Medical cannabis bill clears Texas Senate committee

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The use of cannabis to treat a variety of debilitating medical conditions cleared a major hurdle Thursday when a legislative panel approved what supporters call the Compassionate Use Program.

The action by the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee could move House Bill 3703 to the full chamber for a vote next week.

“The Texas Legislature took another step toward a more inclusive and functional Compassionate Use Program,” said Heather Fazio, director of the Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “Sadly, though, the vast majority of patients are being left behind. We hope senators will consider including patients with other debilitating medical conditions like PTSD, severe pain, and Crohn’s Disease.”

The bill, which already has passed in the House, does not affect overall marijuana laws in Texas.

However, it does expand the medical use of cannabis to treat medical conditions including all epilepsy and seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, terminal cancer, and incurable neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Several marijuana bills, however, remained bottled up.

The House has passed a measure by El Paso Democrat to effectively decriminalize first-time possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. But House Bill 63 is a nonstater in the Senate where Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the presiding officer, has said he opposes any relaxation of drug laws.

Time for considering legislation is short. The session in Austin ends May 27.

Here’s Every State That Has Legalized Marijuana

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In the mid-1600s, hemp was a cash crop for European settlers who had recently arrived in what would become the United States. It remained an integral part of the colonies’, and later independent country’s economy for centuries, until the early 1900s, when Americans started to change their attitude toward cannabis.

The budding marijuana movement of the present day has overcome enormous obstacles in its long, winding attempt to end cannabis prohibition, from the fear that was ingrained into society by Harry Anslinger, the infamous 1936 drama “Reefer Madness,” and the war on drugs initiated by the Nixon administration in the 1970s.

Cannabis legalization hasn’t spread across the U.S. in a linear fashion, though. Aside from a few exceptions, notably Colorado, medical marijuana legislation took root on the West Coast, followed soon after by the Northeast.

Prohibition received its first series of blows when California, Oregon, and Washington legalized medical cannabis during the 1990s. Voters in these three Pacific Coast states were also among the first to legalize recreational cannabis, starting with Washington. Then, as if the enthusiasm behind weed legalization decided to board an airplane and fly east,  the next wave of legalization began in the Northeast, with a layover in Colorado.

Gradually, cannabis prohibition has been withering, now that 10 states have legalized adult-use cannabis, also known as recreational use, and a total of 33 have medical marijuana legislation in place. Some states without any form of legal cannabis are starting to allow medical use of cannabidiol (CBD) products with low amounts of THC.

The federal government also is starting to embrace the plant that was a vital part of the U.S. economy. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed Dec. 20, 2018, removed hemp‘s status as a controlled substance and legalized industrial hemp production.

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A Physician’s Perspective on Optimal Cannabis Dosing

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Dosage is the key factor in achieving the most benefits and least adverse effects of cannabis. After following thousands of patients using medical cannabis for eight years, I’ve observed that dosing cannabis is unlike any therapeutic agent to which I was exposed in my medical training. A basic understanding of the key characteristics of cannabis dosing can empower you to make the most of this incredibly versatile, safe, and effective herb.

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Medical Marijuana for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain: How to Talk to Your Doctor

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Have you ever discussed cannabis with your doctor? Despite the fact that 29 states plus the District of Columbia have decriminalized the use of marijuana for the treatment of certain medical problems, research published in September 2017 in Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that nine out of ten doctors were unprepared to prescribe it to their patients. “Most doctors don’t know much about it, even in the states where it is legal,” says Rav Ivker, DO, a holistic family physician in Boulder, Colorado and author of Cannabis for Chronic Pain: A Proven Prescription for Using Marijuana to Relieve Your Pain and Heal Your Life.

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Medical Marijuana Users Are Quitting Prescription Drugs in Huge Numbers

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As the U.S. witnesses a cascade of new laws that lift the prohibition of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, more people have made an exodus from their prescription drugs to the counters of their local dispensaries. This trend is only expected to gain momentum as medical cannabis users testify to the glowing results of their substituting marijuana for traditional pharmaceuticals, according to data released in a new report published by the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

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Here’s What Medical Cannabis Looks Like in Texas

Compassionate Cultivation founder and CEO Morris Denton looks over marijuana plants in the company’s flowering room in Manchaca, Texas.

Nearly all forms of cannabis are illegal in Texas. And by illegal, I mean very illegal. Possession of a small amount of cannabis concentrate—what we in the legal states know as a $30 vape cartridge—is a felony in the Lone Star State.

Medical marijuana here has almost no THC. It’s actually lower in THC than hemp-derived CBD.
But there is one form of cannabis that is allowed. It’s a highly specialized cannabidiol oil that contains, by law, no more than 0.5% THC and no less than 10% CBD. It’s available only to patients with intractable epilepsy, and three companies are licensed to produce and distribute it.

When To Use Cannabis as a Substitute for Pharmaceuticals

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Medical marijuana advocates have celebrated cannabis as a non-toxic, non-addictive alternative to a wide range of prescription drugs. But while scores of patients have had success using cannabis as a substitute for pharmaceuticals, it’s not for everybody.

For one, not every patient responds to cannabis in the same way. Though many have reported using cannabis to alleviate anxiety, for example, others experience heightened anxiety and paranoia when they smoke weed.

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Costs of Lifesaving Drugs Rising Faster than Inflation, Americans are More Likely to Die from an Opioid Overdose than a Car Crash …and Cannabis is Still Illegal

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A record 70,237 Americans died in 2017 due to drug overdoses according to findings just released in a disappointing report produced by the National Safety Council.

A deadly surge in the popularity of a synthetic opioid called Fentanyl – said to be 30-50x more potent than street heroin – has had such a devastating impact on our society that the life expectancy for Americans, which had enjoyed a relatively steady climb since the 1940’s has suddenly fallen into a disturbing decline and now rests at 78.6 years.

But the morsel from the report that is garnering the most attention in the media is the fact that in today’s America you are now more likely to die from an opioid overdose than you are in an automobile accident.

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