Considering that Texas is currently in a massive state of confusion regarding medical cannabis laws (and in particular laws surrounding the use of CBD oil), it turns out that the old saying “everything’s bigger in Texas” rings true for more than just the sprawling ranchlands and jumbo t-bone steaks.
Indeed, for every step forward the Lone Star state has taken in regard to cannabis legalization (and trust us, they haven’t taken many), it seems it doesn’t take a whole lot of time for them to take two steps backward.
One example of this came back in April 2018, when the Department of State Health Services (DHSH) considered the possible outlawing of CBD oil and other CBD-infused products from online and in-store shelves. Fortunately this did not end up coming to fruition, as the DHSH decided to put a hold on its “efforts to strip [CBD-infused products] from Texas retail stores.”
Legal CBD Oil in Texas
Oddly enough, this news came less than three years after legislation was passed in the state of Texas to allow for legal use of “low-THC cannabis” to treat intractable epilepsy in medically-diagnosed patients. The program has since expanded to include a variety of conditions, including:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
Prior to the expansion of additional qualifying conditions, Texas’ legal medical program never really gained much traction. In fact, fewer than 600 out of 150,000+ epilepsy patients were initially approved for a medical cannabis license. Now, with the expansion in place it is estimated that over a million Texans will have access to legal CBD oil, or what’s officially known as “low-THC oil.”
In this article, we go over what exactly the law says in terms of the use of CBD oil in Texas, and how the passing of recent federal and state laws might affect legislative status for non-medically approved patients not only in the Lone Star state, but across other U.S. states as well.
Texas Cannabis Laws: A General Overview
As we said, Texas has notoriously been one of the most stubborn U.S. states in regard to cannabis legislation. Aside from a pretty radical House Bill (H.B. 2165) that was introduced back in 2015 (that was subsequently rejected but would’ve completely legalized the adult use and possession of any amount of cannabis), the state has taken very little action in advancing marijuana-related legislation.
In fact, you can still get hit with a misdemeanor and sentenced up to 180-days in jail for getting caught with just a single joint in the state of Texas!
I don’t believe that when God made marijuana, he made a mistake government needs to fix.
-Texas State Representative David Simpson
This is despite the efforts of many pro-cannabis activist groups and individuals in the state, including one representative (Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview) who famously proclaimed a few years back, “I don’t believe that when God made marijuana, he made a mistake government needs to fix.”
As of 2020, the only cannabis-related legislation that Texas has passed has come in the form of the Compassionate Use Act (S.B. 339), which went into effect back in 2015. The Act is limited in terms of what kind of cannabis is legal, however, as it only allows for medical patients who are diagnosed with intractable epilepsy and the other above-mentioned conditions to use “low-THC cannabis.” As per Texas state legislature, “low-THC cannabis” is defined as:
“…any part of [the Cannabis sativa L. plant] or any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, preparation, resin, or oil of that plant that contains:
- Not more than 0.5 percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); and
- Not less than 10 percent by weight of cannabidiol (CBD).”
Does the Law Actually Legalize Anything At All?
In other words, the law essentially only allows for CBD oil in Texas to be used. Other “traditional” types of marijuana (i.e. the ones that get you high) are still not permitted. Furthermore, it is difficult for physicians in the state to recommend low-THC oil because in doing so, they are breaking federal law (which currently maintains that cannabis is not a recognized form of medicine).
Thus, it should come as no surprise that the DSHS considered cracking down on the illegal sale of CBD in the state, as hundreds of sellers and storefronts were “technically” breaking the law by selling hemp-based CBD products to consumers who were not “medically diagnosed” qualifying patients.
However, as was pointed out in a letter written to the Department of State Health Services on behalf of the Texas Cannabis Industry Association (TCIA), attorney Richard Cheng argued that it would have to be the Texas Department of Public Safety – not the DSHS – that would be the state agency to “govern issues related to cannabis and cannabis-related products.”
This simple fact understandably angered many store owners across the state, all of whom were at risk of having their CBD-infused products confiscated. Matters were made worse when the threats of confiscation came from a department who seemingly did not have the authority to do so.
