Every day, Americans across the country become more accustomed to seeing popular CBD topical cream products online, on TV, and the shelves of the local health food store.
But what you might not know is that this sudden surge in popularity has been made possible largely by the efforts of a seemingly unlikely group of advocates: America’s veterans.
So why exactly are veterans lobbying across the U.S. and pushing lawmakers to legalize hemp products like CBD pain relief rubs to make them more widely and readily available?
What is CBD?
The acronym CBD is short or Cannabidiol, a chemical compound that is found in various strains of cannabis plants but is most responsibly sourced from the non-psychoactive hemp plant, or Cannabis Sativa.
The CBD extract used in topical creams and pain relief rubs is typically infused into a carrier oil in different amounts to help the user manage localized pain, such as chronic back pain, arthritis, and muscle soreness.
What does the current legislation in the U.S. say about CBD products?
Though the laws regulating the use of medical cannabis products were relaxed only very recently with the Farm Bill in 2018, those who are looking to buy CBD oil will still find that it remains heavily restricted.
In fact, despite it’s less than 0.3% THC level – a trace amount that cannot induce psychoactive effects – hemp remains classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Because of this classification, institutions with federal funding, such as the VA, are not legally permitted to research its potential medical benefits.
Why are veterans turning to CBD?
According to a study conducted in 2011, U.S. vets are twice as likely to die from prescription opioid abuse than non-veterans in the U.S.
Post-service, many veterans are at risk of developing opioid dependencies to handle the PTSD and chronic pain symptoms that resulted from their service. Opioids, despite their addictive properties, remain the traditional and most-often prescribed drug for handling the issues that veterans return to their civilian lives with.
CBD topical creams offer a more natural and non-habit forming option for veterans who deal with daily chronic pain and PTSD symptoms.
Why are veterans pushing to change the laws that regulate CBD?
Obviously, one of the most compelling reasons that vets have for backing hemp product deregulation is the possibility that it might lower the risk of opioid abuse among veterans of the U.S. military.
However, despite their use dating back to ancient times, CBD products – thanks to the Farm Bill – are relatively new to the U.S. market. As a result, there have been fewer case studies conducted concerning their long-term use up until this point, and their sale is still relatively restricted.
Though the studies available to us concerning CBD use are overwhelmingly positive, hemp products like CBD topical cream are still considered unregulated supplements. This means that most doctors are restricted from recommending them to patients.
Although the FDA has recently backed the production of cannabis-based medications, CBD products still do not carry FDA approval, which makes some veterans hesitant to take them, despite their potential pain-relieving benefits.
Many of the veterans who are hesitant to use CBD products and get the help they need also express concern about CBD use showing up on drug tests based on the equivocation of hemp and marijuana plants.
However, this is quite simply a matter of misinformation. Responsible manufacturers use only hemp-sourced CBD in the production of their hemp oil pain relief rubs. This means that the cannabinoid THC – the chemical compound found in marijuana that shows up on a drug test – is not present in responsibly manufactured products and should not show up on a drug screening test.
Veterans are pushing to demythologize CBD products to make this natural and potentially immeasurably beneficial alternative to traditional pain relief medications more readily available for those veterans in the U.S. who are suffering from chronic pain issues and PTSD.