Stress Test

What's CBD Coffee Like?

No, it won't make you high. But what does it do?

By Timothy Malcolm June 25, 2019 Published in the July 2019 issue of Houstonia Magazine

The Smoking Pot coffee shop opened in Spring Branch on—naturally—April 20, promising CBD products such as oils, pens, and dog treats, along with oil-spiked Katz coffee. But it was plagued by supply and permitting issues from the start, having opened before the state had gotten in line with federal law on growing and selling hemp.

Unaware of these issues, feeling a little anxious, and curious to try this substance purported to relieve physical pain, stress, and other ailments without the associated high, we headed over and happened to get there on a day when the coffee was available. We wondered: Would it really work? What if it worked too well?

The passage of the federal 2018 Farm Bill, signed by President Donald Trump, legalized the growth and sale of hemp, which, like marijuana, is a type of cannabis. Unlike marijuana, however, hemp, from which CBD oil is derived, is less than 0.3 percent high-inducing THC.

Until the last legislative session Texas had approved only a stronger form of CBD oil for patients suffering from specific forms of epilepsy, while the sale of weaker forms of the oil existed in a legal gray area. Local law enforcement was generally uninclined to pursue CBD cases, though, leading to the recent proliferation of the stuff here.

New state legislation, passed in May—just after our trip to the coffee shop—and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, will allow more patients to access medical-grade CBD while permitting the sale of weaker products starting in September.

At The Smoking Pot, we admired the shop’s local art and quirky antiques before ordering a $3.75 cold brew with a $2 CBD oil shot (six droplets, or 25 milligrams); double shots were on offer for $4. The drink itself was nice and mellow. After finishing it, we felt—not high, but calmer, even more focused, as if the noise in our brain had quieted. Was it a placebo effect? We returned a few days later for scientific reasons, and once again found the day sort of … smoothed out, with no anxiety to speak of.

Will we become Smoking Pot regulars? Nah. For one, $5.75 for a coffee is a little much. But come September, once in a while, when life’s stress gets overwhelming, we have a new option—assuming the shop works out the kinks.

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