Medical marijuana "legal" in September, but Ohio doctors won't likely be certified to recommend it

Posted at 6:11 PM, Jun 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-30 18:11:05-04

Nearly a month after Gov. John Kasich signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana in the state of Ohio, the Ohio State Medical Association tells that physicians are far from completing the certification process to be able to recommend it to patients. 

Ohio patients will legally be able to use medical marijuana on Sept. 8 but they won’t be able to buy it in Ohio and it’s unclear how exactly they will obtain it. 

Dr. Brian Bachelder, President of the Ohio State Medical Association, told that Ohio physicians are awaiting instructions from the State Medical Marijuana Use Board. 

He said there will be a certification process that doctors will have the option of taking part in. 

While many doctors have expressed interest, he said some physicians and even medical systems in the state are considering whether or not to participate at all. 

“There are some medical systems that do not believe that medical marijuana is the best thing until we have more evidence from clinical research trials,” he explained. “The choice is up to the physician.” 

Bachelder explained that legal doctors won’t be “prescribing” vaporizers, edibles and oils made legal by the law. 

Instead a certified physician will be asked to “recommend” use according to a list of conditions specified in the legislation, which include epilepsy, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.  

“There’s that hesitation because we don’t know what the rules are,” Bachelder explained. 

Meanwhile the Ohio Patients Network has already started on the long road towards educating potential patients and medical professionals about the new law. 

Executive Director Robert Ryan told that education will be crucial to the success implementation of the law. 

“It will be slow at start but I think that it will progress,” he said. “I really have no doubts about that.” 

The group is planning a series of entry and advanced level seminars for patients and the medical community. 

They have also started passing out a flyer titled “How to talk to your doctor about a Medical Marijuana Recommendation” for tips on how to have a successful discussion. 

That list includes the following: 

  • 1)  Gather up and organize all your medical records, including your current medications.
  • 2)  Keep a master copy of your medical records, and always get a copy of any paperwork you sign.
  • 3)  Gather credible information about your condition and the use of cannabis (AKA marijuana).
  • 4)  Establish or have an ongoing relationship with a local doctor.
  • 5)  Provide them with your records (if a new doctor).
  • 6)  Leave your fear at home, your talk with your doctor is private.
  • 7)  Be open and honest in your discussion.
  • 8)  Discuss the benefits that cannabis has for your condition.
  • 9)  Consider including your current methods of use (inhalation, sublingual, topical, ingestion etc.).
  • 10)  Then bring up asking for a medical marijuana recommendation.

Bachelder said the full network of recommending and buying medical marijuana in Ohio is likely a year and a half away. He expected the process to be fully up and running by early 2018.