Businesses in Texas can't legally sell marijuana, not for medicinal purposes and not for fun. But one company in Dallas, Roots Juices, is selling "edibles" made with cannabidiol, which comes from the cannabis plant.
Hang on a minute: These are not the same "edibles" you can buy in Denver. Roots Juices' version — which are sold as gluten-free brownies and strawberry muffins — are infused with cannabidiol hemp oil, commonly known as CBD oil or simply CBD. It's hemp without the high.
Whereas marijuana products are derived from plants with high concentrations of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is extracted from low-THC hemp and is a non-psychotropic, which means you will not have an otherworldly experience, or a chill moment on the couch, if you eat one of Roots' brownies.
After selling CBD products for a few months, Roots owner Brent Rodgers says there has been virtually no controversy.
"There's a few people who won't go near it," he says. "But I don't think they understand the product."
Rodgers says CBD items are so popular that he is adding cake balls and lollipops "in about two weeks." The company, which has two shops in Dallas and two in Atlanta, also sells smoothies and shots that contain CBD. The shop even sells bottles of CBD oil; Rodgers says capsules are coming soon.
He believes CBD is a natural fit for shops with juice blends meant to hydrate, energize and cleanse. "We juice a lot of turmeric and life changing, very strange ingredients and herbs," Rodgers says. Expanding the shops offerings to CBD products "just made sense," he says.
He takes CBD every day to treat insomnia. Customers have told him it offers relief from anxiety, depression and joint pain; some give it to their children to help control seizures.
Dr. Jane Sadler, a family medicine physician on staff at Baylor Medical Center at Garland, says she has patients who use CBD oil. Studies have demonstrated health benefits, she says.
CBD "may reduce anxiety, help fight cancer, decrease symptoms of schizophrenia, and even improve social recognition with people who suffer from Alzheimer's Disease," she says. But Sadler encourages people to check in with medical providers because "there is no regulation on CBD oil, and it needs to be developed and approved by the FDA."
Is this legal?
The legal status of CBD is murky. The Food and Drugs Administration has not approved CBD products "for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease." The Drug Enforcement Administration says CBD "falls within the Controlled Substances Act definition of marijuana" and Texas' policy is still progressing.
But Rodgers insists that selling CBD oil is federally legal because it is below the legal threshold for THC percentage in hemp (0.3 percent or less). Several business owners across the country have also subscribed to this assumption and quickly created a thriving industry with hundreds of CBD products, from massage oils to dog treats.
So, how does it make you feel?
Curious about the effects and benefits of CBD, I visited Roots Juices on Oak Lawn Avenue. It was early afternoon and a self-described "power lifter who enjoys rock climbing" was buying a shot of cold brew coffee that contained CBD oil. She regularly buys CBD shots and says they help with back pain and post-workout recovery.
I drank a CBD smoothie loaded with greens and, for good measure, ate a brownie.
The CBD had no discernible taste or smell, and in minutes I felt something, but certainly not high. With no pain or exercise to recover from, I noticed the anxiety from too many cups of coffee disappear and started to feel more relaxed. The effects were subtle, but positive, and seemed to wear off after a few hours.
As we've reported in the past, Texas is getting ready for when legal weed becomes a local industry. Marijuana is coming to Texas, our Tiney Ricciardi wrote in May. For now, those in the fitness community seem to be finding Roots Juices' hemp edibles as a sliver of what's to come.