The legal status of cannabis in the United States has changed rapidly over the past few years. At the federal level, marijuana is still considered a Class 1 controlled substance, meaning it has “a high potential for abuse.” The FDA hasn’t approved it for the treatment of any medical conditions.
Many states have passed laws making recreational marijuana legal at the state level. Unfortunately, Texas is not one of them. The minimum penalty for possession of marijuana in Texas is currently a Class B misdemeanor and carries a sentence of 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2000, or both.
But that doesn’t mean that marijuana is entirely illegal in the state of Texas. The Texas Compassionate Use Act is a medical marijuana law that allows individuals with specific medical conditions to obtain medical marijuana prescriptions.
Are you interested in obtaining medical marijuana through the state of Texas’s medical marijuana program? Read on to find out if you qualify for the Texas Compassionate Use Program, if there are any costs involved, and what kinds of questions to ask your doctor.
Medical marijuana in Texas is restricted to products that contain 1% or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight. THC is a natural cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It can produce a psychoactive response and help patients with conditions like anxiety, nausea, and insomnia. It’s also been shown to help ease pain and is especially good at reducing neuropathic pain.
Low-THC substances in Texas that are approved for medical use are limited to products that can be swallowed or ingested instead of smoked. Most of these products come in the form of an oil that is a combination of THC and CBD, which is another cannabinoid. Oral sprays and lozenges are also available.
There is no age limit governing who can qualify for medical marijuana in Texas, although minors under the age of 18 need a legal guardian’s consent.
Texas doesn’t issue medical marijuana cards to those who qualify. Instead, you will need to get a prescription for medical marijuana from an authorized physician.
To get a medical marijuana prescription, patients must meet several qualifiers:
When medical marijuana became legal in 2015, epilepsy was the only medical condition that it was approved to treat. Since then, the Compassionate Use Act, which legalized medical marijuana in Texas, has expanded the list of conditions that marijuana is approved to treat.
Most recently, in September of 2021, PTSD and all forms of cancer were approved as conditions that could be treated with medical marijuana.
Low-THC substances can now be prescribed for the following medical conditions:
Some conditions that do not qualify for treatment with medical marijuana include:
The first step to obtaining a prescription for low-THC substances is to see if you qualify. Remember, you must be a permanent resident of Texas with a Texas state ID and have a qualifying medical condition like epilepsy or cancer to be considered.
Only certain doctors are qualified to prescribe medical marijuana. Qualified physicians must be registered with CUP–the Compassionate Use Program of Texas–to be eligible to write prescriptions for medical marijuana. There are many doctors in this program who are available online and for telemedicine visits.
If you already have documentation from your marijuana doctor detailing your medical history and qualifying medical condition(s), you can send it to a CUP-verified doctor to expedite the process of obtaining a prescription.
A list of participating physicians who can prescribe low-THC products is available on the CURT website.
Once your physician has written a medical marijuana prescription for you, they will enter the prescription into the CURT system. Once the prescription is in the system, it is available immediately for a dispensary to fill, though the patient must notify the dispensary that the prescription is available in the system.
The Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation is the only dispensary of medical marijuana that is locally owned and operated in Texas. They have locations in Dallas, Houston, Austin. and San Antonio, and they offer delivery throughout the state.
To fill a prescription for a low-THC product, you must be at least 18 years old or be accompanied by a parent or guardian when picking up or receiving the prescription. You will be required to provide a valid Texas ID and the patient’s name, date of birth, and last four digits of their social security number.
A medical marijuana prescription allows patients in the state of Texas to possess low-dose THC products for medical use only. THC in recreational form is still prohibited in Texas, and THC products that are greater than 1% by weight are also prohibited.
You will need medical documentation providing a record of a valid medical condition that low-THC products are qualified to treat. If you don’t have supporting documents from an existing physician who is treating you, you can talk to a doctor who can diagnose you first to provide the appropriate documentation to the CURT doctor who will write your prescription.
Most appointments to qualify for medical marijuana are brief and may only take 10-15 minutes. The qualifying doctor will ask you about your medical condition(s) and medical history. If you’re approved to get a prescription for low-THC products, the prescription will be entered into the CURT website and be available for you to fill the same day as your appointment.
If you have a caregiver or someone who assists with your day-to-day medical and home needs, then they will not be able to apply for a medical marijuana prescription on your behalf. Caregivers like nurses or home health aides also cannot pick up prescriptions for low-THC products for their patients.
The patient must apply for and pick up the prescription themselves. The only exception is if the patient is under the age of 18. In that case, a parent or guardian must be present and apply for the prescription on behalf of the patient.
There are no state fees for receiving a prescription for medical marijuana. The doctor who prescribes the low-THC product for you will likely charge an office visit fee, which you can discuss with their office before your appointment.
The cost of the low-THC product itself will vary depending on your prescription. Note that the cost of medical marijuana is not covered by medical insurance since it is illegal at the federal level and not FDA-approved to treat any medical conditions.
Medical marijuana prescriptions must be filled at a licensed dispensary such as Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation. There are locations throughout the state available for pick-up and delivery.
Some states have a program called reciprocity in which the state accepts out-of-state medical marijuana cards. However, since Texas doesn’t issue cannabis cards, this is not an option for Texans who get their prescriptions for low-THC cannabis through the state of Texas.
THC products are still illegal at the federal level and prohibited for recreational use in the state of Texas. But, if you have a qualifying medical condition, you should talk to your doctor about getting supporting documentation to obtain a cannabis prescription for low-THC medical cannabis.