Everybody is talking about it. We hear about it on the news, in the newspapers and on the web. But what do you really know about how Ohio is rolling out the legalization of medical marijuana? I recently attended a conference presented by Leading Age Ohio, an advocate of not-for-profit services for older Ohioans, to learn more and below are the six things you should know before medical marijuana becomes legal in Ohio.
- When does medical marijuana become legal in the state of Ohio?
Medical marijuana was scheduled to become legal in Ohio on September 8, 2018. However, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce, it has been delayed due to the availability of plants by licensed growers.
- How is medical marijuana prescribed?
Physicians with a MD (Medical Doctor) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic medicine) are able to recommend medical marijuana. Because marijuana is a controlled substance at the federal level, it is considered to have high abuse potential with no medical use and many safety concerns. Therefore, it cannot be prescribed. A physician who wants to recommend it will need to receive a certificate to recommend from the state of Ohio. As of the beginning of May, forty physicians in the state of Ohio had applied and received a certificate to recommend.
- What medical conditions do I need to have in order to have medical marijuana recommended to me?
Qualifying medical conditions for which medical marijuana can be recommended include:
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV+ status
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
Chronic and severe/intractable pain
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Sickle cell anemia
Spinal cord disease/injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- How long is a recommendation for medical marijuana good for?
Treatment recommendations are valid for a period of not more than 90 days, but can be renewed for three additional periods of not more than 90 days each. At that time, the physician can issue another recommendation, but only upon a physical examination of the patient.
- What is the process for seeking a medical marijuana recommendation?
For a patient to obtain a recommendation for medical marijuana, they must 1) establish and maintain a physician-patient relationship with a physician who has a certificate to recommend, 2) receive a diagnosis of a qualifying medical condition as listed in number 3, 3) consent to medical marijuana treatment, 4) submit a $50 annual registration fee to the Board of Pharmacy, and 5) the physician submits the patient registration paperwork for approval.
- How is medical marijuana dispensed?
Once a recommendation is approved, the patient presents it to a dispensary where employees help choose the best form and route of administration. Legal forms include oils, tinctures, plant material, edibles and patches. Legal routes include oral, sublingual (under the tongue), topical and vaporization (vaping). Note that smoking/combustion is prohibited.
As you can see, rules for medical marijuana are complex and it is likely that there will be many kinks to work out once it is legal. Stacy hosted educational sessions across all Judson campuses where she was able to go over the history, safety, physiology and research about marijuana and its use as a medicine.