The Texas Cannabis Compassionate Use Program (TCCUP) is a cannabis law that uses state resources to manage an informal system of providing marijuana to eligible patients. It took effect on June 1, 2015. However, it does not have the power to make medical marijuana legal for all Texans.
However, current research indicates that this program could help many people in Texas who are suffering from debilitating conditions such as cancer and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What is the Texas Compassionate-Use Program?
The Compassionate Use Act allows qualifying patients to access and use low-THC cannabis (marijuana) based on a physician’s recommendation. This program provides a safe alternative to pharmaceutical drugs when other treatments have not worked or are inappropriate. In addition, qualifying patients must be diagnosed with intractable epilepsy or a debilitating condition resistant to treatment by standard therapies. This law has no legal dispensaries, so it effectively establishes an “underground” system of providing cannabis substances.
What Conditions are Covered Under the Compassionate Use Program?
The law states that debilitating conditions must be resistant to conventional medicine. The law also requires that symptoms caused by specific health conditions patients suffer should be impossible to treat with conventional medicine.
Patients should try as many treatments as possible before using cannabis as a medicine. However, under the law, cannabis can be used to reduce some symptoms if they are impossible to treat with conventional medicine. Situations under which cannabis can be adopted as medicine include:
- Intractable Epilepsy
- Autism – If the symptoms interfere with daily activities for the past 12 months or more. Additionally, if the patient’s family has continuously tried four FDA-approved treatments and symptoms have not improved, cannabis can be used in treatments.
- Cancer – If the patient has tried other FDA-approved treatments that have not worked, cannabis can be used as medicine.
- Pain that is either chronic or severe under which normal activities are difficult to perform.
- Pain in which an opioid has been ineffective (medical practitioners must confirm this).
- Severe nausea or vomiting, which has not responded to standard treatment.
How Do I Apply for the Compassionate Use Program?
You need to take a few steps to apply for this program, with the first being a visit to your primary physician. Next, you must provide a written certification from your doctor stating that you are an appropriate candidate for the treatment. Finally, you must also provide a completed application form from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
If your physician does not complete the Certification of Eligibility form on your behalf, you must complete it alone. Additionally, you will be required to pay a fee of $100. Afterward, your completed application must be returned to the Texas Department of Public Safety for processing (no more information is needed).
How Much Marijuana Is Allowed Under This Program?
Under the law, patients may possess a 60-day supply of low-THC cannabis as deemed appropriate by their physician. This amount is determined on a case-by-case basis. The Texas Department of Public Safety will determine the actual amount based on your doctor’s recommendation and personal needs. If you have questions about the amount of what constitutes a 60-day supply, it may be a good idea to consult with your physician before you apply for this program.
How Does This Affect CBD, Cannabis, and Marijuana in the State of Texas?
This law does not make CBD, cannabis, or marijuana legal in Texas. Rather, it allows patients who have applied for a Texas medical marijuana card online to access low-THC cannabis without fearing legal repercussions.
The federal government will likely continue prosecuting those who use, own, or sell illegal cannabis. Fortunately, this program opens the door for more comprehensive studies on the medical benefits of marijuana use.
As more and more states legalize medical marijuana, the federal government will likely become less involved in states that allow its use. Regardless, TCCUP is a positive step for patients who have been suffering from debilitating conditions and have tried all other conventional therapies. The Texas Compassionate Use Program permits qualified patients to use cannabis in a safe and regulated manner covered by state resources.