CBD products are everywhere in Texas since the state legalized hemp. Experts warn: buyer beware.
Much of the sudden spike in popularity is thanks to a Texas law last year that legalized hemp, the plant from which CBD is derived.
by Naomi Andu Jan. 23, 2020 12 AM Central
In 2017, business was slow for Sarah Kerver. She was a sales rep for a Colorado-based company trying to push hemp and CBD products in Texas. But customers were apprehensive.
“No one wanted to touch [CBD]. No one wanted to talk about it. No one was interested in carrying this product in any sort of spa or retail space,” Kerver said.
Today, the market for CBD, or cannabidiol, is exploding. Stores are popping up across the state selling tinctures and topicals. It’s being mixed into smoothies and coffee at cafes. Spas are advertising CBD massages and therapies. And much of the sudden spike in popularity is thanks to a Texas law last year that legalized hemp, the plant from which CBD is derived.
“You go anywhere now, and you find something that says ‘CBD’ on it,” said Kerver, who’s now in talks with Austin distributors interested in carrying her CBD product line, called 1937 Apothecary.
But buyer beware, experts warn. Anyone can sell CBD in Texas. Many of the products are advertised as natural alternatives to prescription medications and make unfounded claims to treat conditions like chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, diabetes and psychosis. None of these claims are recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
And because of lax labeling and licensing regulations, unsuspecting consumers may not actually know what they’re buying.
“Unless you really know that it’s something reputable, I would say to be wary because you don’t really know that it is even CBD,” Kerver said.
In 2018, the federal government passed a new Farm Bill legalizing hemp and derivatives, like CBD, with less than 0.3% of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Hemp and marijuana are both part of the cannabis plant family, but while marijuana is rich in THC and produces a high, hemp contains only traces of the psychoactive compounds and is richer in CBD.
In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill legalizing hemp and bringing state policy in line with federal law.
Confusion on the part of law enforcement has led to the wrongful arrests of some in possession of CBD or hemp even after the Texas law went into effect. Still, the policy change is an important step on the way to allowing Texans to partake without fear of reprisal, according to Lisa Pittman, a lawyer on the Texas Department of Agriculture’s industrial hemp advisory council.
Because Kerver launched her line before the Texas bill, she’s seen firsthand how changes in the law have led to evolving attitudes in Texas about the products. Previously, she was able to sell Colorado CBD products before the federal government legalized hemp because of the 2014 Farm Bill, which started a pilot program for participating states to grow industrial hemp.
“There’s been more media around it since Texas has come on board, definitely,” Kerver said. “Texans are becoming more educated about it and much more open to it.”
Industry leaders say they can’t calculate the exact number of new CBD businesses that have opened in Texas over the past year — in part because the Texas Department of State Health Services won’t implement licensing requirements until early this year — though anecdotally, many say they’ve seen an uptick.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce counted at least three CBD-related relocations or expansions since the bill passed last summer, creating about 140 new jobs in the emerging sector. But the list, which is compiled from public media announcements and deals the chamber is involved in, isn’t comprehensive.
Sisters Shayda and Sydney Torabi founded Restart CBD in September 2018, just before the Farm Bill passed. Sydney Torabi said the changes in the law have made business run more smoothly.
The two originally intended to operate the business exclusively online but decided to open a brick-and-mortar location in Austin after having difficulty with several online payment companies, from mom-and-pop merchants to giants like PayPal, that didn’t want anything to do with cannabis.
“We were a business, but it wasn’t as functional as it could’ve been until the [Texas] law passed,” Sydney Torabi said.
The Torabis started with a pop-up store and expanded to a permanent location last April, a month before Texas law changed.
“We were operating in a gray area until the Texas bill passed,” Sydney said. “It did take away a little bit of the stigma. Like, ‘OK, now it’s legal in Texas. We can go to a CBD shop and not feel like we’re doing something bad.’”