According to the Dallas Observer, one merchant in particular was adamant that his Dallas-based storefront was legally allowed to sell CBD-infused products:
“If they come in and say [you’re not allowed to sell CBD oil], at that point – even though they don’t have regulatory authority over us – we’d have to [stop selling the products] or I could be prosecuted.”
Regardless, the store owner says he would have likely taken legal action and sued the DSHS if it ever came to a situation like that. “I would happily invest time and money,” he proclaimed, “into pursuing legal action against the state.”
How Texas Hemp Legislation Inadvertently Decriminalized Marijuana
In terms of Texas, CBD laws, and general cannabis laws, another interesting turn of events took place in 2019 when state legislators passed a bill (H.B. 1325) that legalized hemp. The news was very good for retail store owners who stocked and sold CBD oil, as it meant they no longer had to be concerned as to the legality of the hemp-derived products on their shelves.
However, the law unintentionally seemed to decriminalize marijuana, as law enforcement officers now have no means to distinguish between hemp, a strain of cannabis, and marijuana – also a strain of cannabis.
The flowers (buds) of hemp and marijuana can look, smell, and even taste very similar. It is the chemical compounds contained within that distinguish which one is which. Most significantly, hemp contains levels of THC that are 0.3% or less by weight. Anything above this is considered marijuana, and is illegal both federally and in the state of Texas.
The only problem, as we mentioned a moment ago, is that advanced HPLC analysis equipment is needed in order to determine chemical content of the plant material in question. At the time of writing, it seems Texas law enforcement officials do not have access to equipment of this nature. In fact, hundreds of marijuana possession-related criminal offenses in Texas have been dropped or delayed, at least until officials are able to distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana.
Living in Texas and Wondering What Is CBD?
In the event that you’re still unsure of what cannabidiol (CBD) even is, it is actually one of over 113 known cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. With its growing list of medical benefits and a wide variety of usable applications, it’s popularity and widespread use is growing.
Unlike THC however, which is famous for producing the typical marijuana high, CBD is a 100% non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It is used for its range of benefits, with some claiming it helps conditions like arthritis, chronic pain, inflammation, depression, and anxiety.
In 2018, supplemental legislature was added to the U.S. Farm Bill which allowed for the legal cultivation of industrial hemp (hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight). Many thought that this would in-turn legalize CBD oils made from hemp, but this is not exactly the case.
Since CBD has been approved by the FDA as a prescription epilepsy drug (Epidiolex), it cannot legally be added to food as a dietary supplement – which is how most CBD companies are marketing their products.
Of course, CBD oil in Texas is still widely available, as it is all over the country both online and in-store. What is certain is that due to the updated Farm Bill, CBD has finally been removed from the DEA’s list of Controlled Substances. In other words, it is no longer classified with marijuana as an illicit Schedule 1 substance.
Even before the passing of this most recent legislation, however, CBD had been adopted by many people as an alternative medicine due to the compound’s ability to help relieve a variety of conditions, some of which include:
And in fact, there are many more conditions that are now being self-treated with CBD oil. Some studies have even suggested that CBD can help to wean off of opioid drugs. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH), CBD also displays the following activities:
- Analgesic (pain reliever)
Can You Legally Use CBD Products in Texas?
In light of all of this information, you may be wondering; as a resident of Texas, can you legally get your hands on CBD oil without having to go through the process of getting approved for “low-THC oil?”
Well, CBD oil is not explicitly legal in the state – at least not without a medical recommendation. Regardless, there are many reputable online CBD sellers (as well as retail stores) that, as per the claims on their websites, legally sell and ship CBD oils to all 50 U.S. states – including Texas.
That said, in a strictly legal sense it is technically illegal to possess and use CBD oil in Texas unless you are a patient with a qualifying condition, and have received a doctor’s recommendation for low-THC cannabis oil.
Furthermore, it is our understanding that under the guidelines of the updated 2018 Hemp Farming Act, states will still have the decision to outlaw the use and sale of CBD oil — regardless of its legal status at the federal level. Does this mean you’re going to get busted by Texas authorities if you have a bottle of CBD oil shipped to your door from an online seller?
