Hemp-infused wine is now a thing and it's being made in North Texas

Walk into some stores in Texas and you can purchase brownies, honey and capsules infused or filled with cannabis. Now North Texans can add wine to that kind of shopping list.

In January, Weatherford winery TVM Wines launched what's billed as the country's first line of cannabis-infused vino. Its four different offerings are flavored like cocktails, such as strawberry daiquiri and piña colada, and each is made using hemp oil.

Hemp, like marijuana, is part of the cannabis family; however, the former contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient that gets weed smokers high. Despite that, the plant suffers from the stigma that anti-drug campaigns long pegged to marijuana. That's why it took two years to get TVM's wine recipes federally approved, according to Elease Hill, vice president of sales and marketing.

"We submitted the wine formulation over and over," she said in a statement. "We were denied multiple times because we had to have our testing paperwork on the hemp perfect due to the oversight of the DEA and strict rules put on all hemp products."

Texans have heard a lot about cannabis and one of its derivatives, cannabidiol, or CBD, recently. In 2017, the Texas Department of Public Safety gave three companies the green light to begin cultivating, extracting and dispensing CBD to patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. The first, Compassionate Cultivation, opened Feb. 8.

CBD can be extracted from either hemp or marijuana, but TVM wines are not advertised as CBD products because hemp oil is made from the plant's seeds. CBD is extracted from the plant's flowers, leaves and, to a lesser extent, stalk, according to nonprofit Project CBD, which promotes cannabis education and therapeutics.

At the moment, CBD-infused alcohol products are legally a tough sell. A cannabis beer brewed using dried CBD was supposed to arrive in Texas in 2017, but those plans were thwarted after the Drug Enforcement Agency listed cannabidiol as a Schedule 1 substance.

Still, hemp seeds offer nutritional value, such as vitamins A, C and E, and are rich in proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and fiber, according to Dr. Andrew Weil. Whether the benefits manifest when ingested in wine remains to be tested. Anecdotally, Hill says she's received positive feedback from customers.

"We're hearing people who have stiffness of joints, they say they are seeing a difference," Hill tells GuideLive. "You can see the hemp seed oil sitting there. That's why the bottles say 'shake well.'"

TVM's hemp-infused wines come in four flavors: Forbidden (Texas tea), Fantasy (strawberry daiquiri), Convert (piña colada), and Taboo (rum and cola). Each bottle costs $19.99. Find them at liquor stores throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as online.

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