As the military services each roll out new policies regarding hemp-derived products like cannabidiol, or CBD, the Defense Department is not mincing words.
"It's completely forbidden for use by any service member in any of the services at this point of time," said Patricia Deuster, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.
The warning, along with the policies issued recently by the Air Force, Coast Guard and Department of the Navy, comes as CBD is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across the country in many forms, from coffee additives and vaping liquids to tinctures, candies and other foods, carrying promises of health benefits ranging from pain and anxiety relief to sleeping aids and inflammation reduction.
A Vietnam veteran and career educator at an elite military training school now finds himself resorting to a Reagan-era executive order in hopes of clearing his name. Henry Cobbs' crime — vaping a non-psychoactive form of cannabis to treat his prostate cancer.
A veteran is 250 times more likely to die from suicide or an opioid-related overdose than their counterpart currently serving in Afghanistan. In 2017, according to icasualties.org, there were a total of fifteen U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan. The same year, the Veterans Administration released a seminal report placing veteran deaths by suicide at an average of twenty per day. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of these deaths are directly related to the over-prescription of opioids and other psychotropic medications that plague our veteran population.