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Texas senator denounces medical marijuana anecdotal evidence

A Texas senator, who also is a physician, says she needs more than anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana works.

Senator Donna Campbell, a board certified emergency room physician who lives in New Braunfels and represents Senate District 25, a six county district which includes parts of San Antonio and Austin, has struck a nerve with those in the medical cannabis community for the second time this year.

Texas Senator Donna Campbell
Texas Senator Donna Campbell

Previously during a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee meeting earlier in March, retired Army veteran Arthur Mayer brought up the subject of medical cannabis for veterans during his testimony. As he began to speak about the issue, Sen. Campbell quickly tapped her pen on the desk, stating that the legislature had already passed medical marijuana.

Mayer noted that the bill in question was a CBD bill, not whole plant cannabis, and that only those with extreme forms of epilepsy can qualify as patients. He added that military veterans would not be able to benefit from this medical program. The senator quickly told Mayer that it was a subject for another time.

This prompted Matt Gower, a retired Combat Engineer in the Texas Army National Guard, to reach out to the senator to express his disappointment with how she responded to Mayer’s testimony.

He received a response back, with the senator stating “I am skeptical as a physician and have not seen scientific evidence proving long-term benefits.”

An exchange ensued between both Gower and Campbell, with Gower providing a number of sources including the NORML Legislator’s Educational Packet, Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids, as well as information on Alexis Bortell, a 10-year-old girl who had to leave the state to receive treatment for her severe seizure activity in Colorado.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

Since beginning treatment with cannabis extracts, including both THC and CBD, Bortell has not had any seizures in over a year now. Down from the 20 or so seizures she was having each day.

Campbell responded to this information by saying “Thanks for forwarding these posts, but I am looking for far more than anectdotal evidence. Heck, I could write a book on all the anectdotal remedies I’ve heard people swear worked when they came into the ER, even though they were often masking the symptoms of a serious disease or creating their own seperate and harmful side effects. Like I said, your work is cut out in convincing me and it’s going to take overwhelming scientific data, but I appreciate your continued feedback.”

This response comes on the heels of recent results from FDA-approved clinical trials at children’s hospitals in Texas which showed that CBD oil is effective at helping to reduce seizure activity. Outside of the state, many, including Bortell, also need THC to be included in the treatment in order for it to be effective.

The Journal of Neural Transmission has published a study which shows that THC may enhance the effectiveness of other compounds when treating seizure activity.

A recent poll by TEGNA Media, which owns a wide-ranging portfolio of media outlets and reaches one-third of all television households nationwide, found that 71 percent of Texans are in favor of medical marijuana.

A WebMD/Medscap survey of 1,544 doctors showed that a majority are in support of medical marijuana.

Stay up to date with the latest cannabis news from a Texas perspective by following the Texas Cannabis Report social media pages.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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  1. March 30, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Good post.
    Election in November.
    Name n shame the prohibs.
    Post n promote the reformers.
    Let the people decide.

  2. March 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    What a disgusting individual…using the pathetic line of ‘I’m a doctor so I know more than you…’
    She is causing intentional harm to Texans who are truly in medical need and not just more pharmaceutical poison drug dealings.
    I’m sure she won’t be around much longer.
    Its the majority thoughts coming from The Baby Boomers’ whom cant accept that their time in control is just about over and this is apparent in her actions trying to keep her dated rhetoric relevant. #Errba for Texans. Blessings

  3. Liberty Greens
    March 31, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Anyone, doctor or not, can comprehend that it is morally wrong to punish people simply for using cannabis. There is already ample “evidence” that doing so is a familiar and ancient evil, it has a name, its called oppression. Scientific evidence may have some relevance to medical cannabis–proving efficacy and safety–however it has almost no bearing on the moral issue of jailing people for peaceful, harmless (or minimally potentially self-harmful) activities.
    The evidence to logically conclude that cannabis should be legal is already in. No need to wait for more, no need to scour obscure research findings from Europe, no need to do little scientific searchings for more research, more research, more research. Please!
    What a waste of resources! End stupid drug prohibition, shift law enforcement resources to real crimes! I’ve had my identity stolen and credit cards defrauded, law enforcement didn’t catch anyone in those crimes. Millions of violent crimes and thefts go unsolved. Let the police do important jobs instead of having to harass peaceful citizens who choose to temporarily alter their consciousness with a substance safer than alcohol!
    Just because you’re a doctor doesn’t mean you have to be limited to medical evidence and medical cannabis considerations. You are also free to use your mind to think through the horrific subjugation and oppression that is the failed and useless drug war, transcend narrow medical concerns, and realize it should simply be as legal as alcohol.