AUSTIN (KETK) – A bill in the Texas Legislature this session could expand accessibility to medical marijuana.
House Bill 1805 was approved by the House Public Health Committee on Monday. It’s author, Representative Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth), said it would add a new condition to the state’s current Compassionate Use Act.
Currently, the following conditions are approved for medical marijuana prescriptions under the Texas Compassionate Use Act:
- Seizure disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- An incurable neurodegenerative disease
HB 1805 would make those with conditions “that cause chronic pain, for which a physician would otherwise prescribe an opioid” and other “debilitating medical conditions” eligible under the Compassionate Use Act.
“Chronic pain that would otherwise be treated with an opioid and debilitating medical conditions defined by the Department of State Health Services,” Klick said.
Texas Original, a medical cannabis provider with a pickup location in Nacogdoches, has declared their support. Interim CEO at Texas Original, Nico Richardson, said this bill would help East Texans suffering from chronic pain conditions like arthritis, joint pain and back pain that lasts weeks to years.
Richardson said Texans suffering from chronic pain “obviously deserve access to medical cannabis.“
To qualify for medical marijuana, you will have to visit an approved doctor, who then verifies your condition falls under the Compassionate Use Act.
The FDA has not approved cannabis for medical use, but they have approved several drugs that include cannabinoids, which are compounds found in marijuana.
Richardson said HB 1805 could open up access to medical marijuana to hundreds of Texans.
“Chronic pain by far, within Texas, would be the largest patient base that’s not currently being served,” said Richardson.
The addition of chronic pain to the list of covered diagnoses isn’t the only function of the bill. HB 1805 would also change how THC concentrations are measured.
“A volumetric cap would mean that each dose has a specific amount of cannabinoids in it instead of a percentage,” Klick said.
Cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant, including THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Currently, the law requires the THC level to stay under 1%. Richardson said this leaves people taking several doses to meet their prescribed amount.
“You allow for more concentrated delivery methodologies that don’t come with those same drawbacks,” Richardson said.
With this bill, THC dosages would be measured in milligrams, like other prescription drugs, instead of percentages. The cap would be 10 milligrams, rather than 1% THC concentration.
If passed into law, the act would take effect on Sept. 1.