New law expands Texas medical marijuana program to include people with PTSD and cancer of all stages

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Texans with cancer or dealing with post traumatic stress, can now add medical marijuana to their treatment.

Founder of Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana, David Bass, spent 25 years in the army.

“When I came back, I had these very estranged symptoms,” said Bass.

In 2005, he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress or PTSD, and was prescribed several kinds of medications.

“I disliked those medications,” said Bass. “I didn’t like the side effects.”

After many years of what he describes as ‘flat emotions’ and suicidal thoughts, he decided to try medical cannabis.

“Immediately, I was able to sleep eight hours every night, without any nightmares, I felt much more relaxed. I wasn’t so hyper vigilant and paranoid,” said Bass.

Because of the state’s restricted medical marijuana program, bass had to get the plant illegally, but starting September 1st, the Texas Compassionate Use Program will be expanding to include people with PTSD and cancer of all stages.

The new law will also increase the cap of THC in medical marijuana from .5 percent to 1 percent.

THC is the component on cannabis that causes psychological effects, including a sensation of being high.

“Because PTSD is now recognized as a conglomeration of many symptoms, not all symptoms respond well to antidepressants,” said Bobby Jain, M.D. Texas Tech Physician Psychiatrist. “There’s a need for other avenues, because the effects on social functioning, quality of life, even family functioning is immense.”

Studies indicate marijuana helps reduce hypervigilance in those with PTSD, while for cancer patients, marijuana may help lessen symptoms of nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.

Side effects of the plant include, inability to think clearly or concentrate.

The Compassionate Use Program indicates the cannabis has to be prescribed by a physician.

“We veterans, beginning on September first, are very interested in becoming legal cannabis patients,” said Bass. “Under the care of a doctor ,that’s what I’m very happy about.”

Bass believes Physicians should be the ones choosing the amount of THC a patient should consume.

As of July 2021, there were 7,454 patients listed by their physicians in the Compassionate Use Registry.

There are currently no physicians participating in the Texas Compassionate Use Registry.

To find a participating physicians, click here.

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