CBD Product Ban Expanded to Include Lotions, Topical Applications
From Chief of Naval Personnel public affairs
Announced in ALNAV 074/20 on July 24, 2020, the message supersedes previous guidance. The new ALNAV bans use of any hemp product or product derived from hemp and violations can occur without regard to intended physical or mental consequences of the use.
The move was done to protect Sailors from potential tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exposure that could negatively impact mission readiness and disqualify a Sailor from continued service. It is impossible for consumers to determine how much THC a product actually contains in the current environment where label claims are not trustworthy. Department of Defense (DoD) officials determined that it is not reasonable nor practical for the DoD to test every hemp product, which may or may not cause a positive urinalysis result.
While federal law continues to allow American consumers to use products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC, the Navy policy is meant to ensure there is no unknowing consumption of any THC amount.
“This really is about the health of the force and ensuring the Navy remains a drug-free workplace,” said LA Parker, Drug Detection & Deterrence branch head, for the 21st Century Sailor office. “We have to be fit to fight and can’t take a risk in allowing our Sailors to consume or use these types of products.”
The Navy policy continues to allow for use of cannabinoid formulations approved by the Food and Drug Administration when a service member has a valid prescription. A Sailor should consult with his or her primary care physician in these circumstances and ensure it is documented in his or her medical record. The ALNAV does not prohibit the use of durable hemp goods, such as rope of clothing.
Sailors who test positive for THC or other substances, for which they have no valid prescription, will be processed for administrative separation and could receive a discharge characterized as “Other Than Honorable.”
Every Sailor has a personal responsibility to diligently avoid intentional or accidental exposure to THC and other prohibited substances.
Navy OKs CBD Use — Provided It’s Topical And Has Less Than .3% THC
The Navy is offering new guidance on products containing the active ingredient in marijuana, after a change in the law makes some products containing CBD legal under federal law.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer released new guidance for cannabidiol, or CBD, on Aug. 18, after the latest federal farm bill legalized products made from hemp-based CBD, back in December.
Currently, we do have an influx of products coming out right now and we just want to make sure they are informed and they’re safe,” said Selle Butler, a chemist with the Navy Personnel Command, which oversees drug testing.
It is still against Navy regulations to ingest CBD or use products designed to penetrate the skin, like patches. CBD creams are now OK, provided they contain .3% or less of THC — the ingredient associated with the high produced by consuming marijuana products, she said.
That caveat may open up a legal gray area in the Navy’s zero-tolerance policy, according to Jeff Carver, an attorney who represents military clients in San Diego, including those who fail a Navy drug test.
“Even different products are OK provided that it’s cream for the skin,” Carver said. “Shampoo for the hair — if it’s below .3%. That might pass. Well, that’s dangerous.”
The confusing language may make it tougher for the Navy to enforce its zero-tolerance policy for products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The new guidance came out Aug. 19. Carver hasn’t had a client claim that he tested positive because he used a topical cream. His advice to Navy personnel is to steer clear of any CBD product that doesn’t require a prescription.
The Navy has no evidence that using the topical CBD creams with less than .3% THC will cause a sailor to fail a drug test, Butler said.
Using marijuana remains strictly against Navy regulations. The other services have similar prohibitions, as marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The latest farm bill makes a distinction between CBD derived from hemp and products derived from marijuana, which has a higher level of THC.
As a sign of how quickly the thought on CBD is evolving, in November the public affairs staff for aircraft carrier USS George Washington sent out a release with the alarming headline “Cannabidiol: Don’t Do It!”
The release warned sailors that there is no medical use for CBD, contradicting the Food and Drug Administration. Last year, the FDA approved the first medication containing CBD, Epidiolex, which is used to control epilepsy.