Ohio passed medical cannabis laws in 2016. The measure joined the state's previous legislative actions, namely the municipal decriminalization of marijuana in several parts of Ohio.
After passing the bill in 2016, the first state-licensed dispensary came online in 2019. Since then, additional stores have continued to open and serve the state's growing number of patients.
Ohio continues to consider and pass program reforms as of late. For example, they've recently added pain to the list of qualifying conditions. In doing so, a growing number of Ohio citizens now find themselves eligible to participate in the program.
In addition to expanding the medical program, many activists continue to push for adult use legalization in Ohio. The latest efforts appear to have been thwarted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Do I Become a Medical Cannabis Patient in Ohio/Pennsylvania?
Becoming a medical marijuana patient in Ohio is actually a very simple process. It's a simple, three-step process:
1) See an Ohio medical marijuana physician who is certified to recommend medical marijuana. You can see your physician remotely during the COVID-19 emergency. All physicians working with NuggMD are fully-licensed by the state and certified by the state to recommend marijuana. Once the physician confirms that you have a qualifying medical condition, he or she will enter your information into the Ohio Patient and Caregiver Registry.
2) Fill out your registry application. Once the Ohio Patient and Caregiver Registry receives your recommendation, they will send you an email walking you through the rest of the registration process. You'll be required to pay a $50 fee once your registration is filled out. Indigent and veteran patients can have their fee reduced by 50% with a special application to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.
3) Print out your card. You don't have to wait for your card to arrive in the mail. You will get a notification from the State Board of Pharmacy that your card is ready to be printed out. Then, all you have to do is log into your account and download it. If you don't have a printer, you can also download your Ohio Patient & Caregiver Registry card to your phone to show it at the dispensary.
Once you've downloaded your card, you're an official Ohio medical marijuana patient. Don't attempt to use cannabis before you're approved for your card. Recreational marijuana use is still a serious crime in Ohio.
Qualifying for Ohio's medical cannabis program requires meeting five pieces of criteria: They are as followed:
It’s not always easy to find a physician willing to discuss medical cannabis as an option. You must find a qualified doctor for your medical marijuana recommendation. Fortunately, there are options if your family medical professional won’t discuss the issue.
NuggMD works with state-licensed medical marijuana doctors in Ohio who perform honest evaluations of your condition, helping you decide if cannabis is worth trying.
It’s helpful, though not required, to have your medical files on-hand for your medical evaluation. Having your records prior to or during your visit is essential. Doing so ensures that you receive an adequate and thorough assessment, as well as a possible recommendation for your condition. Consider gathering the following documents, and possibly others as well:
If you lament the thought of being in the doctor’s office, or you simply don’t have the time in your day, you can have your medical cannabis evaluation conducted online. Visit getnugg.com/md/Ohio. From there, relax while your assessment is performed from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
It's easy to see a doctor with NuggMD
1) Make a new account for yourself at NuggMD.com
2) Enter your information, providing as much detail as possible
3) Upload your medical records
4) Make sure you list all your current medications
5) Enter your payment information and relax in the virtual waiting room
6) Your doctor will meet with you virtually as soon as they've had a chance to review your information.
What to Expect When Talking to the Doctor
Your NuggMD doctor will want to know all of your current medications. It's also very important to upload your medical records so they have as much information as they need regarding your medical history.
Your doctor may need to see additional medical records to approve medical marijuana use, so you should be prepared to transfer additional information as needed.
It might be a good idea to write down your questions while you're waiting in the virtual waiting room. NuggMD's doctors are more than happy to take time to educate you about the potential benefits and pitfalls of cannabis treatment.
Applying for a medical marijuana card in Ohio is a three-step process that follows many similar states.
The first portion of the process requires seeing a certified physician. The state requires at least one in-person visit per year, with the patient providing valid identification in the form of a driver's license, state ID card or a federal passport. If the physician believes medical cannabis could help the patient, they will create a profile for the patient in the state’s registry for patients and caregivers.
From there, the patient must register through the state’s patient registry. A $50 patient fee is required. However, applicants can receive reduced costs if they qualify for either indigent or veteran status.
Once registered, a patient can visit a licensed dispensary to buy their medicine.
Ohio allows most forms of cannabis consumption, including flower. When you talk to your doctor, you may want to ask which method is best for your particular condition. This is because the effects of inhaled vs. edible vs. topical cannabis are drastically different.
When using cannabis, people tend to feel uplifted and more relaxed. Different strains have different effects, but for the most part, the most common effects are:
There are also times when patients experience a "bad trip," depending on dosage. The effects of marijuana can be exactly the opposite of what is sought if a patient takes too much. This can include paranoia, nausea, vomiting and even psychosis, although this is rare. That's why it's extremely important to start low and go slow.
Some recommend doses as high as 10mg for first time edible users, but a surprisingly large portion of the population feel strong effects at doses as low as 2.5mg, and for some, 10mg is way too much.
