Cannabidiol: Don't Do It!

Story Number: NNS181102-06Release Date: 11/2/2018 9:27:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zack Thomas, USS George Washington Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The military is a drug-free zone, and requires all those in uniform to adhere to that standard. One way to ensure you’re adhering to that policy is to be aware of what you’re putting into your body by reading labels prior to consumption.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound that belongs to the class of plant chemicals called cannabinoids. CBD can be found in everyday items such as gummies, syrups, teas, topical lotions and creams, and is prohibited for use by service members according to Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1010.01.

“CBD comes from any of your cannabis products”, said Chief Hospital Corpsman John Watkins, the drug and alcohol program advisor (DAPA) aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73). “The most common is gummies, body oils and other things that are used for consumption. You can even use it as a syrup or dry it into a powder and put it into something like a casserole.”

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), CBD is a controlled substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Since it’s a controlled substance, it cannot be used in any products, including dietary supplements, foods, and vape oils (oils intended for inhalation).

“By federal law there is no purpose to cannabidiol,” said Watkins. The acceptance of it by society is viewed more as recreational use than medical use, and is still illegal by federal law.”

If a service member is exposed to CBD they should know that they have options to help themselves at their command.

“If a service member ever thinks that they have been exposed to CBD, they should come in and see the DAPA or the chaplain at the beginning of the next day,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Chamu Chimhau, one of George Washington’s departmental DAPAs. “If a member self-refers or is referred to the DAPA by their chain of command, they can get assistance, but if a service member comes in to work and finds out they have a urinalysis in the morning and didn’t say anything to anyone, we aren’t able to help you without you going up [for non-judicial punishment].”

The Navy has a zero-tolerance policy on drug abuse as outlined in Operational Navy (OPNAV) Instruction 5350.4D. Service members can be subject to punishment under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for using any form of illegal substance.

“For service members it’s a career-ender, and it can cost you a lot of money in retirement,” said Watkins. “If you choose to use CBD, you will take responsibility for that decision because you control what goes into your body. We signed a contract for the military to stay drug free and that is what we should do.”

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