The official stance of the Department of Defense for active military personnel states that any usage of illicit substances by said personnel is grounds for punishment and possible discharge from the military.
Both recreational and medical marijuana usage is unacceptable to active duty personnel, as stated. But what about CBD derived from hemp? The answer to this simple question is not clear. Although the DOD official stance on illicit substances gives us a clear understanding for active military personnel, what about veterans? Are those suffering from any number of mental disorders (mostly due to military service) also prohibited access to such health alternatives?
10% of the general population will deal with an inability to adapt to a traumatic situation at some point in their lives. In April of 2018 a group of veterans began lobbying for a change once they themselves began using CBD oil and experiencing relief from pain and psychotic disorders.
These veterans had personal experience with prescription opioids and were considered twice as likely to die from accidental overdose on their medications. When this story broke, Veronica Wayne stated she had found relief from her CBD oil but that it was completely unavailable from the VA, the Office of Veterans Affairs. She had been on opioids for seventeen years previously and described herself as “…a walking zombie.”
Army reservist Dale Rider says he began using it for his back pain and found immense relief. In contrast, Dale reports his experience with opioids led him to be more angry, more depressed, and to experience seizures.
Many doctors are still a bit wary of the new natural supplement, in part because they don’t know exactly how to prescribe it, what dosages to recommend, how it interacts with other medications. Though these concerns are valid, there is more than just anecdotal evidence to support claims that CBD is effective with mental health issues. A study that began testing through animal subjects and has confirmed its findings with human trials concludes that “CBD may offer therapeutic benefits for disorders related to inappropriate responses to traumatic memories. The effects of CBD on the different stages of aversive memory processing make this compound a candidate pharmacological adjunct to psychological therapies for PTSD.”
Regardless of the VA’s stance, many veterans will continue to use the oil, as evidenced by the many seeking the substance. A news story in Corpus Christi, Texas brought attention to the retired service men and women who were seeking out CBD in their hometown. They’ve found relief from the oil. And as Louis Celli, national director of Veterans Affairs said, “Anything that makes a veteran feel better–especially something that’s non-toxic–is something we’re going to support.”
Perhaps now that the Farm Bill has passed and public opinion of hemp is improving, we can get more research done without as many roadblocks. These military men and women deserve alternatives and change is looking possible. Hopefully sooner rather than later as many active military personnel are still reticent to try CBD, associating the supplement with marijuana still and fearing some kind of consequence or fallout from the Department of Defense.
Read more about Post-traumatic Stress Disorder here.