Confusion about CBD has led the U.S. Army to ban the substance for soldiers, despite admitting that it actually isn’t harmful. The action happened after a number of incidents involving soldiers getting sick from ingesting so-called “synthetic cannabinoids.”
“Approximately 60 patients with medical conditions potentially related to vaping products marketed as containing CBD oil have been seen at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the Naval Medical Center at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina,” said an alert from the Army Public Health Center.
“Although pure CBD oil has not yet been associated with adverse health effects,” the warning continued, “CBD vape oils may contain synthetic cannabinoids, concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and/or other hazardous compounds in addition to, or in place of, CBD oil.”
The Army is referring to drugs that are often called “synthetic marijuana,” or “synthetic cannabinoids,” and are sometimes sold under the names Spice or K2. But those products aren’t marijuana, and they aren’t CBD. Similar confusion led to 23 vape shops and other stores being closed last week in Tennessee after police raids seized CBD products and “synthetic cannabinoids,” and law enforcement spokespeople confused the two in their statements.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants — a cannabinoid. But unlike its cannabinoid cousin THC, CBD does not produce a euphoric effect or “high.” CBD can be extracted from marijuana, but usually comes from the industrial hemp plant, which is cannabis but has been selectively bred to eliminate most of its THC content.
CBD is known for therapeutic effects like reducing pain, inflammation and anxiety. It is also used to combat seizure disorders, and a pharmaceutical company is on the verge of getting FDA approval for a CBD-based drug used to treat epilepsy.
According to the warning from the Army Public Health Center, “Soldiers are prohibited from using hemp or products containing hemp oil and are also prohibited from using synthetic cannabis, to include synthetic blends using CBD oil, and other THC substitutes (‘spice’), or any other substance similarly designed to mimic the effects of a controlled substance.”