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Amendment will allow military soldiers to use CBD products

An amendment to a military funding bill would give military personnel the ability to openly use hemp/CBD. Advocates welcome the bill, but there is very little prospect that CBD products will become standard military care in the near future. The amendment was put forward by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI, and was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed with a 336-71 vote.

Amendment put forward by noted hemp advocate

Gabbard, a military veteran who was also briefly one of the candidates for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination, advocated for the industry in the past. In 2019, she introduced the ‘Hemp for Victory Act’, her office said it was meant to provide an incentive to family farms in order to get into the hemp growing arena and protect them from large corporate companies.

The NDAA will go to the Senate for further debate. Although the future of the CBD amendment is unclear, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, noted friend of the sector. Sponsored legislation in the past on behalf of the thriving industry of growing and processing hemp in his state.

The amendment states that a “member of the Armed Forces” may not be prohibited from “the possession, use, or consumption” of hemp or hemp-related products as long as it meets federal standards. In addition to this, it was written that it must be “in compliance with applicable Federal, State and local law”.

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Steve Hoffman, principal in the firm Compass Natural Marketing, said news was welcome and potentially could open a new door in preventive health care for members of the military. Hoffman has a long history of working on hemp issues, helping with communications on some of the early state cannabis initiatives that made this endeavor a possibility.

According to Hoffman, a month ago a ban on all hemp products was in the works, so this new amendment is welcome. He also said that soldiers suffering trauma from stress or any sort of injury can benefit from hemp/CBD products. In passing this bill, service members would be able to use the products, reducing the need to use “harsher pharmaceuticals”.

Dr Michael Lewis, MD, medical adviser to the CBD product manufacturer CV Sciences, strongly believes that hemp/CBD products could be of great benefit to members of the military and that these facts have been overlooked for far too long. Dr. Lewis retired after 31 years as an army doctor with the rank of colonel in 2012. He further goes on to say that, “Any tool that we have that can decrease these rates of PTSD and suicide among members of the military we should be seriously looking at and using”.

NIH research suggested CBD’s potential

After retirement, Dr. Lewis founded a nonprofit called the “Brain Health Education and Research Institute. There he continued the work he had started while on active duty using omega-3s to help traumatic brain injury patients.

He said that research coming out of National Institutes of Health found an endocannabinoid-like derivative of DHA that was active in the brain, dubbed synaptamine, giving him the idea that there could be a synergy between omega-3s and CBD.

While Dr. Lewis lauds the potential of Rep. Gabbard’s amendment, he said there is still a long way to go before hemp/CBD products might become readily available on military bases.

Conservatism of military medical authorities

Dr. Lewis noted that there is an entrenched inertia and conservatism on the part of military medical authorities that’s hard to overcome quickly. In 2011, he published a study in which they observed the omega-3 levels in soldiers. The results pointed out the 65% increase in suicides among soldiers with the lowest level of omega-3s.

With the provided evidence, he thought it would be simple to implement an omega-3s supplementation regimen as a recommendation as standard practice for members of the military, but that never happened. Now, after 10 years, he said that he’s noticed omega-3s becoming a fairly common recommendation from military doctors even without the official policy in place.

A statement taken from Dr. Lewis mentions that dating back to 9/11, the ongoing stress in the military is at an all time high, therefore providing a great need for these products. He further goes on to say that even though it’s not prescribed, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines all get their hands on these products when they think they can get away with it.