CBD comes in many forms: smokeable flower, tinctures, topicals, edibles and much more.
It’s not cheap. For example, offerings at Custom Botanical Dispensary, Kerver’s Austin-based collective, range from capsules ($96 for 30) and a Full Spectrum Tincture ($82 for 1 ounce) to a PMS Dark Chocolate Bar ($18), infused popcorn ($7) and even Pet Hemp Oil in flavors bacon and tuna ($40).
Despite lofty and wide-ranging claims, CBD is only FDA-approved to treat two rare kinds of epilepsy via prescription drug Epidiolex. In part, this is because little research has been done in the U.S. on the hemp derivative.
But the FDA also says the jury’s still out as to whether CBD is considered a safe substance.
“CBD has the potential to harm you, and harm can happen even before you become aware of it,” the agency said in a November consumer update, going on to list potential repercussions like liver injury. The effect on children and pregnant or nursing women is unknown, the FDA added.
In the meantime, businesses nationwide are getting wrist slaps for making medically unproven promises.
In November, the FDA sent warning letters to 22 CBD sellers across the country, including Noli Oil in Southlake. The letter to Noli Oil cited a myriad of illegal health claims, from inhibiting cancer cell growth to treating schizophrenia and antibiotic-resistant infections.
Also flagged was the company’s sale of edibles, like gummy bears and caramels, in interstate commerce. While CBD-infused food products can be manufactured and sold in Texas, they can’t cross state lines because the FDA considers the compound an “adulterant.”
Other sellers were targeted for falsely marketing CBD as a dietary supplement.
When it comes to touted benefits, Dr. Yasmin Hurd of Mount Sinai’s Addiction Institute said she’s cautiously optimistic.
“Can I say go be a guinea pig yourself? Unfortunately, just because of my position, I can’t really approve that,” Hurd said. “But clearly, hundreds of thousands of people are doing research on themselves and trying to find out what works on their particular ailment.”
There is some evidence to suggest it could be beneficial for anxiety, psychosis and substance abuse, Hurd said. Other claims, like its effect on chronic pain, are more dubious, at least until more research is done, she added.
But Kerver said her own experience and the testimonies of friends and family have convinced her of CBD’s efficacy.
Her husband found relief from inflammation after back surgery, and her siblings from anxiety and sleep issues. She said she has seen her own gut problems clear up completely.
“When someone has been constantly taking something for well over a year, and it’s still working for them for the same thing, and they have to have it, that’s not the placebo effect anymore,” Kerver said.
Hurd also warns that CBD can impact the performance of other medications, so those interested in trying it should first consult a doctor to learn more about potential interactions. Otherwise, CBD is relatively safe, she said, with the most common side effects being diarrhea and sleepiness.
Until stricter regulations, like requiring retailers to have CBD-specific licenses, are put in place this year, Kerver said there is little protecting consumers from bad actors. Still, there are some measures people can take to protect themselves while the Texas hemp industry is in limbo, starting with labels and vendors.
Pharmacies and health food stores are preferable to smoke shops and gas stations, according to Pittman.
“Avoid anything that has a pot leaf on it or that doesn’t look like a clean, medical product,” Pittman said.
Any reputable company will make test results easily accessible, and customers can use them to check THC content; trace amounts under 0.3% may still cause someone to test positive for marijuana on a drug test, Hurd said.
Buyers should also be wary of products that make any explicit health claims, which are considered illegal by the FDA. While retailers can say a particular CBD product helps alleviate a symptom, like difficulty sleeping, they can’t say it treats or cures a diagnosable condition, like insomnia, according to Pittman.
“That’s where we walk the fine line,” Kerver said. “We can’t say anything, but luckily we’ve been in business long enough to go, ‘I’ve got 10 customers, they all use this for sleep, and they’re all coming back for it for sleep, and they buy it every month for sleep, and they’re really happy with it.’”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated how Texas criminally classified hemp before the state’s hemp law was passed.
