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Texas cancer patients and people with PTSD will soon be able to join state’s expanded medical marijuana program

AUG. 11, 2021 

David Bass came home to Fort Worth in 2006 after serving in the Army but sometimes he feels like he's still in Iraq.

After his 25 years in the military, the 64-year-old Desert Storm veteran had nightmares almost every night for six years about being back on the warfield.

"I still have the sensation that I'm in Iraq," said Bass, who now lives in Killeen. "I can hear Iraq, I can smell Iraq. I can hear the rockets going off."

Bass was prescribed several kinds of medications to ease his hypervigilance after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. But those medications didn't help him sleep. Instead, they caused him to have "flat emotions" — and, eventually, suicidal thoughts.

It wasn't until he tried marijuana that he was able to ease his mind and get a good night's rest. But since the state's medical cannabis program is restricted to those with neurological disorders or terminal cancer, Bass had to get his hands on marijuana illegally for years.

Starting on Sept. 1, however, the Texas Compassionate Use Program will expand to include people with PTSD and cancer of all stages, allowing them to use "low-THC cannabis."

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the component of marijuana plants that causes psychological effects, including a sensation of being high. It can be consumed in a variety of ways, such as smoking, swallowing capsules and consuming edibles and oils. All but smoking will be permitted for people to whom the program applies.

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