While cannabidiol (CBD) remains a popular natural form of treatment for physical pain, anxiety and other ailments, the legality of the cannabis extract in Texas is still unclear. As new storefronts and supplement shops offering CBD products are popping up seemingly overnight throughout the area, there is technically still no law indicating that the use of CBD is legal in Texas.
Last Monday night, House Bill 1365, which would allow doctors to prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of disability, received an initial passage in the Texas House. The bill is still pending a vote by the Senate.
“In general, I think that people should have the freedom to work directly with their medical providers to find an efficacious treatment that works for their health needs,” says attorney and newly elected Dallas City Council member Chad West. “There have been several reputable studies that show CBD to be effective for treating conditions like certain forms of epilepsy, chronic pain and even anxiety. That being said, CBD is currently unregulated by the FDA because it’s marketed as a supplement, so it’s difficult to know if you’re getting the right dosage, if it’s actually therapeutic or if we’re just talking about a placebo effect. I think we need more research into CBD as a legitimate therapy.”
Although CBD is marketed as a supplement, many CBD users claim it has medical properties. Joe Guerra, founder of a Fort Worth-based CBD and cannabis consulting firm Onelocomultimedia swears by CBD's effectiveness.
Last month Guerra hosted a 4/20 event at Tony’s Garage in Fort Worth, where attendees were able to sample various CBD products.
“This lady, who had been in pain for months, applied this CBD rub where the ache was,” Guerra recalls, “and the pain just went away within minutes.”
Guerra is a proponent of CBD usage for both physical and mental health conditions, despite the fact that CBD is marketed as non-psychoactive.
“What people think is that when someone smokes marijuana, they’re thinking that it’s the THC that’s giving them the mental benefits,” Guerra says, “but it’s actually the CBD in the THC. They have CBD for people with anxiety, PTSD and bipolar.”
He recalls the effects of CBD after smoking a joint at the 4/20 event.
“I felt focused, my anxiety was down, but there was no psychosis,” Guerra says.
While studies support that use of CBD has shown to have benefits, many doctors recommend that users not use it in lieu of proper treatment.
“CBD oil is not a panacea for pain,” says Dr. Doug Wheeler, PT. “You can take CBD oil to mask the pain, but it’s never going to treat the root cause.”
After struggling with anxiety, PTSD and substance abuse issues, MacKenzie Alexander began using cannabis products as a means to wean herself off more harmful substances.
“I vape as a way to stay off cigarettes, and my regular vape shop carries both the CBD oil and the gummies,” Alexander says. “When I first started taking it, I took maybe one treatment too many before a shift, and I felt extremely loopy and sleepy because I was so much more relaxed than usual. But the more my body got used to the substance, the easier it was for me to manage my anxiety with that to help.”
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Despite many hailing CBD’s seemingly medicinal qualities, doctors stress the fact that it shouldn’t lauded as a miracle, cure-all treatment.
“I do think (CBD) does helps with inflammatory conditions,” says Dr. Stefani Crowley. “That’s the basis of most diseases, inflammation. But, at the same time, you also have to get down to the root cause of why it’s happening. If you’re just going to treat a symptom, you may feel better initially, but unless you get down to the root cause, you’re still going to have a problem.
“Would I rather someone be on CBD oil and that help with their pain, versus a pain pill? Absolutely, because it’s definitely going to be probably better for their body. But at the same time, you’ve got to get to the source. There’s no magic pill out there.”
Texas lawmakers have until May 27, the end of the legislative session, to vote for the legality of CBD.