The Houston Police Department now says they have made no arrests in connection with cannabidiol (CBD) oil being sold in local smoke shops.
On February 9, HPD originally told KHOU 11 News there have been arrests in cases where the CBD oil contained THC, the illegal chemical in cannabis that gets you “high.”
Initially, HPD Narcotics Division Lt. Marsha Todd said “the problem is people don’t know what they’re getting – all they know is they’re getting oil.”
When pressed for details about the CBD products, Todd said “I’m not going to talk about specific cases or places where we’ve found it.”
In a February 14 phone interview with KHOU, HPD spokesperson Keese Smith said that the THC they had found was not actually in mislabeled CBD products. The arrests originally referred to in our February 9 report actually concerned THC-labeled products illegally brought into Houston, said Smith.
“If it does not have THC, it is legal,” Smith said.
CBD users claim it relieves stress, treats migraines and combats anxiety better than pharmaceuticals they’ve tried. Some of them say it can have positive effects on chronic medical conditions as well.
“It’s blowing up in popularity,” said Kevin, who works at a smoke shop southwest of downtown. "People with everything from diabetes, cancer, epilepsy are seeing positive results.”
The CBD extracts are made from industrial-grade hemp -- the same type of plant used to make hemp clothing and hemp seed oil. Sellers say the oils do not contain traceable levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.
This isn’t the first time there has been confusion from law enforcement surrounding CBD products. In 2016, Texas Department of Public Safety raided four People’s Pharmacy locations in Austin, TX and confiscated their CBD oil products. Weeks later, DPS returned the products to the pharmacy and said in a statement that they had decided not to prosecute because the lab found no THC.
KHOU 11 News spoke with employees of six different smoke shops where CBD oil is sold. Each of the stores said that they do not sell products containing THC, and that the brands they sell are perfectly legal.