As the Hemp market continues its rapid growth across the United States, and globally, it has captivated many people’s interest. Among those, are politicians, lobbyists, and enormous conglomerates; but it has also captivated the veteran community in a major way. Many veterans are currently using CBD in an effort to decrease dependency on opioids and combat symptoms of PTSD.
Even public icons like Coca-Cola have released statements that express their close observation of the CBD market “as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world.”
In only two years, the industrial CBD/hemp market is projecting growth upwards of $22 billion, potentially pacing for $591 million in generated revenue this year.
Testimonials abound to the efficacy of CBD in relieving pain, and even anxiety, without inducing the stereotypical “marijuana high” many people associate with cannabis. An astonishing number of vets have already come forward stating that CBD has helped with their PTSD symptoms more than the medication they have been prescribed by their VA hospital.
U.S. Army vet Mike Stedman, who suffers from PTSD, has been prescribed a litany of medications since his diagnosis in 2017. He was first introduced to CBD by a friend who suggested he try it, in an effort to combat his debilitating anxiety.
In a statement given to “American Military News” he explained how he was shocked at the efficacy of the oil, stating, “When I wasn’t taking it, I had really bad anxiety and was constantly on the alert. I’d go out to public places and it was too much.”
He added, “I started taking it, and everything calmed down. I’m more tolerable in public places. I love flying again. I used to hate being in planes with other people.”
Stedman believes there is enormous possibility in CBD revolutionizing the way veterans treat PTSD, and thinks it should be more easily accessible through their VA.
Tom Coffe, another U.S. Army veteran, also tried CBD oil as a participant in clinical research targeting PTSD patients. He claims, “It just makes your day better. It takes all that bull**** that clutters up your brain and it compartmentalizes it for you.” Strong, but honest words from someone who struggled to find relief before utilizing CBD.
“It’s not a cure-all. It’s not magic. It’s not going to make you go from being a lunatic to ‘normal,’ but it does help. It helps quell the need for urgency, the desire for chaos, the ridiculousness at all times,” Coffe said.
“The VA wants to shove pills down your throat. You go in and talk to them for 15 minutes, and you get three different types of medicines that alter your brain functions and have bad side effects. CBD doesn’t do that. I think it would help a lot of vets. There’s a lot of guys out there who are trying to make things work in their life, I think CBD oil is a step in the right direction,” explained Coffe.
He mentions that many CBD users are falsely labeled “hippy potheads,” and points out that “There are people who are addicted to pain killers like oxycontin, but they’re not ‘drug addicts’ because they got it from a doctor.”
With the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, access to CBD, and the monetary incentive to participate in the hemp market have exploded. Even before the law officially changed, the CBD market was already on an astronomical rise and many federal agencies simply “looked the other way.”
Senator Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky (a major player in the cultivation of hemp throughout the history of the United States), was a key factor in the bill’s success. He not only lobbied for hemp legalization for several years, he also introduced the legislation that ultimately succeeded in opening the hemp industry.
In a statement issued to the press, McConnell said:
“For far too long, the federal government has prevented most farmers from growing hemp. I have heard from many Kentucky farmers who agree it’s time to remove the federal hurdles in place and give our state the opportunity to seize its full potential and once again become the national leader for hemp production. That’s why I was proud to introduce legislation in the Senate to finally and fully legalize industrial hemp.”
“In collaboration with agricultural leaders in Kentucky and throughout the nation, I utilized my position as Senate Majority Leader and as a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee to secure language in the 2014 Farm Bill to authorize hemp research pilot programs.”
“By legalizing hemp and helping farmers, we can continue to see growth in new and innovative products made with Kentucky-grown hemp across our state and the nation. This is our chance to continue to help our agricultural economy and put more Kentucky-made products on the market. Kentucky’s farmers are some of the best in the world, and this legislation will give them the option to enjoy the full benefits of this versatile crop with a long and rich history in our Commonwealth.”
Another hugely influential part of the hemp legalization movement was the nonprofit U.S. Hemp Roundtable. Launched with 60 companies and members of the industrial hemp community, it originated in Kentucky in 2014. They underwent a rebranding early in 2017 in an effort to express the nationwide legalization effort.
General Counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, Jonathan Miller, says the organization’s primary efforts are centered around state and federal hemp legalization. The trade association’s website states, “Our goal is to secure passage of bi-partisan legislation in the U.S. Congress that would establish hemp as an agricultural commodity, and permanently remove it from regulation as a controlled substance.”
Miller commented on McConnell, describing the organization’s luck to have him as their “champion,” saying he “guaranteed” the passage of the then pending Farm Act. Since the passage, Miller mentioned the Roundtable was ready for any legal battles still to come, specifically citing the “concern that the FDA might try to restrict products, especially hemp-derived CBD oil.”
The Roundtable has already spent upwards of $100,000 in court over the last two years, not including state level lobbying.
Director of Domestic Hemp Production at PlusCBD Oil, and member of the Roundtable, told press, “We are excited to see the Farm Bill get passed with the language concerning hemp that we worked so hard on with the U.S. Hemp Roundtable in the bill. As founding members of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and pioneers of the Hemp-derived CBD market, we are thrilled for there to finally be clarity on what hemp products are, the fact that they are legal federally, and for a commercial domestic supply chain of hemp to be opened up so that American farmers have the opportunity to capitalize on what might be one of the hottest new categories to hit the market that this country has ever seen.”
The Pharmaceutical Division of PlusCBD Oil, according to their website, “is developing synthetically-formulated cannabidiol-based medicine, pursuing the approval of the U.S. FDA for drugs with specific indications utilizing cannabidiol as the active pharmaceutical ingredient.” Whereas the Consumer Products Division of the company “delivers botanical-based cannabidiol products that enhance quality of life. Currently distributed nationally in health food stores, health care provider’s offices and online, each consumer product’s brand is backed by a formal safety review, growing body of case reports, and physician’s recommendations.”
Founder of the Association of Cannabis Specialists, and 15 year practicing VA physician, Dr. Jordan Tishler explains, “PTSD is a horribly debilitating illness that affects millions of Americans including veterans, women, and children. A growing medical literature support cannabis as a safe and effective treatment for PTSD that can help people regain control of their lives.”
“In my clinical experience, cannabis has been most helpful in regulating sleep patters and bouts of panic that are at the heart of the problem in PTSD. Addressing these symptoms with cannabis has helped many of my patients lead productive and fulfilling lives again,” explained Tishler, but regulation is complicated.
“First, despite what anyone tells you, it’s federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA seems not to be interested in pursuing this at the moment. The FDA did go after four companies last year who were selling CBD oil that contained NO CBD, thus they were making false claims,” said Tishler, concluding by saying, “Beyond that, however, the FDA has not moved to regulate it more closely. Many packages make all sorts of medical or wellness claims that just aren’t proven. States may additionally regulate CBD via their state medical cannabis laws, but most people are buying CBD via the web, so that means no local control and no safety information.”