What’s Next for Medical Cannabis in Texas
The last two years have been historic for medical cannabis access in Texas. HB 1535 was signed into law, enabling patients living with cancer and PTSD to access medical cannabis under the Compassionate Use Program. Texas Original introduced the state’s first fast-acting medical cannabis gummy and opened new pickup locations to help patients in all regions of Texas better access their medicine under strict inventory regulations. While these changes were important, there is still a lot of work to do to ensure that patients in need can access this medicine.
Texas’ 88th Legislative Session will begin on January 10, 2023 and Texas Original, alongside patients and physicians, is advocating for the expansion of the Compassionate Use Program. Texas Original is advocating for two main changes to the current Compassionate Use Program (CUP).
Allow Medical Cannabis as a Safe Alternative to Opioids
In 2021, Representative Stephanie Klick’s HB 1535 passed the Texas House with overwhelming bipartisan support but stalled in the Senate. Before passing the Senate, the bill was amended to remove chronic pain from the list of qualifying conditions. While the passage of HB 1535 was a small yet positive change, removing chronic pain from the bill excluded millions of Texans who need access to this medicine.
As opioid-involved deaths continue to rise in the state, Texas patients have few treatment options for safe, effective relief. In 2021, 4,813 Texans died from an opioid overdose, a 16% increase in just one year. In Harris County alone, deaths involving synthetic opioids skyrocketed by 341%, according to data from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
This legislative session, Texas Original is calling on legislators again to allow medical cannabis as a safe alternative to opioids for chronic pain. Chronic pain is a life-altering condition that impacts millions of Texans daily and can drastically affect a patient’s day-to-day life by causing limited mobility, sustained depression, heightened anxiety and isolation.
Medical cannabis is a safe and effective treatment option, with zero reported overdose deaths. By improving the CUP and giving our Texas physicians support, medical cannabis can serve as a first line of defense to treat chronic pain safely and naturally.
Remove the THC Cap for Medical Cannabis Products
In Texas, medical cannabis products must only contain 1% THC by weight of the final product. However, the 1% THC cap does not restrict the amount of THC a physician may prescribe. Instead, it requires the patient to consume an unreasonable amount of carrier oil or other means of administration to achieve symptom relief, leading to digestive issues and other unintended side effects. This restriction also makes medical cannabis products cost-prohibitive because the patient must purchase more products to administer their prescribed dose of THC.
Additionally, the THC cap substantially limits the types of products a licensed dispensary can produce, restricting access for patients who cannot administer their medicine with oral methods. Patients on feeding tubes, undergoing chemotherapy or with oral injuries experience challenges with administration, absorption and symptom relief under the current THC cap. Removing the THC cap and allowing the physician to prescribe a dose beneficial to the patient will enable patients to access more effective methods of administration to achieve symptom relief.
Advocate for the Expansion of Medical Cannabis in Texas
The 2023 legislative session is a critical time to advocate for the expansion of the medical cannabis program in Texas. Want to get involved during the legislative session? Click the button below to find out how you can help.