Feb 07, 2020

CBD Oil in Texas – What Does the Research (and Law) Say?

For millennia, we’ve been crushing up plants, making tea out of them and/or rubbing them on ourselves in an effort to extract some medicinal benefit from them. Aspirin (salicylic acid) comes from the willow tree. Quinine – the first antimalarial – came from the bark of the cinchona tree. Digitalis, a widely used cardiac drug, comes from foxglove. And yes, “Foxglove” would be an awesome burglar name.

So, it’s no wonder that the latest potential cure-all comes from another distinguished herb. One that has until now been mostly associated with the smokable pastime of Willie Nelson and the kids from Dazed and Confused. Cannabis.

People have been smoking pot in the US for decades, but the movement toward legalization has been more recent. Why is it that we’re just now hearing claims of magical medical benefits from the seven-leafed plant? Current cannabis-derived cures being touted include everything from CBD oil to cannabis-containing skin creams and an oral sprays. “When I was your age, we only had brownies,” says your estranged uncle.

Yesterday’s taboo has become tomorrow’s mainstream, it seems. Marijuana, having long been considered an illegal drug in the US, was found by sufferers of AIDS and cancer in the eighties and nineties. Many experienced relief from pain and nausea in the “use” of the plant. So, as many states move to legalize it, it’s no wonder that sales of the therapeutic forms are getting puff-puff-passed all over the country.

CBD Oil, and Its Various Forms

These products come in many forms, but the most common is typically CBD oil sold in a vial, so we will just refer to all of them collectively as CBD. CBD is the abbreviated term for cannabidiol, which is one of about 85 different cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. You probably know it’s more popular cousin THC, which is molecularly very similar, but produces far different effects – like really getting into the movie Fantasia as an adult.

CBD alone, however, does not get you high. Early clinical trials show that it might have some promise in treating a variety of conditions from anxiety to epilepsy.

At Remedy, we’re committed to endorsing evidence-based medicine. We won’t recommend a practice unless it is strongly backed by solid clinical trials, or widespread acceptance by the professional medical community. At this time, there is simply not robust evidence in support of CBD as a therapeutic for most conditions. Might it prove beneficial in other conditions, like epilepsy, anxiety and inflammatory conditions? Perhaps. But the trials (and the law – see below) aren’t there yet. As always, we recommend you discuss with your doctor. Or us!

Areas where clinical trials are underway and anecdotal evidence suggests benefit of CBD:

  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Initial studies have shown CBD to be as effective as other anti-nausea meds but with more side effects.
  • Movement disorders and epilepsy. There appears to be some benefit in patients with intractable epilepsy, and a subjective patient-reported improvement in spasticity for patients with movement disorders.
  • Anxiety and PTSD. There is some weak evidence that CBD helps with these conditions, but these were not randomized-controlled trials.
  • Chronic pain and cancer-related pain. Evidence appears to be there that CBD can help with pain, but it’s not particularly robust.

Physicians are increasingly being asked to prescribe for these conditions in states where medical marijuana has become legal. Many are choosing to do so despite scant evidence. This could be due to a surplus of anecdotal evidence and some (albeit weak) data in support of cannabis as a therapeutic.

Is CBD legal?

In Texas, it is particularly confusing because federal law and state law don’t seem to line up. The federal Farm Bill passed in December of 2018 made CBD oil legal to buy without a prescription if it contained less than 0.3% THC. However, the 2015 Texas Compassionate Use Act had stated that in Texas, you must have intractable epilepsy and a prescription to consume any product that contains even this minute amount of THC.

CBD oil cannot be legally sold in Texas. The reason is that almost all CBD contains some trace amount of THC. Not enough to get you high. But possession of any THC in Texas is a felony. Only the few patients with intractable epilepsy and a doctor’s prescription can legally possess CBD oil. That said, it is being sold all over the state, and many people are purchasing it and using it due to misinformation about legality. At the time of this writing, possession of any substance containing even a trace of THC is not legal in Texas. And most CBD oil has traces of THC.

Remedy is not in the habit of recommending practices that could land you in jail, so for now, we are not endorsing CBD oil.

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