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Cheeba Chews off limits, says Air Force

Jul. 3, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Cheeba Chews provide marijuana in an edible form, but don't let the cute candy-like packaging fool you: Chew one and you're likely to lose your career.
Cheeba Chews provide marijuana in an edible form, but don't let the cute candy-like packaging fool you: Chew one and you're likely to lose your career. (Air Force)
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They look like candy. Cheeba Chews come wrapped in a rainbow of colors and promise relaxation, energy and pain relief.

The Air Force says they are off-limits. Cheeba Chews and their other branded names are thelatest trend in tetrahydrocannabinol — the psychoactive chemical known as THC normally found in marijuana.

Manufactured in Boulder, Colo., Cheeba Chews brands include Trics and Green Hornets, according to the company’s website.

Here are five things airmen need to know about Cheeba Chews:

1. Chewable marijuana is illegal. The Uniform Code of Military Justice is clear: The use of any intoxicating or mood-altering substance other than alcohol and tobacco products is illegal, said Lt. Col. Laurel Tingley, a spokeswoman at the Pentagon.

“This includes any product containing marijuana or any compound or derivative of marijuana, such as THC,” she said in an email. Military members aren’t allowed to use medical marijuana even with a prescription, she said, and that includes the chewable kind.

2. Even “unmedicated” chews can get you in trouble. Cheeba Chews come medicated and unmedicated, the latter of which is infused with hempseed oil and may sound harmless.

But the Air Force, citing lab studies, says people may test positive for THC after ingesting hempseed oil.

“The bottom line is situational awareness of what you eat, because you never know what is in it,” said Master Sgt. Charles Mann, 1st Special Operations Comptroller Squadron first sergeant.

3. Ignorance is no excuse. “Some drugs can accidentally get in the body,” said Senior Airman Christopher Guthrie, 1st Special Operations Wing Judge Advocate General paralegal. That’s why the Department of Defense has thresholds on the presence of certain drugs in the body.

“However, THC is not allowed in our bodies at all, and trace amounts could lead to a discharge,” he said.

4. They aren’t good for you, despite the company’s claim. Cheeba Chews calls cannabis oil “one of nature’s greatest gifts,” a “super food” packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that make our hair shiny.

But because this small, candy-like substance has such a high concentration of THC, it can cause medical problems.

“The dose found in one 10-gram cube is more than a million times the amount needed” for a positive urine test, according to the Marine Corps. “Cheeba Chews deliver the THC directly to the blood stream after dissolving in the mouth.”

5. It’s not a huge problem in the Air Force — at least not yet. Tingley said the service isn’t aware of widespread abuse of chewable marijuana. But the military has it on its radar. Air Force Special Operations Command warned in June that using Cheeba Chews can end a career.

The Marine Corps issued a similar alert in May, calling it a controlled substance military members should avoid.

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