What you need to know before seeking a medical cannabis prescription in Texas

Medical marijuana law expanded on Sept. 1

SAN ANTONIO – On Sept. 1, the Texas Compassionate Use Act, or TCUP, was expanded to qualify more patients and doubled the THC limit for medical cannabis.

Cancer patients and those with post-traumatic stress disorder can now get a prescription for medical cannabis.

Dr. Ray Altamirano, who works on the South Side, is one of only 10 doctors in San Antonio who can prescribe the drug. He said he has seen a shift since Sept. 1, and more patients are asking for medical cannabis, but he wants these patients to understand the process involved to get it.

“If you have a diagnosis that qualifies, we want to help you,” Altamirano said. “Next, we screen through our process. Then, you have to go to a dispensary, and then you need to follow up a few months after you start using.”

The follow-up is to make sure the proper dosage is working and doesn’t need to be changed.

The following are the qualifying conditions:

  • All forms of epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • ALS
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE
  • Cancer patients
  • PTSD

For veterans looking for a prescription for their PTSD, it’s important to note that medical cannabis can not be obtained through a VA doctor since it’s federally still a Schedule 1 drug. Outsourcing from somewhere else won’t hurt medical benefits.

Altamirano hopes more doctors register to be able to prescribe medical marijuana in San Antonio to give all patients another option when it comes to treatment.

“It’s going to improve the quality of life for a lot of people,” Altamirano said. “I’m happy Texas got this far, but we’re just starting.”

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About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.