The U.S. Air Force is reminding airmen that while taking cannabidiol, or CBD, is the hot new trend, it's off limits to all service members and federal employees.
In an announcement published Tuesday, the service said using CBD oil — which may contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and might result in a positive test for marijuana — is against the rules for all Defense Department troops.
“It's important for both uniformed and civilian airmen to understand the risk these products pose to their careers,” said Maj. Jason Gammons, a spokesperson for the Air Force Office of The Judge Advocate General.
“Products containing unregulated levels of THC can cause positive drug tests, resulting in the same disciplinary actions as if members had consumed marijuana,” he said in a service release.
Consuming CBD not only violates federal law, but also Air Force Instruction 90-507, “Military Drug Demand Reduction Program,” according to the release.
CBD oil has been marketed as a more natural way to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as a sleep aid. It can be found in lotions, bath salts, teas, aroma diffusers and even pet treats.
But having those products could qualify as possession of a controlled substance under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and federal and state laws, the service said.
“We want to ensure we arm [airmen] with the facts so they can make informed decisions and not inadvertently jeopardize their military careers,” Gammons said.
Currently, the only Food and Drug Agency-approved CBD product is Epidiolex, a medication used to control epileptic seizures. Airmen are permitted to use the medication, but only with a valid prescription, according to an April 30 directive.
Other than those with a prescription for the medication, service members who test positive for THC are subject to Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and may receive an other-than-honorable discharge, which can carry a loss of veterans' benefits.
“The important point for airmen to consider is the level of uncertainty for these products,” Gammons said.
Citing a 2017 study conducted by Marcel Bonn-Miller of the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, the Air Force said that, after reviewing roughly 84 CBD products sold online, only “31% of product labels accurately reflected the CBD content and 21% contained THC, even when product labels advertised zero THC.”
“Although the levels may not be significantly high, it can still be enough to result in a positive urinalysis result on a drug test,” according to the release.
The service's message is clear: Avoid CBD products.
— Patricia Kime contributed to this report.
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