Recent federal legislation (the 2018 Farm Bill) defines “hemp” as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives… with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.” The same law makes hemp no longer a controlled substance.
The hemp plant naturally contains the substance delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance in marijuana. However, the amount of THC varies widely depending on the varieties (and parts) of the cannabis plant.
Even though the new law removes low-THC hemp as a controlled substance, the law also recognizes FDA’s authority to determine whether hemp or any of its derivatives are allowed in foods, drugs, and dietary supplements. For more information, please visit FDA’s press release and FAQs. Although this new legislation might affect future military policy, the current service policies—as described below—have not yet changed.
DoD policy as set in DoDI 1010.01 specifically mentions marijuana, “synthetic cannabinoids,” and controlled substances (which include THC), but does not mention hemp per se; test levels for THC are described in DoDI 1010.16. However, each military service has its own policy on the use of hemp products:
- Air Force: AFI 90-507, section 1.1.6, states that “the ingestion of products containing or products derived from hemp seed or hemp seed oil is prohibited.”
- Army: Army Substance Abuse Program, AR600-85, section 4-2p states “this regulation prohibits Soldiers from using Hemp or products containing Hemp oil.”
- Marine Corps: The Marine Corps currently has no restrictions on the use of hemp-based products that are legally sold in the United States.
- Navy: OPNAVINST 5350.4d, Drug Testing Program, Enclosure (2), states that the “Navy has ‘zero tolerance’ for...the wrongful use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of a controlled substance,” which includes marijuana and THC. The Navy does not have a formal policy on the use of hemp products in food.
- Coast Guard: COMDTINST M1000.10, Chapter 5, section D.1, states that “The Coast Guard does not tolerate the intentional use of illegal drugs, illicit chemical analogues, or prescription drug misuse. This includes ingestion of hemp oil or products made with hemp seed oil; however, does not include food items regulated and approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) that contain hemp ingredients.”
Updated 25 February 2019