The Ohio State Medical Board recently added 46 more doctors to the approved medical marijuana program list.
It seems the physicians are being put in place more quickly than any other aspect of Ohio’s medical marijuana program.
It will be several more months before any dispensaries open. A registry where patients can sign up for the medical marijuana program is still not in place yet either.
However, local media Cleveland.com offer a database where aspiring patients can find a local participating doctor to consult with, regarding joining the program. However, it is better for aspiring patients to see if their current doctor is a participant, rather than attempt to pick a new doctor out of a database, just for certification.
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When recommending cannabis for their patients, participating doctors must certify they have an actual, authentic doctor/patient relationship. They must also attest that the patient has a legitimate, qualifying condition. Doctors are required to look up the patient in the state’s controlled substances database to review their history with narcotics, to reconcile any potential red flags of substance abuse.
Substance use disorder (opioid or heroin addiction) is not a qualifying condition. Medical Marijuana cannot be prescribed to treat withdrawal symptoms, or help provide harm reduction to patients seeking to transition away from narcotics.
Doctors are also required to discuss the positive and negative aspects of marijuana use with their interested patients; however, it is debatable whether they are in a qualified position to accurately do so.
It is quite easy for any doctor in Ohio to become a certified medical marijuana provider. Doctors must complete only two hours of continuing education credits regarding cannabis, and which medical conditions qualify to receive it.
Perfunctory knowledge of cannabis strains is outside the scope of the total training necessary for certification.
A self-medicating marijuana user based in Ohio, who wished to remain anonymous, candidly told Fresh Toast that he and many others who share his views are not interested in Ohio’s budding medical marijuana program.
“It is pretty easy to get marijuana now, so you will never get me to go the legal route. I won’t pay a higher price in the store. The new medical marijuana laws that still haven’t affected me as a patient or a user. I use cannabis because I have anxiety, which isn’t even a qualifying condition.
“There is a category of people who use it, and don’t know why it is helping them; it just does. Some people use it recreationally, but know it helps them for undiagnosed, underlying conditions. They know herb makes them feel better, and they’re never going to go to a doctor to get it. Is a doctor even going to know the difference between an Indica and a Sativa?”
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He went on to say that his compatriots do not trust the state’s medical marijuana program. “I don’t need to have a card, or to be put on a watch list, to use marijuana. I’ve heard rumors that, once you go on their [medical marijuana program] list, you can’t ever qualify for a loan or join the army,” he said.
By his estimation, perhaps only 18 percent of cannabis users obtain it from a doctor.
John Erminio, Cleveland native and co-founder of Artisans on Fire, a cannabis-focused marketing agency, thinks it is critical for future patients to know that products purchased on the regulated market are tested for quality and safety. “The price points will certainly be higher, but you’re purchasing a higher quality product that goes through a stringent testing program and eliminates the chances of consuming any harmful matters such as yeast, mold, heavy metals or pesticides,” he said.
The medical marijuana doctors’ database is updated monthly, after the state medical board approves new physicians, according to Cleveland.com. The recent approval of 46 physicians brings the current total to 185 doctors approved since April.