Citizen CBD: Vets Healing Through Cannabis, Martial Arts, Service

This Veteran’s Day, if you want to put your money where your mouth is, Citizen CBD might be the place to shop for your cannabidiol (CBD).

Citizen CBD is a veteran-owned and operated company that specializes in hemp-derived CBD products. Hemp and marijuana are both the same species of plant. The cannabis plant is identified as marijuana when it has over .3% THC, but the same species with below .3% THC (regardless of CBD content) is considered hemp.

Hemp, while illegal to produce federally, is legal to possess and used in supplements, food products, cosmetics, building materials, and more. Parallel to many states’ legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has been the legalization of industrial hemp production. Due to the fact that the legal definition of hemp does not address CBD content, many produce high-CBD hemp plants and extracts in the European Union and states such as Colorado within legal hemp programs. The federal government even legalized pilot research programs under the Farm Bill in 2014.

 Citizen CBD CEO Grant Carstensen said that due to the grey area in the farm bill and other federal law they currently import all their hemp. “Our CBD is sourced from various farms in Europe and is CO2 extracted here in the states,” Carstensen said. “This is a source of debate within the cannabis community. We have been advised by our legal team that anything but foreign-sourced hemp would cause us to be out of compliance and, until we have very clear language to counter that statement, we will err on the side of caution. Not to mention our products are of the highest quality and anyone who has seen, smelled, tasted, or vaped our products would know that it would be a huge mistake to change anything whatsoever.”

Carstensen is a good person to ask about quality CBD products. He’s used them to help treat the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) he has experienced since serving in the Marines for more than 10 years.

He described the effects of the disease. “For me, it has been especially hard when having to focus. Over-analyzing situations, over-analyzing people and being anxious is also a real thing for me. But I have it way easier than many others that I have met.” Carstensen said that cannabis and CBD have helped him overcome these problems.

“Speaking for myself, CBD has been so helpful in allowing me to filter out the noise,”’ Carstensen said. “It allows me to focus. For others I have received numerous messages from, it is what [allows] them to carry on a normal life. A life without a constant sense of worry, fear, or the need to be constantly on high alert.”

Carstensen isn’t the only one who has benefitted from CBD as a treatment for PTSD. The DEA approved a first-ever trial for cannabis to treat PTSD under the guidance of researcher Sue Sissley and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) last year. While that study has faced trouble acquiring cannabis and university backing for the study at times, the science and law is slowly catching up with the knowledge that CBD is effective at helping veterans and others with PTSD and other conditions.

Carstensen’s partner and business development director Rick Martinez, an Army veteran, has witnessed the pain of soldiers returning from battle and healing power of CBD. Martinez served in the Army twice, reenlisting as a nurse to help treat veterans after the attacks on September 11.

“The hardest part for 18 months I took care of kids (they were the same age as my kids) [was the] soldiers, Marines, Navy, and Air Force troops who had been blown up,” Martinez said. “No other way to put it. We’d go to the airfield and off load blown up vets and we’d do that day … after day.… It was by far the absolute hardest part, both mentally and emotionally.”

Martinez and Carstensen founded Citizen CBD to bring the products that helped them and other veterans to a larger audience. In addition to working with veterans, Citizen CBD donates a portion of all sales to the We Defy Foundation, a charity that uses Brazilian jiu jitsu and martial arts lessons to help veterans rebuild their bodies and minds in the civilian world.

“BJJ (Brazilian jiu jitsu) is how they create wholeness and wellness.... The camaraderie, teaching, learning, physicality, and practicing new skills ... brings a sense of peace and health to our veterans,” Martinez said.

In addition to Citizen CBD products being used to fund a charity for veterans, they are also produced with quality in mind. The brand uses medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are used by many products because they cost less. MCTs are easier for the body to metabolize and help allow for higher bioavailability of products. Carstensen said the company has a white paper outlining the benefits of MCT use on their website.

Citizen CBD products are also tested for terpenes—molecules in the plant besides cannabinoids that create the effects of cannabis. Their products contain myrcene, terpinolene, pinene, limonene, and other terpenes, which help improve the entourage effect of the cannabis.

For more information visit or go to to learn about the charity they work with.