Unlikely. As of late 2018, there were still new CBD-only stores opening up in central Texas, with seemingly zero legal repercussions. Of course, we’re not lawyers, so don’t take any of this as legal advice!
How Does CBD Oil Work?
With all this talk about CBD oil, Texas laws, and updated federal legislation, you may still be wondering to yourself – ‘how does CBD even work?’
Well, within our bodies there is a unique system called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is essentially an “internal regulator” that maintains homeostasis on all levels. It has a hand in ensuring that we stay well, and it plays a central role in things like body temperature, appetite, emotional feelings, and even the way we feel pain. The ECS works by producing natural cannabinoids, which subsequently work to heal our bodies wherever needed.
When we consume CBD, it is believed to interact with our endocannabinoid system to encourage a boost in natural cannabinoid production. With these extra cannabinoids “working their therapeutic magic,” our bodies are better able to fight off pain, lower inflammation, ease feelings of depression and anxiety, and so much more.
Furthermore, research has shown that many of the cannabis plant’s cannabinoids – not just CBD – interact with our body to promote general health and well-being. THC, for example, is known to bind with a cannabinoid receptor in our brain called the CB1 receptor, hence the mind-altering high and psychedelic feelings of calmness and euphoria that it provides.
CBD Oil in Texas: Wrapping Things Up
As the U.S. adapts and more laws across the country allow for legal medical marijuana (and in some cases even recreational use), Texas remains one of a handful of states that has not acknowledged the medical potential of the herb.
To recap, residents of Texas are only eligible for medical CBD oil if they suffer from a qualifying condition, and meet a set of criteria that leaves very little to the imagination. To qualify for medicinal cannabis CBD oil in Texas, you must:
- Be a resident of Texas
- Be diagnosed with one of the following: Epilepsy, Multiple sclerosis (MS), Spasticity, Cancer, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease
- Have not responded to a minimum of two FDA-approved medications for these conditions
- Have approval from two separate doctors, which is not an easy feat bearing in mind that throughout Texas, there are not many doctors qualified to recommend medical marijuana
In other words, not only do you have to suffer from (and be diagnosed with) a qualifying condition in order to receive the therapeutic benefits of CBD in Texas, but you must seek approval from a limited number of doctors — twice!
Moreover, there are only a total of three dispensaries across the state that are eligible to sell the “low-THC/high-CBD” oil that is defined under the Texas Compassionate Use Act. And the last we checked, one of these dispensaries was inactive and the other one was reporting financial losses due to “low clientele.”
In reality, the laws make it almost impossible for an average person in Texas to get CBD for medicinal use. As a result, it essentially forces those who do wish to buy CBD oil in Texas to order it online for delivery.
While not explicitly “legal” under state law, these particular oils are low in THC (less than 0.3%), and are sourced from Industrial Hemp that is legally grown at the federal level. Tens of thousands of people have ordered CBD oil and had it shipped to their homes in Texas, and more will continue to do so in the future as long as the market remains in its current state.
Final Thoughts on CBD oil in Texas
For Texas residents, the historical outlook has been quite bleak on the CBD front. That said, we have high hopes that in time, legalities will slacken in order to accommodate the many dozens of conditions that have shown to benefit from CBD use.
For now, all you Texans just try and hang in there, as there are some excellent online sellers of CBD oil that should do the job while we wait for the beautiful Lone Star state to get up to speed with the medical benefits of cannabis.
Where to Purchase CBD Oil Online If you Live in Texas
- Full-spectrum Hemp extract
- No pesticides, solvents or chemical fertilizers
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Price Range ($48.00 – $390.00)
- Full-Spectrum Extract (Made in USA)
- 100% Natural and Organic
- Contain no artificial flavors or preservatives
- Prices range ($48-$125)
- High-grade CBD formula
- All products are lab tested
- Made from organically grown hemp
- Price Range ($39-$139)
- CBDPure uses a chemical-free CO2 extraction process
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Certified hemp grown in Colorado
- Price Range ($29.99 – $79.99)
- Huge selection of CBD products
- Implement natural hemp practices
- Lab tested potency and purity
- Price Range ($39 - $249)
- Over 5 Years Experience
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Organic hemp CO2 extract tincture
- Price Range ($62.00 – $204.00)