Is CBD Actually Legal in Texas?
CBD or cannabidiol is a hot topic in many states. As the laws and regulations around cannabis use change every year you might be wondering, is CBD really legal in Texas?
The short answer is yes, cannabidiol products are legal in Texas and across the United States. We’ll get into the details shortly, but the important thing to know is that both state and federal laws now allow for selling and buying CBD products as well as industrial hemp.
Navigating Texas Cannabis Laws
In a moment, we’ll cover the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp production in the United States along with hemp derivatives such as CBD. This was followed up by a similar law, House Bill 1325 in Texas, which legalized hemp production on the state level as well.
There is another Texas law that applies to cannabis and CBD as well. In 2015, Texas passed the Texas Compassionate Use Act, legalizing the use of medical marijuana for epilepsy. Since then, the Texas Compassionate Use Act has been expanded to include these conditions as well:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Terminal cancer
- Or incurable neurodegenerative diseases
So, even before the legalization of hemp production, cannabis was available through Texas medical marijuana programs. These programs were limited, however, in the type of CBD and other products offered and were of course only available to patients with qualifying conditions.
The Farm Bill and Industrial Hemp
CBD products, however, have been available in some form in Texas since 2014 thanks to the 2014 Farm Bill, which legalized the production of hemp in some states. This meant that Colorado CBD products could be sold in Texas, and some Texans started CBD businesses even before Texas passed House Bill 1325 specifically legalizing hemp and CBD products in Texas.
When this new law was signed by Governor Greg Abbott, however, the market took off in Texas and many more people felt comfortable buying and selling CBD and hemp products. So what exactly did House Bill 1325 do? In short, it brought state laws in line with federal hemp regulations.
It allows Texans to grow industrial hemp and allows the sale of hemp products, including CBD products and other edible parts of the hemp plant. This program is overseen by the Texas Department of Agriculture and is different from Texas’ medical marijuana program as mentioned above.
This is important to understand as the THC allowances for CBD products and for medical marijuana for those with approved conditions can differ. The 2014 Farm Bill was followed up by the 2018 Farm Bill which brought the legalization of hemp production on the national level and motivated the passing of Texas House Bill 1325.
Confusion Over Texas CBD Laws
One other source of confusion over CBD laws in the state of Texas has been the initial response of law enforcement in the state, and Texas’ previous record on CBD and cannabis law. Texas CBD laws were previously some of the most strict out of all US states.
When the medical marijuana program was first launched in 2015, it was only applied to those with the worst cases of epilepsy, often called intractable epilepsy. This has changed significantly in recent years, however, and the Texas health system now makes medical marijuana available to patients with a variety of conditions and health issues.
Similarly, CBD is now fully legal under House Bill 1325 and the US Farm Bill. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises some caution in using and evaluating CBD products, but Texans shouldn’t worry about the legality of purchasing CBD products in the state today.
Cannabis, THC, and CBD: What to Know
One important thing to note is that neither the US Farm Bill nor Texas House Bill 1325 legalized marijuana for recreational use. Recreational marijuana, while legal in some states like Colorado, is still illegal at the federal level. Possession of marijuana is at least a misdemeanor in Texas and can carry heavier penalties as well.
So understanding the difference between marijuana (which contains THC in significant amounts) and hemp is important. It all comes down to THC content. Technically these are the same plant, it’s just that marijuana is a cannabis plant bred to have a higher amount of THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol). Under Texas law, only trace amounts of THC are allowed in cannabis products sold commercially.
Low-THC products are defined as having up to 0.3% THC content. Thankfully, cannabis contains two active cannabinoids, and cannabidiol (or CBD) by itself can help with many ailments and issues. Texans today are able to buy, use, and enjoy CBD products of just about any kind, including tinctures, edible CBD products, and more.
Legal CBD Products
So, the legality of CBD products in Texas is mostly dependent on their THC content. As long as there are only trace amounts of THC, Texas CBD laws allow for the legal sale of many different kinds of products. CBD stores have been quick to answer the call too!
You might be surprised to learn that it’s not just about gummies and candy anymore. CBD is available in dozens of different forms these days, from cookies to lotions, and more.That said, the FDA has noted that CBD labeling rules have been lax and somewhat confusing in many states.
While the Texas Department of State Health Services does regulate the sale of CBD and enforce some labeling standards, it’s important to do your research, buy from only trusted retailers, and keep in mind that CBD is only FDA-approved to treat certain kinds of epilepsy.
Although many people find benefit in its use, it is illegal to claim that CBD can be used as a medicine to treat any other condition. Still, there are many other reasons to love CBD products and Texans have wasted no time in getting in on this latest trend in relaxation and stress relief.
It can be difficult if you’re new to CBD to find the right product for you. Some prefer more concentrated CBD and so will get the best results from a tincture or oil, but others prefer delicious edibles.
CBD Oil Tinctures
CBD oil is probably one of the best-known forms of CBD. Oil has been available at medical marijuana dispensaries since the beginning and is a more well-studied form of CBD ingestion. One advantage of oil is that it can be added to food or beverages and so if you don’t like the taste of cannabis this can be a good option.
