If you haven’t heard of CBD by now, you’ll be seeing it everywhere soon. CBD is short for Cannabidiol, the non-intoxicating compound that’s found in the hemp plant.
It’s not marijuana, it’s not mind-altering and it IS legal at the federal level.
Fire departments all over the country and their unions have been grappling with the concept and potential issues with allowing their members to use CBD.
What are its benefits?
Will our members fail a drug test?
Is it addictive?
Is it safe?
Is it even legal?
If it does have benefits and a good application for firefighters, what will this mean for the future of the fire service, since CBD is technically from the cannabis plant.
What are the benefits?
Research is still being done on just about every claim that CBD companies have made. The only treatment the FDA has approved CBD for is two rare forms of pediatric epilepsy, but specifically, the drug Epidiolex (cannabidiol and flavoring) however, the science is mounting for all the potential benefits it may have including relief from
There are plenty of other physical and psychological ailments this compound is being researched for potentially affecting, but the bulk of the research has been performed on those four. Looking at those four issues, you could see the where the need and also the demand for the fire service comes in. Firefighters are plagued with sleep issues, injuries and chronic pain throughout their careers.
Will you fail a drug test?
CBD is made from the hemp plant, which naturally contains trace amounts of THC, 0.3% or less to be exact. CBD oil made with THC and the full spectrum of compounds found in the hemp plant is called Full Spectrum CBD Oil. The trace amount of THC found in full spectrum CBD oil could cause you to fail a drug test. So, if this is the case, it would seem that CBD use in the fire service is pretty much out.
However, there are CBD products that have all of the THC filtered out. Certain brands create something called CBD isolate oil, which filters out every other compound from the hemp plant except CBD. So, you’re left with a CBD product that will not cause a failed drug test.
The downside to this entire industry is that it is not regulated whatsoever. It can’t even be considered a supplement in the eyes of the FDA. Because of this, CBD companies looking to make a quick buck could be selling a product that has harmful contaminants, or has little to no CBD in it. In 2017 a study at the University of Pennsylvania found that 70% of CBD products did not contain the amount of CBD that was advertised on the label.
In all fairness, reputable CBD companies usually acquire lab tests from a third party to ensure what they’re selling is safe and effective. Without these tests, you have no idea what you’re taking
Is it Addictive?
The short answer is no.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a formal review stating that CBD is safe and shows no addictive potential. It’s actually the exact opposite of addictive, a recent double-blind study showed that CBD actually curbs addiction to opiates.
Is It Safe?
You don’t need to be a Haz Mat tech to know that everything (even water) has an LD50. In April of 2019 the University of Little Rock published a study where CBD was causing liver damage in mice. Up until this study was performed, there has never been an LD50 found in humans since the beginning of CBD research.
The toxic dose? 615 mg/kg.
This would mean the average sized male would have to drink 6 liters of potent CBD oil all at once to create a toxic effect in the body. The study basically proved that no one would accidentally overdose on CBD. The WHO has still maintained their status that CBD is safe and has no addictive potential.
Is It Legal?
The farm bill of 2018 was signed in December of last year, removing hemp from the same category as marijuana as well as legalizing CBD products in any form they could be created. This means that on a federal level, CBD has become legal if it has less than 0.3% by weight.
Here’s the catch: some states can still decide to make CBD illegal within their borders. For the most part, CBD with zero thc is legal in every state. In some states like Idaho, CBD with any amount of THC is illegal. So Full Spectrum CBD in that state would be a crime.
However confusing the laws may be, CBD is on the shelves in all 50 states.
The future of CBD in the fire service is very interesting.
A study that was published in 2014 looked at 46 survivors of the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. It was found that 24 of these survivors had PTSD. Every one of the survivors that were diagnosed with PTSD were deficient in the hormone anandamide (the bliss hormone) and those who did not suffer from PTSD had normal levels of this bliss hormone.
The interesting thing about anandamide: It’s the main hormone secreted when CBD is taken. CBD will increase the amount of anandamide in your brain and if low anandamide is a culprit in PTSD, the use of CBD needs to be researched a whole lot more.
Here’s the bottom line:
More research needs to be done and the industry needs some regulation, but all-in-all we have an all-natural substance that could potentially increase longevity on the job, decrease the amount of prescription medications needed and increase quality of life to our brothers and sisters. All while having no side-effects and zero risk for addiction. It’s going to be very difficult for cities and counties to argue with the amount of research being done and the demand being placed on CBD in the coming years.
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