Monday, May 3, 2004
Airmen May Get Burned by Hemp Sun Lotion
By Miguel Navrot
Journal Staff Writer
Just say no to suntan lotion? Cannon Air Force Base is warning airmen about suntan lotions and oils that contain hemp byproducts, including an active chemical found in marijuana.
The April 23 edition of Cannon's newspaper, the Mach Meter, notes that some local tanning salon are selling products containing hemp seed oil, hemp oil or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol THC marijuana's main active chemical.
The military prohibits its members from using marijuana and tests them for THC levels.
Although there is a "statistically small" chance of testing positive for THC with such a lotion, that possibility "is simply not worth the risk," the newspaper notes.
A Cannon spokesman said Air Force policy strictly forbids drug abuse. For instance, airmen taking medical prescriptions are required to keep and show proper paperwork.
"The zero-tolerance drug policy is all inclusive," Airman First Class Jared Marquis said Friday.
The article was written after an officer with Cannon's Area Defense Council, the base's version of a civilian public defender office, noticed that tanning businesses in Clovis and Portales sold lotions made of hemp byproducts, Marquis said.
According to the article, Cannon officials don't expect that anyone would orally ingest a lotion, but lotions could be applied over a skin cut or scrape. "There can be a chance of absorption under certain circumstances."
Another risk of using a hemp-based lotion is attracting the attention of the base's drug-sniffing K-9s. That, in turn, could attract unwanted attention from supervisors and base prosecutors, the article states.
"While the lotion was not used with intent to break any laws and is not illegal, the fact that a military working dog alerts on your car or your person creates a perception that nobody wants," the article warns.
The International Smart Tan Network, a tanning salon trade association, says the THC content in tanning products is used to hydrate skin. Manufacturers of hemp seed-based lotions haven't received complaints about positive drug tests, according to the group's Web site.