CBD oil widely available on store shelves in Austin
A new bill filed this week will expand who has access to medical marijuana in Texas. SB 90, filed by State Senator Jose Menendez, would allow doctors to treat medical cannabis like any other medicine.
Current Texas law limits the sale of CBD oil with THC to epileptic patients, but CBD oil alone is trending as a remedy for everything from body aches to anxiety, and CBS Austin found high concentrated oils widely available on store shelves all over Austin, even entire stores devoted to it.
CBD oil is becoming easier and easier to find. In fact, at a retail store in East Austin that's all you'll find.
Rawsome quietly opened their doors this spring. "The product we have is over 90 percent CBD, which is off the charts," said Director Kevin Mabrey.
It's only legal for shops like Rawsome to sell CBD oil in Texas because there is no THC, the part of marijuana that gets you high.
"It's hemp, not medical marijuana," Mabrey said.
The oil with THC in it can be bought in Texas, but only at licensed dispensary for patients with a rare form of epilepsy.
At Rawsome, customers tell CBS Austin they seek relief for a variety of other ailments.
"Most of our clientele, I would say more than 50-60 percent, are elderly or have post-traumatic stress and are trying to get off of their opioids," Mabrey said.
"I'm not interested in any surgery or pain killers so this is an alternative medicine," said Louis Guerra.
Guerra said he heard about CBD oil from his barber and now swears by it to relieve his back and sciatica pain. "I can tell that when I do not take it for a few days my pain comes back so I know it's effective in some way," said Guerra.
Dr. Gregory Rudolf is an addiction specialist with the Swedish pain management team. He works in Seattle where medical marijuana is a legal option for patients. "When it comes to pain, there's some evidence that it helps pain in terms of inflammatory conditions like arthritis," Rudolf said.
While most Texans can't obtain medical marijuana yet, Rudolf said the presence of THC doesn't make or break the benefit of CBD products. "Anecdotally speaking there are those that say the presence of the THC works in a synergistic fashion and may enhance the effect of the CBD, but again we don't have the scientific evidence to say that," Rudolf said.
Rudolf said because the federal government still considers marijuana a Schedule I substance, research on it has been restricted. He hopes that will soon change. "If we can get a good product we feel good about that's derived from CBD and is FDA approved I think doctors will be quick to embrace it as an alternative to opioids for sure," Rudolf said.
But, until that happens, Rudolf cautions patients and other physicians against viewing CBD as a wonder substance. "There's definitely lots of hype around it, but like anything it's going to have its benefits and its limitations," Rudolf said.
Texas has threatened to strip these products from store shelves before.
Last year, the Department of State Health Services proposed a policy to remove anything advertised as CBD or THC, but for now the products remain available. The agency told CBS Austin it's "gathering more information to determine how to best regulate products containing CBD."