It’s also very easy to dose oil correctly from a dropper compared to guessing how much of a cookie to eat. You’ll often see CBD oil made into oil tinctures. This means the extracted CBD oil is diluted in either water or water and ethanol rather than a carrier oil.
Tinctures are often used to provide flavored CBD oils, which are another big innovation for those who don’t like the taste. For a more enjoyable relaxation experience though, edibles or beauty products can be more fun.
CBD Beauty Products
Yes, you read that right! CBD beauty products are becoming increasingly popular in the US and across the world. With CBD isolate (that is, pure CBD), some retailers can now make products that provide a relaxing dose of cannabidiol through the skin in the form of lotions, bath bombs, and more.
Some also swear by the effects such products have on their skin, hair, and nails. From reducing redness to helping with post-workout fatigue, CBD beauty and bath products are worth exploring. Besides, who doesn’t want to add a little extra relaxation to a long, hot bath?
Considered the best CBD option by many, edibles come in many forms. From gummies and other candy to cookies, butter, and more, there are edible CBD products out there for just about everyone. One reason so many people enjoy sugary and sweet treats with CBD is that it helps to offset the taste of cannabis.
But it can also be nice to combine a moment of rest with a special treat, and CBD edibles are now available in a wider variety of flavors as well. You can also use CBD tinctures to make your own edible creations and CBD has been making big waves in culinary spaces lately. Try adding tincture to your tea or coffee, cooking with it for special treats, or just adding a small amount of CBD oil to your meal.
Finding High-Quality CBD in Texas
Thanks to some of the residual confusion around the legal status of CBD in Texas, there are not quite as many high-quality retailers available as you might find in other states. Still, it’s possible to find very reputable sellers and decent prices all over the state. The important thing is to know what you’re looking for, do your research, and keep in mind the legal parameters discussed above.
While it’s easier to find high-quality retailers in the big cities like Houston, Austin, and Dallas, there are increasingly good options in even mid-size texas cities now. Austin in particular has had a lot of high-quality CBD shops come on the scene. But no matter where you live, it’s possible to get great CBD products in Texas. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Read reviews and shop around: Make sure to read customer reviews and ratings of any shop you plan to visit. Not only will this give you a good idea of what kind of quality to expect, but it can also help you compare prices, product availability, and more. With the CBD market just getting started in Texas, most retailers don’t have every single product, so it’s important to shop around if you want to find something specific.
- Pay attention to bioavailability: CBD products are often rated by bioavailability. High bioavailability just means your body will absorb the CBD more easily and you’re more likely to fully experience the benefits of the product. So this can be a good way to make sure you’re going to get a quality experience from the CBD product you’re purchasing.
- Look for third-party lab testing: The best CBD retailers will provide verification by third-party labs as to the content of their products. This can help you avoid scams and fakes that don’t actually contain any CBD. And for those in Texas, it can also help you stay within state law by avoiding products with too much THC. Regardless, knowing what’s in a product before you buy is always a good idea and third-party testing can screen for other issues as well, such as pesticides, toxins, and more.
You May Want to Buy Online
It also just may not be possible to get CBD products, or the products you want, in your area. Buying CBD online can give you access to a lot more options and can also give you time to shop around and choose what you want before buying. It’s always better to take your time before a purchase, especially if you’re new to using CBD as many Texans are.
The other reason to buy online is that Texas’ CBD market just hasn’t had as much time to develop as retailers in Colorado or other states that have bad legal CBD for longer. When you buy online, you can shop for specialty products or favorite flavors more easily than by visiting a bunch of stores. Keep in mind, though, some states have different THC allowances than Texas.
Make sure you’re buying only low-THC CBD products in line with the 2018 Farm Bill and Texas state law. If you're not sure, look for “CBD isolate” products, which contain pure CBD that’s been isolated from other compounds in the hemp plant.
“Full-spectrum” CBD products, on the other hand, are produced using the entire hemp plant. There are full-spectrum CBD products with a THC content within the allowed 0.3%, but it may be safer to stick with CBD isolate products in Texas.
How to Use CBD Safely
Even with the legalization of hemp and CBD products, it’s still important to be careful with supplements and chemicals of any kind. CBD may interact with some prescription drugs, and some people do have bad reactions to CBD itself or to allergens in oils, flavorings, and other additives.
Since there aren’t unified labeling laws in the United States yet, it’s important to read the labels of any CBD product carefully and to be aware of potential allergies or other health issues. Pay attention to your body and stop using CBD products if you notice sudden changes in your health.
That said, most side-effects of CBD are mild and can include drowsiness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite. Consult with your doctor to make sure CBD won’t interact poorly with any medications you’re on. You know your body best, so shop around for the right products for you, and pay attention to dosage recommendations.
While CBD products are now legal to buy, sell, and possess in Texas, the state is still a little behind the curve. There are plenty of great CBD retailers in Texas working to correct this problem and help you access the benefits of CBD, but unless you live in a big city like Austin or Houston, it may be best to buy CBD products online for the time being.
Be careful that what you buy is legal in Texas though and, when in doubt, look out for CBD isolate products to be sure you’re getting pure CBD and won’t be on the wrong side of the law.