State legislation is expanding medical marijuana availability
Texas’ medical cannabis program has long been considered the strictest among other states in the country. However, the landscape may be about to change as some lawmakers in Austin are considering expanding the market to include chronic pain, where opioids would usually be prescribed.
The Texas Compassionate Use Program has been opening its doors in recent years to allow more patients to access the benefits of cannabis. This has resulted in numerous physicians being able to prescribe low-THC marijuana to qualifying patients. So far, chronic pain, although one of the main targets of cannabis, is not included in the eligibility list.
Representative Stephanie Klick, a nurse from Fort Worth, does not intend to stop her efforts to expand the program and now intends to have a medical program that follows scientific data. The week began with the introduction of House Bill 1805 before the House Public Health Committee. According to Klick, author of the legislation and chairman of the committee, this is the next step in the expansion.
In order to prevent opioid use, the legislator proposes to add chronic pain and “debilitating medical conditions” designated by the Department of State Health Services to the list of qualifying medical conditions. The Health and Human Services Commission also currently allows medical cannabis treatment if it is part of an approved research program and includes conditions such as cancer, autism, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and more.
Over time, the program included post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), helping patients like Mike McKim, a Navy veteran. “As a result of taking this medication, I’ve actually been able to sleep soundly for the first time in decades, find peace of mind in my waking life, and I’ve stopped abusing alcohol completely,” said McKim.