How CBD Is Helping Police Officers and First Responders

police officers working
jen keehn

Written by Jen Keehn

Updated February 3, 2021

Dr. El-Hajj

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sandra El-Hajj

Sponsored by our friends at WKND! Wellness. If you haven't heard of WKND! Wellness? Read our review by clicking here.

With the increasing popularity of CBD products, more people started showing high interest in the therapeutic potential CBD contains.

Commonly used to relieve stress, soothe away aches and pains, and inspire a good night’s sleep, CBD is being used by everyone around the world. This includes police officers and many first responders. While the cannabis plant has been around for a long time, it only gained the public's attention recently.

Ever since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and hemp-derived products in the US, it got removed from the Controlled Substances Act, which changed the history of hemp forever. According to federal law, CBD products are legal and can be used freely as long as they contain less than 0.3% of THC1

Can Police Officers Really Use CBD?

While governmental positions in law enforcement have a zero tolerance policy for illegal drug use, several agencies across the country are beginning to change their stand for CBD. 

Why? It’s simple. 

There’s a rise in the number of police officers who claim CBD to have helped them. Both seasoned and potential police candidates noticed the same effect. 

While the FDA hasn’t yet set regulation standards when it comes to CBD, the 2018 Farm Bill made CBD products, derived from hemp, legal at the federal level. States still have the final say, but CBD is legal in the majority of the US. 

Historically, CBD has been treated the same as THC. Both were considered to be substances that are psychotic and make you high. So, both were banned law enforcement. Even though it's not a controlled substance, it has become somewhat of a standard in screening questions for individuals interested in becoming police officers in several states. 

But, things changed. Take Arizona, for example. In June 2019, the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board (AZPOST) changed their stance on screening potential officers for the use of CBD products. A statement was issued that ensured AZPOST “does not view the use or possession of over-the-counter products containing CBD as constituting the illegal use or possession of marijuana, a dangerous drug, or a narcotic drug.”2

AZPOST executive director, Matt Giordano, maintains that potential police officers aren’t using CBD to get high. They’re using it for its therapeutic properties. 

“Police agencies have seen an increase in the number of applicants that have disclosed the use of products containing CBD during their backgrounds,” said Giordano. “What we are finding is someone who might rub a product containing CBD oil on their elbow or knee before going out for a run.” 

Even potential police officer candidates in Utah, a state historically know for its strict marijuana laws, can now divulge if they have used medical marijuana or CBD in the past and not immediately be rejected for hire. According to Utah officials, any applicant who admits to medical cannabis or CBD use will be considered on a case-by-case basis3

As it stands, the legality of CBD use by police officers varies from state to state and each individual department. Some police officers are given the go-ahead to use CBD products, while others are forbidden. 

What stands clear for cops when it comes to using CBD, however, is just how beneficial it can be. When you consider the stress levels and physical exhaustion a police officer faces, it’s no wonder that many are turning to CBD for the relief they need. 

The same applies for first responders like EMTs, paramedics, and firemen. 

There’s serious benefit to be found in CBD products, especially for those who put their lives on the line to help the lives of others. 

How CBD Can Benefits Police and First Responders

For some, CBD is a the precious solution. With its ability to relieve everything from stress and depression to chronic pain and sleepless nights, there’s nothing else that quite compares. CBD contains impressive benefits that make it ideal for many different people, including police officers and first responders. 

Taking on the role of a police officer or first responder is a serious commitment. It can be dangerous and lead to significant stress levels. Research shows that the demands of being in law enforcement can put police officers at an increased risk for increased levels of stress, insomnia, high blood pressure, PTSD, depression, and even suicide4

Here’s how CBD could help. 

  • Stress Relief

Some jobs are undoubtedly more stressful than others. Being a police officer or first responder are both jobs where you experience your fair share of stress. The things that stress most of us out on a regular basis are vastly different from the stress police officers and first responders experience. 

Think about it. When police officers respond to a call, even for something as simple as shoplifting, they have no idea what they’re getting into. Take the two Dallas, TX police officers who were shot at a routine shoplifting call at Home Depot, in 2018. As they attempted to arrest the shoplifter, he shot them both of them and the store’s loss prevention officer. Both were critically wounded, and one of the police officers died. 

Environmental stress is also a big part of these jobs. Death of a co-worker or citizen isn’t uncommon and is an unfortunate reality many police officers and first responders experience on a regular basis. Add on occupational stressors such as increased fatigue, negative commentary from the public, working overtime, dealing with court proceedings and arrests, and it’s easy to see why stress affects these individuals the way it does. 

