The blossoming medicinal cannabis market gets a boost from Texas lawmakers. Texas is one step closer to joining the 34 states where medicinal marijuana is legal after state legislators passed a law written by North Texas Republican representative and registered nurse Stephanie Klick to expand the conditions that can be treated with medicinal cannabis. Although the law narrowly defines which conditions can be treated with medicinal marijuana, it is a significant expansion. Five years ago, Klick authored the first Compassionate Use Act, which said that medicinal marijuana administered via oil or inhaler could treat only those with intractable epilepsy. The new bill expands access to patients with terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, autism, and other seizure disorders, allowing them to be treated with THC, the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana. The expanded diagnoses could mean an uptick for the small but growing cohort of growers, providers, and retail businesses in the THC and CBD markets. Morris Denton is the CEO of Austin-based Compassionate Cultivation, one of just three state-licensed companies that grow cannabis, and he says the new law will have a major impact on the number of patients covered and the physicians who treat them. He estimates there are around 150,000 patients with intractable epilepsy in the state, but the new bill could expand the THC patient base to more than a million. “It will give doctors and patients more in the playbook,” Denton says. “They want to be able to have as many different options as they can.” Compassionate Cultivation is a manufacturer of THC and CBD products that grows the plants, processes the chemicals, packages, and distributes the medicines and oils from their facility. It was the first dispensary in Texas to provide medical cannabis to a patient under the newly expanded conditions—an Austin woman being treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—and legislation is paving the way for their growth. A Natural Alternative Dallas physician Dr. Mary Caire’s understanding of medicine and the use of nonpharmaceutical medicines has changed with the times. After a double residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation and internal medicine, she grew her practice to include functional medicine, seeing the importance of diet, hormones, and other natural substances to better treat chronic conditions. Caire practices with LifeSpan, a preventive, integrative medicine practice in Dallas, and has seen the impacts of medicinal THC on her patients. A woman with lymphoma who was receiving aggressive chemotherapy was having difficulty staying hydrated and getting proper nutrition while undergoing treatment because of the nausea caused by the chemotherapy. She was also experiencing pain and fatigue. “She got everything traditional medicine had to offer and it failed,” Caire says.