A new survey out of Texas reveals that, according to the data they gathered, 61 percent of the state’s medical cannabis users turn to medical cannabis as a replacement for prescription drugs.
The survey, which comes from InformedTexas.org and was carried out by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy in conjunction with Texas NORML, revealed that over 60 percent of patients who admitted to using medical cannabis also reported that they used it to replace prescriptions meds that they preferred not to take.
The survey looked at a sample size of 2,900 people and asked them about their medical cannabis use. Sixty-one percent of those who answered claimed they “replaced” drugs like opioids or benzodiazepines with medical cannabis. This is similar to the information found in several similar studies, but noteworthy due to how recently the survey was conducted and the amount of people reached.
“With the passage of the Compassionate Use Act in 2015, the state of Texas officially recognized that cannabis is medicine,” background info on the survey explains. “Still, the vast majority of Texas patients are excluded from participating in the Compassionate Use Program (CUP) due to restrictions in the state’s law. Our recent survey of 2,866 Texas residents who use medical cannabis sought to gain insight into the needs and experiences of this population. The survey was conducted online between August 11, 2020, and October 6, 2020, and recruited participants through medical cannabis patient networks. Twenty-two percent of respondents were military veterans.”
Of those surveyed, most respondents claim that they use cannabis to help with pain management. Over half of the veterans surveyed reported that they also use cannabis to help with PTSD symptoms. Four in ten of those surveyed claimed that cannabis “has improved their quality of life.” These findings are consistent with what many advocates who suffer from chronic pain or PTSD regularly express.
The History of Cannabis in Texas
The survey also gave some interesting background on the state of Texas and its relationship to cannabis. El Paso, according to the study, was the first city in the US to criminalize cannabis. The city council voted to outlaw cannabis on June 14, 1915, claiming that it was a deadly drug. This followed unsupported claims that cannabis was responsible for stabbings in Mexico, a rumor that helped spur on the racist war on drugs. By 1937, the entire country had followed in El Paso’s footsteps, and cannabis was officially outlawed and criminalized.
So now, it is a mark of progress that the state of Texas, while not leading the charge when it comes to legalization, is attempting to slowly roll back prohibition.
“The illegality of medical cannabis in Texas is an obstacle to understanding the motivations and impacts of medicinal use,” the survey explains. “To address this gap in knowledge, co-author Viridiana Edwards designed a survey to ask Texans about their medical cannabis use. This report provides a description and analysis of the survey findings and recommendations for how lawmakers can improve cannabis policy to better address the needs of state residents.”