While CBD won’t make the demands of these types of positions any less, it can help with the stress they entail. Numerous studies have shown CBD could be a potential treatment for anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and more5

  • Better Sleep

Lack of sleep has been likened to an epidemic in the US, and police officers and first responders certainly aren’t exempt. Research indicates that 40% of police officers have symptoms of some type of sleep disorder. Insomnia and sleep apnea tend to be the most common6

Think about it. 

Many police officers and first responders have irregular sleep schedules. Taking into consideration how much stress affects your sleep and vice-versa, there are countless officers and first responders that aren’t getting the sleep they need. 

Here’s where CBD might help. It’s known to regulate the sleep/wake cycle, and depending on how much is taken, CBD can promote either wakefulness or sleepiness. In low doses, it’s known to work as a wake-promoting agent. When taken in higher doses CBD shows to contain more of a sedative-like effect6

According to Consumer Reports, about 10% of the people that take CBD do so for better sleep. For police officers and first responders that need to sleep well, be well rested and fully alert to perform to the best of their ability, CBD could be the answer. Especially for those that don’t want to take over-the-counter or prescription sleeping pills. 

While these options might work for short-term sleep relief, they’re not designed to be used after sleepless nights. Sleeping pills can also be addictive and come with some serious negative side effects. CBD offers a natural alternative to help police officers and first responders not only get better sleep but relieve the stress that’s likely led to their sleep issues. Sounds like a win-win to us. 

  • Pain Relief

According to Police Chief Magazine, police officers are “almost guaranteed to events that can be physically traumatizing.” There’s no doubt that field operations can lead to serious injuries, but there are also common everyday happenings that can injure a police officer or first responder7.

Research shows that due to the unpredictability and physical nature of such positions, they are at a higher risk of work-related physical injury. The most common injuries amongst police officers are soft tissue sprains, but more serious injuries are also a part of the job8.

Lower back pain is also extremely common, with 62% of police officers experiencing back pain on a regular basis. Sitting or standing for long periods of time, wearing heavy duty belts, and even working late nights are all known to contribute to lower back pain amongst police officers9

With its numerous studies and countless anecdotal accounts of the efficacy of CBD to manage both chronic and acute pain, it provides an OTC and opioid-free alternative for officers and first responders for pain relief. Whether taken orally as or used topically to target sore areas, CBD can be a serious help to police officers and first responders looking to naturally relieve the pain they experience on a daily basis10

Final Thoughts on CBD for Police Officers and First Responders

While not every jurisdiction permits police officers and first responders to use CBD products, there are certainly those who use it with great results. 

Many companies understand how important it is for people in such positions to be able to confidently use CBD product without the risk of THC showing up in a urinalysis. 

WKND! Wellness, for example, formulates all CBD products without THC, specifically for police officers and first responders to have the option to safely use CBD, THC-free. 

There’s no doubt that CBD can help police officers and first responders with the demands of their duties. We truly look forward to the day when all active duty personnel can freely use the non-psychoactive cannabinoid without having to worry about the repercussions of doing so. 

Featured image by BodyWorn by Utility from Pixabay 

references

1Abernethy, A. (2019, July 25). Hemp production and the 2018 farm bill. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/congressional-testimony/hemp-production-and-2018-farm-bill-07252019 

2Hsieh, S. (2019, July 08). Arizona police board Clears cops to use CBD Products. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/arizona-board-clears-cops-to-use-cbd-products-11318879

3Carlisle, N. (2019, June 04). Would-be cops in Utah can use medical marijuana, but they'll have to jump through some hoops. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.sltrib.com/news/2019/06/04/would-be-cops-utah-can/

4Impact of stress on police officers' physical and mental health. (2008, September 29). Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080926105029.htm

5Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics12(4), 825–836. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1

6Murillo-Rodríguez, E., Sarro-Ramírez, A., Sánchez, D., Mijangos-Moreno, S., Tejeda-Padrón, A., Poot-Aké, A., Guzmán, K., Pacheco-Pantoja, E., & Arias-Carrión, O. (2014). Potential effects of cannabidiol as a wake-promoting agent. Current neuropharmacology12(3), 269–272. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X11666131204235805

7Schlosser, L. Z., PhD, ABPP, & McAleer, G. P. (n.d.). Policechiefmagazine.org. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.policechiefmagazine.org/opioid-use-among-police-personnel/

8Lyons, K., Radburn, C., Orr, R., & Pope, R. (2017). A Profile of Injuries Sustained by Law Enforcement Officers: A Critical Review. International journal of environmental research and public health14(2), 142. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020142

9Anderson, G. S., Zutz, A., & Plecas, D. (2011, January). (PDF) police officer back health. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281378222_Police_Officer_Back_Health

10Russo E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and clinical risk management4(1), 245–259. https://doi.org/10.2147/tcrm.s1928

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