About Medical Marijuana Laws in Texas
Senate Bill 339, also known as the “Compassionate Use Act,” was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot on June 1, 2015, which legalized the restricted use of cannabis extract for severe epilepsy. This law permits the use of oils high in cannabidiol (CBD) to treat intractable epilepsy.
While CBD is naturally found in the marijuana plant, it is important to understand that this substance doesn’t produce the euphoric “high” due to its low concentrations of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive molecule in marijuana which causes the high sensations when cannabis is consumed.
A person may be prescribed CBD or low-THC cannabis if:
- He or she is a permanent resident of Texas
- He or she is diagnosed with intractable epilepsy
- He or she has been previously treated with at least two other epilepsy drugs without success
- A qualified physician weighs in the risk of the medical use of CBD and low-THC cannabis by a patient and considers the potential advantages for the patient
- A second qualified doctor must also approve the new treatment
The doctors must be licensed to prescribe CBD or low-THC cannabis, and spent a significant portion of their time in clinical practice evaluating and treating epilepsy. Furthermore, they are required to be certified in epilepsy or neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Why is the Compassionate Use Act an Unfavorable Regulation?
Although the current regulation only benefits those with intractable epilepsy, virtually no one else can use medical marijuana to some degree. So whether you have chronic pain or cancer, you do not qualify for medical marijuana in Texas.
In addition, doctors will have to “prescribe” cannabis to their patient, meaning that the physicians risk federal criminal sanctions. In other states that have legalized medicinal marijuana, doctors merely “certify” or “recommend” the use of medical cannabis. Certifications and recommendations are protected under the First Amendment, making them federally legal, whereas prescriptions are not.