How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Texas
Many patients living in Texas may not realize that we have a medical cannabis program. As a resident of Austin, Texas, I frequently answer questions in social settings about MMJ in our state. And people are often surprised to learn that they may qualify to get a Texas medical marijuana card.
One of the reasons may be due to the fact that there are few dispensaries in the state. Compared to other jurisdictions where the presence of dispensaries is hard to miss (because there are so many of them), there are not many retail locations in Texas where patients can explore medical marijuana products.
While the cannabis program and method of administering medical marijuana prescriptions in Texas is somewhat unique, it is an option for many patients with chronic diseases. So let’s take a closer look at the MMJ program, licensed dispensaries in the Lone Star State, and how to get a medical marijuana card in Texas.
What is the Maximum THC Potency Allowed in Texas?
Compared to other states, Texas has restricted the maximum potency of THC in medical cannabis products sold to patients. The Texas Compassionate Use Program (CUP) permits physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients for medical purposes.
The THC potency limit is 1% by dry weight. That may confuse some people into thinking that all medical marijuana products in Texas have a maximum of 1% THC content. It depends entirely on the volume weight of the capsule, cannabis-infused beverage, topical creams, gummy, or tincture.
Smokable cannabis products are not available at licensed dispensaries in Texas. That means patients cannot purchase vape oil or cannabis flower (bud) for smoking.
How Many Dispensaries Are There in Texas?
At the time of writing, there are three licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in the state of Texas. This is vastly different than the neighboring state of Oklahoma, which has the highest number of retail dispensaries per capita in the United States.
Texas is a large state, and for this reason, medical cannabis dispensaries offer pick-up locations. A patient can request a refill of their medical marijuana prescription online and assign it to a conveniently located and secure place for the pick-up.
The three licensed dispensaries in Texas are:
Texas Original is the state’s largest vertically integrated cannabis dispensary. Vertical integration is required in Texas, which means a dispensary must cultivate and process all medical marijuana products they sell.
In 2023, Texas Original will be moving into a newly built cultivation facility in Bastrop, which will span 90,000 square feet. Texas Original also provides the largest number of convenient pick-up locations for patients across the state.
Patients with a prescription for medical cannabis who choose Texas Original as their dispensary may pick it up at the following locations:
- San Antonio (Tuesdays and Fridays)
- North Austin (Mondays and Fridays)
- Waco (Friday only)
- Houston Heights (Tuesdays and Saturdays)
- North Houston (Wednesdays)
- Frisco (Wednesdays)
- Fort Worth (Mondays and Thursdays)
- North Dallas (Thursdays)
- Addison (Fridays)
- Arlington (Wednesdays)
- Lubbock (Every other Tuesday)
- Nacogdoches (Saturdays)
As of February 2023, Texas Original was serving over 39,000 patients across the state of Texas. The dispensary is also actively involved in furthering the expansion of the medical cannabis program in Texas. And cannabis legal reform to reduce criminal penalties for cannabis possession in the state.
DocMJ had the opportunity to visit the goodblend “CannaBus” as it toured around the state of Texas last fall to promote education and awareness. The dispensary has been serving patients in Texas since 2015 when the only qualifying health condition permitted was a diagnosis of epilepsy.
Patients with a Texas medical cannabis prescription can find goodblend locations in major cities, including:
- Fort Worth
- San Antonio
- Witchita Falls
In 2023, goodblend opened its first retail location in Austin in 2023. The dispensary is known for having the largest variety of medical marijuana products for patients. The team at goodblend also participates in many social fundraisers, marathons, and health and wellness events across the state.
The head office for Fluent dispensaries is located in Schulenburg, Texas. While Fluent does not have multiple dispensaries or pick-up locations, they do offer statewide home shipping of prescribed medical cannabis products.
The product assortment available from Fluent Texas is also limited compared to Texas Original and goodblend. But patients can purchase tinctures and gummies online. Fluent is a multistate dispensary with many locations across the state of Florida.
Can Anyone Visit a Texas Dispensary?
Unlike other states, you cannot walk into a cannabis dispensary in Texas to browse unless you are a registered patient with an active prescription. Once your physician has added your recommended prescription, you can contact the dispensary of your choice to have it filled. And arrange for pick-up or delivery.
However, each dispensary provides a detailed website that lists all products available. This allows patients to determine what they would like to order according to the recommendations of their marijuana doctor or specialized practitioner.
Determine Whether You Have a Qualifying Health Condition
Each state with a legalized medical cannabis program requires that patients receive a recommendation or certification from a licensed medical marijuana doctor. Unfortunately, not every patient will qualify, and whether you can become a registered patient depends on several factors.
First, you must be a resident of the state of Texas. Second, you must have one (or more than one) of the qualifying health conditions. In Texas, the list of diagnoses that can make you eligible to purchase medical marijuana includes the following:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Epilepsy (or other diagnosed seizure disorders)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Incurable neurodegenerative diseases
- Another medical condition approved for a research program under Subchapter F, Chapter 487, Health and Safety Code, for which the patient is currently receiving treatment.
While the list of qualifying medical conditions in Texas is more restricted than in most states where medical marijuana is legalized, the neurodegenerative diseases that may make a patient eligible are quite extensive.
What Are Incurable Neurodegenerative Diseases?
