Updated on April 26, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Texas Medical Marijuana Facts
The unfortunate medical marijuana facts for Texas are that only certain patients have access to medical cannabis, and they can only legally possess cannabidiol (CBD) oil. The only medical condition that qualifies is severe epilepsy.
However, there were several bills that were introduced into the Texas Legislature during the 2016 session that would have expanded the program. None of them were passed, so as a result, patients suffering from other severe illnesses will either have to use powerful, potentially addictive drugs or risk arrest for using weed.
Medical Marijuana Facts for Texas
- Advocates for sensible medical cannabis reform are calling for the so-called “Compassionate Use Program” to be more inclusive. They want patients suffering from other conditions to be eligible, and they want state officials to raise the amount of THC — the psychoactive component of marijuana — that is allowed.
- The Compassionate Use Program only allows the use of CBD extracts that have less than 0.5% THC. Extracts must contain 10% or more of CBD.
- Physicians must have tried two or more treatments for patients suffering from severe epilepsy before they can prescribe CBD, and these treatments must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- The current law requires doctors to write a prescription for cannabis rather than “recommend” it, as is the law in most other states. This is an unworkable aspect of the Texas law, however, since it puts doctors at risk of not only losing their licenses but also of violating federal law. Federal courts have provided certain legal protections to physicians who “recommend” medical weed, but not those who “prescribe” it.
- There was also movement during the 2016 legislative session to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of weed. The bill would have made this a civil offense rather than a criminal one, punishable by a fine of up to $250 rather than an arrest. However, even though this bill had reportedly garnered a substantial amount of support among legislators, it did not receive enough votes to pass.
- The University of Texas conducted a poll in June 2015 that showed nearly 70 percent of Texans support decriminalization of small amounts of weed.
- Patients are unable to designate caretakers to pick up their CBD for them, no matter how debilitating their condition may be.
- Only patients who are permanent residents of Texas may qualify for a prescription. Visitors from other states do not qualify, even if they come from areas where medical cannabis is legal.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we hope that one day the marijuana facts for Texas change to the point that patients suffering from a wide range of severe conditions can have access to medicinal cannabis. As it is written now, the law is simply unworkable from several different aspects. Unfortunately, there are no indications that this law will change any time soon. But check back with us on a regular basis. We will continue to keep you updated on developments in Texas, as well as all other states, as they warrant.