Medical Marijuana in Texas: Dr. Keough Updates on Compassionate Use Program

by ih-chi admin

If you are wondering about the latest updates to Texas' Compassionate Use Program (CUP) for use of medical marijuana, listen up…

Child Neurology Consultants’ Dr. Karen Keough (who also serves as the chief medical officer for Compassionate Cultivation) recently participated on a panel for Texas Public Radio on the expansion of the CUP known as House Bill 3703. The updated bill aims to expand the use of low-THC, CBD oil for medical treatments in a variety of newly proposed conditions.

The original bill covered CBD oil use solely for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. The new bill hopes to help patients suffering from all forms of epilepsy, other seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, terminal cancer, other neurodegenerative diseases, autism and PTSD.  Dr. Keough shares that she is happy to see so many new conditions brought into the Texas Compassionate Use Program, especially the many different forms of epilepsy. In her practice experience, some epilepsy patients respond very well to the addition of CBD oil to their treatment plan.  The initial goal is to improve seizure control, but often additional benefits occur, including better sleep, improved behavior, and decreased muscle spasms and/or discomfort.

Regarding treatment for epilepsy, “it is very successful and very easy to roll out in a supervised way with increasing engagement from physicians,” says Dr. Keough. “It was very fortunate that epilepsy was the first condition included in the Texas Compassionate Use Program, since we had excellent scientific data to help physicians utilize the treatment appropriately.  The newly added conditions have varying levels of scientific data supporting benefit from CBD treatment, making prescription decisions more challenging.  However, we have excellent safety data on low-THC-CBD therapy, and physician guidance for treatment is essential to success.”

Dr. Keough says about 29% of her epilepsy patients respond very well to CBD oil for their seizure management with > 50% reduction, and an additional 27% report improvement that is beneficial but not quite as robust—that includes more than half of the patients treated and shows that a lot of children benefit from a treatment that carries fewer side effects.

Another component of the updated bill addresses dosing guidelines and the amount of THC-CBD ratio allowed in prescriptions.

Dr. Keough says it is important to have an established Compassionate Use Program for patients in Texas to discourage travel elsewhere for treatment or administering treatment themselves from CBD oil products sold over-the-counter or online that are not regulated and could potentially be less beneficial, or even possibly harmful.

The complete interview featuring Dr. Keough on Texas Public Radio is available here.

For questions about CBD oil to treat epilepsy in your child or teenager, please contact Child Neurology Consultants of Austin for an appointment with one of our board-certified pediatric neurologists.