In 2021, there will be an estimated 133,730 new cases of cancer in Texas, according to projections made by the American Cancer Society. Cancer patients face months to years of symptoms associated with treatment such as pain, nausea and anxiety. However, the Texas Compassionate Use Program only allows medical marijuana for cancer patients who are deemed terminal, limiting non-terminal patients to potentially addictive medications, such as opioids, to treat their symptoms.
Dorothy Paredes, a breast and ovarian cancer survivor, is one of the patients who is not currently eligible under the program. She hopes to see expansion in the Compassionate Use Program so more Texans can receive the care they need.
“Cancer patients deserve the dignity and freedom to make care plans that work for them with their doctors. They should not have to face criminal charges for exploring a researched and proven medication that is legal in 37 other states. They should not have to be in hospice care to be granted compassionate use by state leaders in Austin,” Dorothy says.
Although medical marijuana is limited to terminal cancer in Texas, recent research suggests it could relieve many common symptoms patients experience in all stages of cancer.
How Medical Marijuana Could Help Cancer Symptoms
One 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis found that medical cannabis led to a reduction in pain, nausea and spasticity for cancer patients. Another 2019 review found that medical marijuana helped patients better manage chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and cancer pain.
In addition to relieving symptoms, some studies suggest that medical marijuana may also inhibit tumor growth, though more research is still needed to understand its anti-cancer effects.
How to Become a Patient
Although terminal cancer is the qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Texas, it is up to the doctor’s discretion to determine what cancer patients are terminal. Click the link below to find a doctor who is registered to prescribe medical cannabis in Texas.