Incurable neurodegenerative diseases can qualify a patient in Texas for an MMJ prescription. The list of neurodegenerative diseases is quite extensive, so if you do not qualify based on standard qualifying conditions, your physician may still be able to approve a medical cannabis prescription in Texas.
Examples of some of the incurable neurodegenerative diseases that may make a patient eligible to get a Texas medical marijuana prescription include:
- Motor Neuron Disease
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy (including Duchenne, Central Core, Facioscapulohumeral, and Friedrich’s Ataxia)
- Vascular dementia
- Familial spastic paraplegia
- Huntington’s disease
- Lewy body disorders
- Parkinson’s disease
- Mitochondrial neuro gastrointestinal encephalopathy
- Creatine disorders
- Glycine encephalopathy
- Fatty acid oxidation
Medical marijuana prescriptions in Texas require one (or more than one) of the accepted qualifying health conditions. However, issuing the cannabis prescription is at the discretion of the marijuana doctor or practitioner.
Some people with a qualifying condition may still not qualify for a cannabis prescription if they have a disease or disorder or an existing prescription that is contraindicated (conflicts) with medical marijuana.
Standard Qualifying Health Conditions in Texas
There are certain qualifying health conditions that may qualify you for a cannabis prescription in Texas. The standard and most common qualifying conditions that allow patients to be approved for Texas MMJ include the following:
A disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Military veterans have the highest incident rate of PTSD diagnosis, but anyone can develop the condition after experiencing one or more traumatic events.
In January 2023, an estimated 52,000 patients in Texas were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, they may qualify for a medical cannabis prescription.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Affecting the brain and the spinal cord, a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis may make you or your loved one eligible for a medicinal cannabis prescription in Texas.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
There are three stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; early, middle, and late. Patients can apply for a medical cannabis prescription if diagnosed with ALS.
All types of cancer diagnoses meet the eligibility requirements for a medical marijuana prescription in Texas. The most common types of cancer in Texas are breast, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers. There are approximately 1,300 new cases of pediatric cancer in Texas annually.
Epilepsy was the first qualifying health condition that allowed patients to receive clinical-grade CBD (cannabidiol) treatment in Texas. Intractable epilepsy may also qualify a patient for a medical cannabis prescription.
Many Seizure Disorders
Epilepsy is not the only qualifying type of seizure disorder that may allow a patient to get a medicinal cannabis prescription in Texas. Other seizures include absence, tonic, atonic, clonic, myoclonic, and tonic-clonic.
Autism & Other Spectrum Disorders
Asperger’s syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Kanner’s syndrome,e, and pervasive development disorder may qualify as alternate spectrum disorders, according to the medicinal cannabis laws in Texas.
This disorder is caused by damage to the brain and spinal cord, and control of muscle and stretch reflexes can be compromised. Spasticity can be caused by an imbalance in signals for inhibitory or excitatory functions sent to the muscles, resulting in a locking up of muscle groups.
What Qualifying Health Conditions Are Not Applicable in Texas?
Efforts continue to expand the medical marijuana program in Texas to include additional common qualifying health conditions. Chronic pain is one of the QHCs that is not accepted in Texas. Other mental health conditions, like anxiety or depression, are not currently accepted for medical cannabis prescriptions in Texas.
How Do You Apply for a Medical Marijuana Prescription in Texas?
Applying for a medical marijuana prescription in Texas is not difficult. But there are a few steps involved. DocMJ provides resources on our website to guide patients considering getting a Texas MMJ prescription.
Here are the steps involved in applying for the legal use of medical marijuana in Texas:
1. Confirm You Have a Qualifying Diagnosis
Check the list of qualifying medical conditions to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements. You must have a formal diagnosis by a primary care provider to apply for a medical cannabis prescription.
2. Schedule an Appointment With a Licensed Medical Marijuana Doctor
Not all doctors have the experience to prescribe medical marijuana in Texas. Find a provider specializing in medical marijuana health evaluations, and schedule an appointment. DocMJ provides a discounted fee for American military veterans in Texas.
3. Provide Documentation and Your Medical History
If you have been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, you must show proof of that diagnosis from your primary care provider. Requesting a copy or a letter from your provider is usually free.
4. Attend Your Appointment and Talk to the Doctor
Telemedicine appointments for medical cannabis are provided in Texas. That means you can complete your health evaluation and review at home without driving to a clinic or Doctor’s office. You will need a smartphone, laptop, or tablet to complete the video conference with a qualified medical practitioner from DocMJ.
What Happens After Your Prescription is Approved?
If you are approved for a medical marijuana prescription, the Texas marijuana doctor will enter your details and recommended dose and quantity into the Compassionate Use Registry (CURT). Once your information is updated, you can choose a dispensary, order your medicinal marijuana, pick it up, or deliver it to your home.
Texas is one of the states that does not issue a medical marijuana cards. However, DocMJ provides a printable version that contains all the information you need to visit a local dispensary.
How Do You Renew Your Medical Marijuana Prescription?
Your Texas medical marijuana prescription is valid for one year after you have been added to the Compassionate Use Registry (CURT). DocMJ patients receive reminder notifications when it is time to schedule an appointment with their Texas marijuana doctor.
I am a Chief Marketing Officer at DocMJ, a leading provider of medical cannabis health services to qualified patients. I have over 20 years of experience in healthcare marketing and communications, with a proven track record of delivering impactful and compliant campaigns that educate, inform, and empower patients to make better choices for their health and wellness.