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About the Compassionate Use Act

The Texas Compassionate Use Act allows qualified physicians who register with the Texas Compassionate Use Program to legally prescribe low-THC medical cannabis to certain patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.

Physician Requirements

Physicians who specialize in the field of examining, diagnosing and treating epilepsy may qualify to prescribe low-THC cannabis under the Texas Compassionate Use Program by registering with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Compassionate Use Registry Portal.

Qualifying physicians must be certified in epilepsy or neurology by the American Board of Neurophysiology or the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology; or be otherwise qualified to examine and diagnose epilepsy.

Prescribing Medical Cannabis

After receiving approval from the Department of Public Safety’s Compassionate Use Registry, qualified physicians can create an account with the online Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT) database, where they can enter patient medical cannabis prescription information and treatment plans.

Before prescribing medical cannabis to a patient, physicians must examine and diagnose that patient with intractable epilepsy and determine the potential risks associated with low-THC cannabis are worth the potential benefits for the patient. Physicians must register as that patient’s prescriber and enter diagnosis and treatment plans in the online CURT database.

A second CURT-registered physician must concur with the initial diagnosis and treatment plan before the patient or their legal guardian can fill a medical cannabis prescription. All patients and caregivers must be permanent residents of Texas.

Efficacy of Cannabidiol for Epilepsy

Approximately 30 percent of people with epilepsy don’t respond well to conventional treatments, but cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, has emerged as a promising alternative treatment option.

Research indicates CBD treatments may decrease the frequency of convulsive seizures in some patients suffering with intractable epilepsy, and numerous patients and caregivers have come forward across the country in recent years reporting positive responses to CBD.

A landmark study published in 2017 in the New England Journal of Medicine compared CBD with a placebo on 120 children and young adults with drug-resistant seizures symptomatic of Dravet Syndrome. CBD use cut the occurrence of seizures by nearly half for 43 percent of trial patients.

Even before this study, the effectiveness of CBD for seizure disorders has been known as early as 1980, when Raphael Mechoulam – the Israeli biochemist credited with the isolation of both CBD and THC – released findings revealing successful outcomes for epilepsy patients undergoing CBD treatments.

In 2013, when neurologist Sanjay Gupta told the story of Charlotte Figi, a young girl suffering from Dravet syndrome whose symptoms greatly improved with the use of CBD, the world began to take notice. Gupta’s CNN special “Weed” highlighted Figi’s story and triggered a wave of states enacting laws that allow for the use of CBD treatments for epilepsy.

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