A 6-year-old girl in Central Texas made history Thursday by becoming the first patient in the state to get marijuana-derived medicine legally to treat her epileptic seizures.
Knox Medical, one of three companies licensed by the state to dispense cannabidiol in Texas, announced delivery of the cannabidiol in a news release. The child’s name and city weren’t released to protect her privacy.
“For Texans suffering from intractable epilepsy, the wait for medical cannabis is finally over,” said José Hidalgo, founder and CEO of Knox Medical, registered with the state as Cansortium Texas. “This is a historic day for Texas and we will work tirelessly to uphold the trust and responsibility the state has placed in Knox Medical.”
The state legalized the so-called Compassionate Use Program almost three years ago, but dispensaries are just now coming online and making cannabidiol, or CBD oil, available to the estimated 150,000 patients who qualify.
A second company, Compassionate Cultivation located in the Austin area, recently announced plans to open its dispensary on Feb. 8.
While the program is a major step for the state, Texas has one of the most restrictive medicinal marijuana programs in the nation, allowing only cannabidiol with low levels of THC, the component that gives pot users a high.
Patients qualify if they suffer uncontrollable epileptic seizures they haven’t been able to treat with traditional medicines.
Efforts in the last legislative session to expand use of the medicine to patients with other debilitating medical conditions failed, though a similar push is expected next year.
Knox Medical, based in Schulenburg, about 100 miles west of San Antonio on Interstate 10, was the first to get licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The company doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar dispensary and only delivers medicine to customers across the state by vehicle.
Patients have been eager to get prescriptions, but have worried about the costs, which still remain largely unknown.
Despite initial concerns that doctors might be wary of prescribing the medicine, at least seven physicians have registered with the state to do so.
Critics had said the Texas law authorizing use of the drug put physicians on murky legal ground, because the certified epileptologists and neurologists must prescribe the drug, instead of simply “recommending” it, a phrase other states have used to sidestep federal marijuana prohibitions.