Texas’ Expanded Medical Cannabis Program: what you need to know

The state of Texas has one of the most restrictive medical cannabis programs in the country, but on September 1 legislators voted to expand its limited medical program to include cancer patients and PTSD sufferers. House Bill 1535 officially expands the state’s compassionate use program to Texans suffering from cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder – although the latter isn’t officially listed on the official website at time of writing this article. To learn more about getting a Texas medical certificate, read our how to get a Texas card here.

Texas Increases Medical Cannabis THC Limit

The law also doubled the program’s THC limit, which means it increased from 0.5 percent to a “whopping” 1 percent. While any increase is welcome, one percent THC is a far cry from the percentages needed to battle the symptoms of many serious conditions, such as terminal cancer. In states with more generous programs, it’s common for cancer patients to purchase products like Rick Simpson Oil and cannabis distillate that have THC percentages reaching as high as 99 percent.

Texas medical marijuana program expansion

Using Cannabis for PTSD

People suffering from PTSD have reported high THC cannabis regimens not only help treat the symptoms of PTSD but help them recover from it entirely. A recent study funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Johns Hopkins concluded PTSD sufferers saw a reduction of symptoms and were 2.5 times more likely to recover from their PTSD when adding cannabis to their treatment program.

Using Cannabis for Cancer Side Effects

Cannabis can be an incredibly effective medicine for cancer patients because it helps with many of the harshest side effects of chemotherapy, like nausea and vomiting. There’s convincing clinical evidence and overwhelming anecdotal evidence proving cannabis is an effective treatment for many symptoms cancer patients suffer from, but many oncologists are still apprehensive to prescribe it according to a study conducted by the University of Colorado Cancer Center in 2019. 73 percent of oncologists from the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) believe that cannabis would help their patients but only 46 percent were comfortable prescribing it to their patients.

When states like Texas loosens their draconian restrictions on plant medicines like cannabis, it goes a long way in increasing its social acceptance, and doctors will be more comfortable in prescribing it to their patients.

What Next for Texas’ Cannabis Program?

Texas’s compassionate use program falls short of the THC levels that are reported to help many of the symptoms for cancer and PTSD patients but it is a step in the right direction. There was a debate between the Texas Senate and house whether the level of THC should be raised to 5 percent. The house agreed the ten-fold increase to 5 percent was warranted but the Senate limited it to 1 percent in the final bill.

There were other popular provisions that the Senate nixed from the final version of HB 1535. The House suggested that cannabis should be a prescriptive option for any condition in which opioids can be prescribed. Texas legislators have chosen to roll out their medical cannabis program at a sloth’s pace, despite the fact that over 60 percent of Texans support decriminalized cannabis for personal use according to a recent poll conducted by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune.

Unfortunately, the program won’t be up for any more revisions until 2023 according to NORML. Another provision removed from the final version of HB 1535 would have allowed DSHS to evaluate and add medical conditions applicable to the Texas compassionate care program. This is a simple move that would put more power in the hands of patients and medical professionals.

Texas is the second-biggest state in the union and hopefully, public pressure will force the Texas legislative body to make progressive moves to their medical cannabis program sooner rather than later. There’s mounting evidence suggesting cannabis is an incredibly effective medicine for both PTSD and cancer patients. We can only wait and see if the Texas Senate will continue letting people suffer from intense emotional and physical pain for two more years because of their own personal attitudes towards medical cannabis.

You can get certified for the Texas program with Leafwell today. Click to see a Texas physician now.

Written by
headshot of writer jonathan olsen-koziol
Jonathan Olsen-Koziol

Jon is a journalist and content creator that has been working in the cannabis industry for over four years. He got his start covering the cannabis beat in college for the CWU Observer. After graduation he visited dispensaries and weed farms along the entire West Coast writing blogs and features for Respect My Region. Jon loves telling stories about what makes the cannabis industry an amazing and vital entity in the world. Jon is an avid gamer, fantasy football fanatic, and also writes about comic books at CBR.com.

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