Texas lawmakers have taken a step forward in expanding the state's medical marijuana program. The Texas House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill that would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients as a treatment option for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, Crohn's disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The bipartisan legislation is an expansion on the state's 2015 "Compassionate Use" law, which has allowed a growing number of patients to use low-THC cannabis oil to treat certain conditions.
The bill, which still needs to pass a final vote in the House before moving to the Senate, would significantly increase the number of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use. In addition to cancer, Crohn's disease, and PTSD, the bill would allow patients with conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis to access medical marijuana. The bill would also increase the legal THC limit in medical marijuana products from 0.5% to 5%, allowing patients to access stronger doses of the drug.
If the bill passes both the House and Senate, it would be a major victory for medical marijuana advocates in Texas. Currently, the state's medical marijuana program is one of the most restrictive in the country, with only a limited number of conditions qualifying for treatment. In addition, patients are required to obtain a recommendation from a registered physician, and the cannabis oil they receive must contain no more than 0.5% THC.
Despite these restrictions, the number of patients using medical marijuana in Texas has steadily increased since the program was first introduced in 2015. As of 2021, there are over 4,000 registered patients in the state, and that number is expected to continue to grow if the new legislation is passed.
With the potential expansion of Texas' medical marijuana program, patients and caregivers may be wondering what products will be available to them. Under the current "Compassionate Use" law, patients can only access low-THC cannabis oil, which is often administered orally. However, if the new legislation is passed, patients would be able to access a wider range of products, including edibles, tinctures, and topicals.
edibles are a popular option for medical marijuana patients who have difficulty swallowing pills or who want a more discreet way to consume the drug. tinctures, which are liquid extracts that can be taken under the tongue, are another popular option. Topicals, such as creams and balms, can be used to treat localized pain and inflammation.
In addition to these products, patients may also be able to access strains of marijuana with higher levels of THC. While some patients may prefer lower-THC products for their medical needs, others may require higher doses to effectively manage their symptoms.
If you're a patient or caregiver interested in learning more about Texas' medical marijuana program, there are several resources available to you. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) oversees the program and provides information on its website about how to become a registered patient, how to find a qualified physician, and what products are currently available.
In addition to the DPS website, there are several advocacy groups in Texas that are working to expand access to medical marijuana. These groups, such as the Texas Cannabis Collective and Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, provide information on legislative developments, patient stories, and other relevant news.
The potential expansion of Texas' medical marijuana program has also been welcomed by those in the industry. Nico Richardson, CEO of the Texas Cannabis Collective, has praised the bill as a step forward for patients and for the industry as a whole.
"Expanding access to medical marijuana will help more Texans find relief from chronic pain, anxiety, and other debilitating conditions," Richardson said. "It will also create new jobs and economic opportunities in the state."
However, some in the industry are also pushing for further reform, including the legal of recreational marijuana. A Texas lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow counties and municipalities to legal recreational marijuana at the local level, similar to how alcohol is regulated.
As the debate over marijuana legal continues in Texas and across the country, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the state's medical marijuana program. However, with the potential expansion of the program on the horizon, patients and caregivers have reason to be hopeful.