicial punishment.
Other branches of the military have also issued similar warnings about hemp-derived products.
In August, the U.S. Navy issued a directive that barred sailors and Marines from using products stemming from marijuana. This policy also extended to products containing CBD oil, and outlawed sailors from using such products in states where they have been legalized.
According to Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, the absence of FDA regulations mean sailors can’t “rely on the packaging and labeling of hemp products in determining whether the product contains THC concentrations that could cause a positive urinalysis result.”