The Future of CBD Use in Air Force is Uncertain

Until further regulation from governing bodies, like the FDA, can ensure the quality and safety of CBD products sold to the public it is best for servicemen and women to avoid them
Written by 
Trista Best, Registered Dietitian.
|Last Updated:

In mid-November Staff Sgt. Jeremy Mosier, Air Force Public Affairs Secretary, released a statement regarding the Air Force’s stance on CBD use.

Cannabidiol, or CBD as it is most commonly known, is a plant compound found in the cannabis Sativa L.plant and extracted from industrial hemp to produce popular CBD products. Industrial hemp is grown and cultivated with 0.3 percent THC or less. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana known to produce the psychoactive effect associated with this drug. CBD does not produce this psychoactive effect.

The CBD industry has grown rapidly over the past few years due to its many alleged health and wellness benefits. Products range from gummies, vapes, topicals, bath salts, teas, and pet products. Unfortunately, some concern surrounding the industry exists due to inaccurate public perception along with poor industry regulation.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to provide regulations on CBD products from seed to seal, including manufacturing and marketing.

CBD products are only legal when they contain 0.3 percent THC or less, a low enough rate to have no reaction in the body or show up on a drug test. However, because there is little to no regulation regarding the manufacturing of these products there is a risk for some lesser quality CBD products to contain higher amounts.

This is where the Air Force’s apprehensions are rooted. Air Force Office of The Judge Advocate General spokesperson, Major Jason Gammons, stated in the press release, “Products containing unregulated levels of THC can cause positive drug tests, resulting in the same disciplinary actions as if members had consumed marijuana.”

Under Air Force Instruction 90-507, Military Drug Demand Reduction Program, uniformed and civilian Airmen are prohibited to consume marijuana. If an Airman uses unregulated CBD products with high amounts of THC they are apt to fail a drug test at the risk of their careers.

The Air Force made it a point to communicate that the press release prohibiting CBD use by Airmen, but as a means of educating them on potential dangers, concerning both their health and their careers. The Air Force recognizes the need to clearly communicate the risks involved with CBD products.

The results of a 2017 study by Marcel Bonn-Miller, Ph.D. play a major role in the Air Force’s concerns for their Airmen. The study looked at 84 CBD products available online and found that 21% contain THC when the label advertised the product as zero percent THC.

In this same product review, 31 percent of CBD product labels were advertising inaccurate amounts of CBD. The products either contained more or less CBD than what was being sold to the public. While this fact doesn’t affect Airmen’s risk of failing a drug test, it does serve to validate the concerns of the Air Force regarding these products.

What is the answer? Until further regulation from governing bodies, like the FDA, can ensure the quality and safety of CBD products sold to the public it is best for servicemen and women to avoid them. A second, and unsupported option by the Air Force, would be to consume only high-quality CBD sources.

There are manufacturers that produce CBD products with quality and safety as a primary concern, above simply making a profit. A major indicator of a reputable CBD supplier is those that place their products under third-party testing and make those results available to the public. These tests include THC levels along with many other chemicals and compounds.

Regardless of your involvement in the military, it is wise to purchase CBD products from reputable suppliers only. Not only do you risk potentially losing your job over an unfortunate mistake, but in some cases, you risk your health and possibly purchasing a product that will not do what it claims.



Trista Best
Trista Best
Registered Dietitian
Trista Best is a Registered Dietitian, Public Health Dietitian, and former college Nutrition Professor. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2009, Masters of Public Health Nutrition from Liberty University in 2014, and Bachelors of Science in Food and Environmental Sciences from the University of Alabama in 2018. Her dietetic background is in Public Health, Medical Grade Supplements, and Childhood Nutrition.

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