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The recent legalization of marijuana in states like Colorado has paved the way toward legalization in other states.

The Texas Compassionate Use Act was signed into law at the beginning of September and allows for patients with intractable epilepsy to use medical marijuana (only in the form of Cannabidiol) to help ease their symptoms. A prescription will be available to Texas residents who suffer from seizures too strong for other medication. If a patient meets the requirements, a physician is able to prescribe them low-THC cannabis oil to control their seizures.

If necessary, the prescription would also allow the patient to receive Cannabidiol from a licensed marijuana establishment. A restriction to this law is that a caregiver may not legally receive the Cannabidiol for the purpose of delivering it to the patient. Also, patients cannot grow their own medical marijuana; they must receive it from a state regulated dispensing organization.

“The problem is…it’s still in the investigational stage, but there are at least reputable facilities like hospitals and universities doing research to see if this works,”said Dr. Susan Dalterio, UTSA Professor of Drugs in Society. “Unfortunately, most of the people that are on TV are only pointing at cases, and that’s anecdotal evidence.”

“It might help some people, but right now there is no way to know which people might be helped and which people might be harmed,”Dalterio said, “it’s not FDA approved, but it is in research phase.”

Dalterio further expresses her hesitation on the drug.

“Cannabidiol is not psychoactive, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally safe, it’s certainly safer than the THC which is the psychoactive part of the marijuana plant. In any kind of drug discussion, whether it be drug like this or any kind of drug, pharmaceutical drug or therapeutic drug, you have to look at the benefit to risk.”

Despite many restrictions, this law does not require a patient to be 18 years of age. A doctor may prescribe a minor if the benefits of using cannabis outweigh the risks. This law is different than laws of other states addressing marijuana.In other states, doctors are allowed to recommend marijuana therapy, or certify that a person is eligible.However, in Texas, doctors are now able to prescribe the drug directly to the patient. Fourteen other states have already passed laws similar to this.

“In the case of marijuana, the benefit hasn’t been clearly established from FDA point of view, except for those few drugs, like Marinol, that are available for prescription because they’re FDA approved,” added Dalterio. Government officials have stressed that the oil will be strictly supervised and is in no way be a step towards legal recreational marijuana.

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