Disclosure: The Austin Chamber of Commerce has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
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Much of the sudden spike in popularity is thanks to a Texas law last year that legalized hemp, the plant from which CBD is derived.
Where to Buy CBD Oil in Texas? Hemp Oil Laws & Legality (2021)
Written by Nina Julia
- Last Updated: March 25, 2021
If you’re looking to buy CBD oil in Texas, you must pay attention to the source of your product. Although hemp-derived CBD oils are federally accepted, marijuana and its products are banned in the southern state and you can face hefty fines on top of jail time for carrying even small amounts of marijuana with you.
CBD has become one of the most wanted products in the world of wellness. It has an array of documented health benefits and people take it to alleviate a wide range of physical and mental health problems, such as anxiety, inflammation, pain, and neurological issues to name a few.
The easiest way to purchase high-quality CBD oil in Texas is through a reputable online store. Online retailers can offer better deals on CBD products than most local stores in Texas.
Where to Buy CBD Oil in Texas?
Hemp-derived CBD oil is federally legal and widely available over the counter in head shops, vape stores, and pharmacies. Your best chance of getting quality CBD oil at reasonable prices and making sure you act in compliance with Texas law is to find a reliable online store.
Below we explain why shopping for CBD online is so popular these days.
Benefits of Buying CBD Online
Buying CBD online is easier and more convenient than making local errands.
Online suppliers usually have a wider selection of products than local stores. You can choose from CBD oil, edibles, capsules, vapes, topicals, concentrates, and even products for pets. In-store vendors typically offer one or two types of CBD due to limited storage space.
It’s also easier to do a background check on any company. You can research their websites, read lab reports, check for user reviews, and reach out to experienced users on social media or forums for advice.
Not to mention that you can shop for CBD in the coziness of your home, without the need to drive around the city to find the right product.
The best part about shopping for CBD online is that it saves you money. Since online stores can avoid certain operational costs, they can offer better deals on their products. You can take advantage of bulk pricing, discounts, reward programs, and coupon codes.
Local Retailers in Texas
If you’re one of those people who need to head to a local store and touch the product or talk to the staff about your goals with CBD, we’ve compiled a list of local retailers in Texas. All of these places should be able to help you find the right product and answer your questions about using CBD.
CBD Stores in Dallas
- CBD Kratom
- 710 Vapors
- The Cherry Apothecary
CBD Stores in Houston
- American Shaman CBD
- Houston CBD LLC
CBD Stores in Austin
- Phoenix Vapor Shop
- Restart CBD
- Austin Vape & Smoke
CBD Stores in San Antonio
- CBD Relief
- CBD Vape Smoke Shop Chevron
- CBD Relief
Let’s make sure you understand its legal status.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas?
The legal status of CBD in Texas varies depending on its source.
CBD can be extracted from hemp and marijuana plants, both of which share the same parent. What they do not share, however, is the chemical profile. In fact, hemp and marijuana have completely different cannabinoid ratios.
Marijuana is naturally high in THC, meaning that consuming marijuana-derived CBD oil can make you feel high.
Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC (up to 0.3%) and higher ratios of CBD. The chemical makeup of hemp makes it unable to get the user intoxicated.
How to Find Quality Products in Texas?
CBD is a rapidly growing market but it lacks regulation in terms of manufacturing standards and labeling. There are many brands selling high-quality products, but there’s no shortage of suppliers that don’t care much about what’s inside their products.
If you’re just getting started with CBD, it may be challenging to find the right product without trying at least a few different products. However, to minimize the error margin, we’ve prepared a cheat sheet for first-time buyers. If you follow them, you’ll save both time and money.
Looking for a risk-free way to try out CBD oil? Choose companies that offer some form of a money-back guarantee.
What You Need to Know About Buying CBD Oil in Texas
- Organic hemp is the best source of CBD oil. Hemp plants efficiently absorb every substance from the soil and air they grow in, including the good and bad ones. The best material for producing CBD oil comes from organic, non-GMO hemp.