Onset of effects can be extremely varied as well, even with the same person and product, depending on what the patient is eating. It can take between 30 minutes and 3 hours to feel the first effects of an edible, and sometimes even longer.
It's a good idea to stay with an understanding "babysitter" the first few times you try cannabis. It's even better if your babysitter is a cannabis patient too, since they know what to expect. Some patients take far too much and have such a bad experience the first time that they never get a chance to experience any relief.
Other patients will barely feel the effects at large doses, and there is no way to tell which way a patient will be until they start treatment. So, it's important to be patient with dosing and to work with your doctor to adjust this as necessary.
If your dose is too high, it's important to remember that there's nothing to be embarrassed about. This happens to patients all the time when they first start using cannabis because everyone metabolizes it differently.
You should contact your medical marijuana doctor to let them know your dose is too high and ask for guidance on adjusting your dosage.
While no one has died from a cannabis overdose, cannabis hyperemesis syndrome is becoming more common. Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome can be deadly if left untreated.
If you experience severe vomiting that can't be easily relieved, it's important to call your doctor right away. Severe vomiting can cause dehydration and even metabolic emergencies that can lead to death.
It is widely suspected that the rise in cannabis hyperemesis syndrome is due to the rise in extremely high THC products. While the cause of the condition is unknown, it's suspected to be the result of over stimulation of CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CHS tends to occur in three stages:
Prodromal - this mild stage involves only mild nausea and stomach pain. Sometimes patients will increase their dosage to treat their nausea, but this creates a vicious cycle that makes the condition worse over time.
Hyperemesis - This stage begins when the patient begins to vomit without relief. Malnourishment and dehydration are common and it's vital to seek help at this point.
Recovery - Recovery can be very rapid if the patient completely quits using cannabis. It can sometimes take months to recover fully if the condition was severe.
Using cannabis again usually results in a return of symptoms, so it's likely that your doctor will be recommending a different course of treatment if you're susceptible to CHS.
Need Help? NuggMD’s Here for You
NuggMD's customer service team loves to help customers navigate the sometimes confusing medical marijuana system. They answer hundreds of questions a day from what type of documents are needed to where to find state and local information.
They've helped more than 600,000 patients meet their new doctor and find relief through cannabis since 2016. They only work with licensed doctors who have all certifications required by their respective state.
NuggMD serves patients in California, Nevada, Missouri, Oklahoma, New York and Ohio.
How do I register as a patient in the Ohio medical cannabis program?
Applicants must have an evaluation conducted by a state-certified physician. They will be tasked with confirming if you have a condition that qualifies for medical marijuana treatment. If the physician deems cannabis a possible treatment option, they will create your profile in the Ohio Patient & Caregiver Registry.
Can a minor register with the program?
Yes, minors can register with the program with the approval of their parent or legal guardian.
How can I find a state-approved physician to perform an evaluation?
NuggMD is now serving patients in Ohio. Just click on this link to start your online evaluation.
Are there any opportunities to apply for veteran or indigent status?
Yes, patients and caregivers can apply for either indigent or veteran registration fee reductions. Keep in mind that the patient must be approved for either status to receive registration discounts. A caregiver will not receive a reduced fee if the patient they provide care for does not qualify for either status.
Those that qualify are recommended not to submit any payments when registering. Instead, they are advised to withhold any payments until the state Board of Pharmacy determines their status.
Will I be refunded if I submit payment and then have my status approved?
No, the board will not issue any refunds for payments submitted before the status determination.
I received my registration email. How long is the link valid?
What if I can’t find my email or didn’t receive one?
Call the state Medical Marijuana Control Program at 1-833-464-6627. They can also be reached via email at MMCPRegistry@pharmacy.ohio.gov. Provide your full name, date of birth and preferred email address for your Registry profile. A new registration link should be sent to you soon after.
How long is my ID valid?
Cards typically last one year, expiring on the last day of the month registered. Terminally ill patients receive cards that last six months.
What types of cannabis products can I buy?
Patients and caregivers can buy tinctures, oils, dry flower, edibles and patches. Medical cannabis cannot be smoked under state law. The state Board of Pharmacy is permitted to approve additional consumption types as needed.
Can I grow my own medical marijuana for personal use?
No, the state does not allow home cultivation of cannabis. Patients must obtain their medicine from state-approved vendors.
Does Ohio have reciprocity laws?
The law does require Ohio's Board of Pharmacy to make efforts to negotiate and reach reciprocity agreements with other states. To do so, the state must determine the other party's laws are comparable to Ohio's, as well as having the second stand recognize the ID issued to the Ohio citizen.
That said, no states have been added to the list at this time.
Does Ohio recognize licenses issued by other states?
Similarly so, the state does not have any agreements in place, meaning no out of state patients can legally obtain cannabis in Ohio at this time. Lawmakers are required to reach those such agreements, but nothing has come to fruition as of June 2020.