Rachel Glaser - AUSTIN (Nexstar) —More than a year has passed since Texas approved the state's limited marijuana law and public safety officials are still working to establish rules to outline where it will be dispensed and to whom.
The implementation of the 2015 law is scheduled to take two years and while the timeline is on schedule, the wait has some Texans in search of an alternative.
"I feel a sense of calm, my body is just relaxed—I'm not high," says B. Taylor Allbaugh.
She uses cannabidiol, commonly called CBD, to self-medicate the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and severe panic attacks she says she suffers from.
"My hands cramp up, my head shakes and my body, I just can't control," Allbaugh says the regular use of CBD oil has cut the number of panic attacks she experiences in half.
"I'm not a doctor and I cannot give out any kind of medical advice," Kemal White says that's what he tells anyone who asks about CBD.
White is not a doctor or a lawyer but as the owner of the Austin Vape and Smoke stores, he researched the state's Compassionate Use Act. In order to get around the law, White went under the legal limit—with THC levels below 0.02 percent the CBD products on his shelves comply with the law.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the mind-altering ingredient found in cannabis. At less than .02 percent the amount is so minute, it's incapable of getting a person high—neither does the more potent form of CBD that's allowed under the state law.
"Since we started selling CBD we've experienced a drastic increase," White says of his sales.
He just opened up his third store in Austin and CBD sales are the highest at the location that's a stone's throw from a hospital.
"Some doctors do send their patients directly to us, they are never very upfront about it," White says some customers tell him doctors sent them to the shop.
Many of his customers are veterans or elderly—people who suffer from chronic pain, anxiety and epilepsy buy the bulk of the CBD products at the vape and smoke stores. The items are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the label says the products are "not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases"
White recommends anyone interested in CBD consult with their doctor first, he just wants people to know there is a legal alternative, it's just not as effective as medicinal marijuana.
Allbaugh says, "I don't care about the background noise on marijuana, I just know this is what works for me personally."
Texas' low-THC law allows patients with uncontrollable epilepsy access to CBD oil. The state's Department of Public Safety has to license three dispensing organizations by Sept. 1, 2017. Last week, DPS commissioners put off discussions on establishing rules for the law until the members meet back up in October.
Governor Greg Abbott vowed he would not push his pen any further after he signed the 2015 law. At that time he said he would not legalize marijuana for medicinal or relational use as long as he's in office. Texas has some of the most stringent marijuana laws in the country, something Allbaugh hopes with change during the 2017 legislative session.
Allbaugh says, "It would help a lot of individuals that are really suffering right now and there's quite a few bit that come through that are suffering."