- Choose CO2-extracted products. CO2 is by far the best method to produce CBD extracts. It doesn’t require additional heat or solvents, so it can provide pure and potent extracts. The equipment required to perform CO2 extraction isn’t cheap too, so it’s a sign that the company wants to invest in quality.
- Full-spectrum CBD is superior to CBD isolate. Full-spectrum refers to products made with the entire plant. This process retains more valuable compounds in the end product, such as minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These compounds amplify each other’s therapeutic effects, increasing the efficacy of CBD oil. This synergy is known as the “entourage effect.”
- Only purchase from brands that provide lab-testing reports. Third-party laboratories will analyze the CBD content of the product to check if it matches the advertised concentration on the bottle. They will also look for common contaminants and unwanted additives, such as solvents, heavy metals, or pesticides. If a company doesn’t make the lab reports available on its website or on request, it’s a company to avoid.
- Watch out for companies making outrageous claims about CBD. CBD is a wonderful supplement that can significantly improve your quality of life. However, it’s not going to cure any ailment overnight, so if you see a company making such claims, turn away and look for CBD oil elsewhere.
Below we explain how both plants are treated by Texas law.
Hemp CBD Oil in Texas
The US federal government removed hemp from the list of controlled substances in 2018 under the amended Farm Bill. Hemp is now legal to grow in all 50 states for purposes like clothing, paper, fuel, building materials, food, and health supplements such as CBD extracts.
As with many federal laws, individual states can decide whether they fully accept it or place their own regulations on the availability and labeling of CBD. The Texas government cleared the gray areas when Governor Greg Abbott introduced House Bill 132. The initiative legalized hemp farming and the sale of hemp-derived CBD products provided that they contain 0.3% THC or less.
However, there’s a catch with the Texas CBD law. Namely, the police use field tests that aren’t made to distinguish between marijuana-derived and hemp-derived CBD oil. This means that you can still get arrested for possession while your product is checked in a laboratory for THC content.
To avoid such complications, you should always purchase CBD oil that has a Certificate of Analysis from a third-party laboratory. It’s the only way to prove to the police that your product actually contains the federally accepted amount of THC.
Marijuana CBD Oil in Texas
Texas has one of the most severe marijuana laws in the United States. Marijuana remains illegal for recreational use, with heavy fines for simple possession. Getting busted with less than two ounces of marijuana can get you a $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in prison. Any amounts higher than that are punishable with 2-year jail time and can make you poorer by $10,000.
Can Doctors Prescribe CBD Oil in Texas?
Texas has a limited medical marijuana program for epilepsy patients. The program was accepted in 2015 under the Texas Compassionate Act. The bill allowed patients with severe and intractable epilepsy to buy low-THC CBD oil if a doctor prescribes it as a treatment. Then, a second doctor must examine your health and agree with the first one to prescribe this kind of medication.
As you can see, there aren’t many options when it comes to marijuana-derived CBD in Texas.
Fortunately, you can still get legal CBD oil in the state.
Summary: What’s the Best Place to Buy CBD Oil in Texas?
As you can see, the Texas CBD laws are complicated. Although the state doesn’t permit marijuana for recreational use — and has a very limited medical marijuana program — hemp-derived CBD is legal and you can easily find such products over the counter and online. Always make sure that your product has a Certificate of Analysis from a third-party laboratory to confirm its CBD content in case you got caught by the police.
Whether you decide to drive around your city in search of CBD oil or place an order with an online supplier, remember to always double-check the credibility of any company before you decide to hand your money out. There’s a large degree of difference between brands when it comes to quality, so make sure that your product matches the quality criteria mentioned in this article.
Texas has a long way to go to befriend itself with cannabis, but fortunately, hemp-derived products are legal here. Searching for the best deals on CBD oil in Texas? We reveal the most reputable sources.