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: AFMAN44-197, section 1.2.2.1, states that “…the knowing ingestion (orally, intravenously, through smoking/vaporization, or through other means) of products containing or products derived from hemp is prohibited… Additionally, the knowing use of hemp products designed to penetrate the skin, including but not limited to transdermal patches, 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.”
  • Navy and Marine Corps: ALNAV 057/19 states, “Sailors and Marines are prohibited from knowingly using products made or derived from hemp (as defined in 7 U.S.C. 1639o), including cannabidiol (CBD), regardless of the products THC concentration, claimed or actual, and regardless of whether such product may lawfully be bought, sold, and used under the law applicable to civilians.”
  • 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 September 2019

References

Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (H. R. 2), Pub.L. 115-334 (2018).

Johnson, R. (2018). Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity. United States Congress, Washington, DC, Retrieved from: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32725.pdf