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CBD in the Fire Service

August 30, 2023

24

A recent article featured in the Daily Dispatch shares the story of a fire department in Indiana that changed its drug policy to allow its firefighters to use CBD products. CBD has been legal in Indiana since March of 2018. The policy change for this fire department includes CBD and Delta-8 products of any form. The fire chief of the department recognized that firefighters encounter sleep difficulties and endure both emotional and physical strain on their bodies. He believes CBD could offer assistance in addressing these issues. He reports having received positive feedback from his firefighters and notes there have been “zero issues” since this policy change took place a year ago. This week, we are pleased to welcome back Dr. Andrew Holter, an organizational psychologist, to join the discussion. Chiefs Bob Horton and Jeff Buchanan will be engaging in a conversation with Fire Headlines host Inanna Hencke about the usage of CBD in the fire service.

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CBD legalization is making its way across the country, and our panelists ask, ‘Does it belong in the fire service?’ in the latest episode of Fire Headlines by WFCA.

A recent article featured in the Daily Dispatch shares the story of a fire department in Indiana that changed its drug policy to allow its firefighters to use CBD products. CBD has been legal in Indiana since March of 2018. The policy change for this fire department includes CBD and Delta-8 products of any form. The fire chief of the department recognized that firefighters encounter sleep difficulties and endure both emotional and physical strain on their bodies. He believes CBD could offer assistance in addressing these issues. He reports having received positive feedback from his firefighters and notes there have been “zero issues” since this policy change took place a year ago.

This week, we are pleased to welcome back Dr. Andrew Holter, an organizational psychologist, to join the discussion. Chiefs Bob Horton and Jeff Buchanan will be engaging in a conversation with Fire Headlines host Inanna Hencke about the usage of CBD in the fire service.

Drug Policies

Jeff begins the discussion by commending the fire chief from the article for making such a bold decision and policy change. Jeff shares that his experience with drug policies has consistently followed a strict zero-tolerance approach towards any foreign substance other than alcohol. According to the article, firefighters shared with their fire chief that they no longer feel the need to sit down and have a few beers after work, thanks to the drug policy change.

Bob raises the concern of using a substance, whether that is CBD or alcohol, as a coping mechanism rather than exploring other paths to tackle the physical and emotional issues firefighters encounter. If fire departments approve the usage of CBD and Delta-8, how would that impact their worker’s compensation? Dr. Holter elaborates on the absence of a reliable testing method. If a firefighter was using Delta-8, within the window of 12 to 24 hours prior to their shift and has to perform a post-incident drug screening at work, it is possible the results will show as positive.

CBD and Delta-8

CBD stands for Cannabidiol, it is a compound found in marijuana. It is believed that CBD does not contain THC, meaning it cannot cause a “high” that is typically associated with marijuana. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states, “There is a lot we do not know about CBD. Currently, we do not know how CBD use affects a person over time. We also do not know how different modes of CBD use (smoking, vaping, eating, applying to skin, etc.) affect a person.”1

In contrast, Delta-8 does contain THC, the compound responsible for producing the “high” or having a psychoactive effect on consumers.2 Our panel engages in a discussion about the potential concerns surrounding the scenario where a firefighter consumes this product and then reports to work the following day and has an accident occur.

Listener Question

This week’s listener question was “how much does a fire engine weigh?” Although no one on our panel held the duty of engineer during their time in the firehouse, Bob recalls finding the weight of a Type 1 fire engine written on the apparatus – that piece of equipment weighed 72,000 pounds! The weight of a fire engine depends on if it is carrying water, what other equipment it has on board, and what type of engine it is. Jeff adds to this by informing our listeners that one gallon of water weighs eight pounds. With that information in mind, think about how much a full 600-gallon tank must weigh on a fire engine!

You can email Fire Headlines at [email protected].

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Sources

  1. CDC, “CBD: What You Need to Know.” Accessed August 16, 2023.
  2. FDA, “5 Things to Know About Delta-8.” Accessed August 16, 2023.  

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