Ohio Medical Cannabis Patients Rejoice As Edibles Will Soon Be Available

Ohio Medical Cannabis Patients Rejoice As Edibles Will Soon Be Available

The first medical cannabis product manufacturing license was just awarded in Ohio, giving patients in the program a reason to celebrate.

Located in East Fultonham in Muskingum County, Grow Ohio is officially the first producer to be awarded a license to manufacture popular cannabis products like edibles, tinctures, transdermal patches, and topical salves, creams, or lotions in the Buckeye State.

“It’ll open up the choices patients have available to them and they can purchase their medical marijuana to treat their condition,” said Executive Vice President of Grow Ohio Justin Hunt. “We hired the right people, we have the right formulas and we are just excited to make a broader market available that have registered in Ohio.”

Grow Ohio manufactures its products in a 60,000 square-foot-building near Zanesville, which is just about 55 miles east of Columbus. In the same facility, a 25,000 square foot space is dedicated to cultivating cannabis plants. Grow Ohio received approval to grow the plants in September of last year.

While the medical cannabis retail program has been active in Ohio since January of this year, the only product available for purchase so far has been dried cannabis flower.

The first day that Ohio medical cannabis patients were granted safe, reliable access to lab-tested medication via dispensaries, they collectively spent more than $75,0000 on nearly nine pounds of flower. Only four retail locations were open for business on the first day that sales began.

Approximately 5,500 patients have purchased medical cannabis from a dispensary since the first day of legal retail sales began on January 16, 2019.

According to Grow Ohio representative Josh Febus, the first products the company plans to produce are syringes filled with edibles cannabis oil, flavored gummies, and tinctures. They expect to introduce cannabis oil capsules and topical creams to the market by May of this year.

One Form Is Not Enough

It is unfortunate, for many patients in Ohio, that the only product available to purchase from a dispensary is dried flower because it remains illegal to smoke or combust plant material in the state. Ohio medical cannabis patients are however permitted to vaporize dried cannabis flower, according to state law, but that is not an ideal method of administration for all patients.

Those who need to ingest their cannabis medication have to take an extra step before they can medicate. A patient would have to use the dried flower material that they buy from the dispensary to make cannabutter or a tincture at home. Since both of these processes take a good chunk of time to make at home, it is a lot of extra work for someone who just wants to medicate quickly for immediate symptom relief. For some patients suffering from severely debilitating conditions, that extra step may be impossible.

Growing at home remains illegal for Ohio medical cannabis patients.

Future Processing Licenses

There are 37 more manufacturing businesses waiting in the state that have already been issued provisional licenses. Once final approval is secured, each will receive a certificate of operation to be able to begin manufacturing cannabis products, according to Kerry Francis of the Ohio Commerce Department. A total of up to 40 processors may be licensed in the state of Ohio.

Ohio Medical Cannabis Program Update

The following are the statistics for the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program as of March 7, 2019:

  • 19,395 Patients with verified recommendations have registered for the program.
  • 973 Caregivers have registered for the program.
  • 413 Physicians are certified to recommend medical cannabis to qualified patients.
  • 9 Dispensaries are open for business.
  • 1 Processor has received approval to begin manufacturing products.
  • 3 Lab testing facilities have received approval to test products.

How to Get Medical Cannabis in Ohio

A qualified patient must follow three main steps to obtain medical cannabis in Ohio.

  1. Receive a recommendation for medical cannabis from a state-licensed physician.
  2. Pay the registration fee to get an official patient card.
  3. Find a dispensary and make a purchase.

Do you need to apply for a medical cannabis patient registration card in the Buckeye State? Click here to learn how to apply for a medical marijuana card in Ohio.

Which Conditions Qualify for Medical Cannabis in Ohio?

Currently, 22 conditions qualify for medical cannabis in Ohio:

AIDS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Alzheimer’s disease

Cancer

Chronic Pain

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy

Crohn’s disease

Epilepsy or another seizure disorder

Fibromyalgia

Glaucoma

Hepatitis C

Inflammatory bowel disease

Intractable Pain

Multiple sclerosis

Parkinson’s disease

Positive status for HIV

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Sickle cell anemia

Spinal cord disease or injury

Tourette’s syndrome

Traumatic brain injury

Ulcerative colitis

California Medical Marijuana Products Fail Lab Tests

California Medical Marijuana Products Fail Lab Tests

Emmy award winning journalist, Mike Sugerman, is a registered medical marijuana patient in the state of California. Recently, while suffering from a bacterial infection in his aorta, he was medicating with cannabis, and realized he did not know exactly what was in the medicine he was smoking and eating. He decided to purchase $600 in cannabis flowers, concentrates and edibles for a CBS San Francisco report to have them lab tested in order to satisfy this curiosity. Unfortunately for the medical marijuana world in California, the findings were not good.

The Federal Drug Administration is not permitted to regulate the cannabis industry because the plant is still classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which means it is considered to have no recognized medical use in the United States. It cannot be government regulated until it is re-classified or unclassified all-together. As of October 2014, all cannabis sold at dispensaries in Colorado must be lab tested, but California has no such regulation.

Sugerman realized through ingesting cannabis edibles that the effects produced were inconsistent. Sometimes he would not feel any relief from eating a certain amount of marijuana edibles, while another day eating the exact same amount would cause him to feel overly medicated. The same amount did not result in the same effect.

The investigation included products purchased at 12 different dispensaries throughout San Francisco and Oakland. This $600 worth of medical marijuana buds, edibles, and shatter wax were taken to Steep Hill Labs in Oakland for thorough testing.

An Edipure brand edible scored the worst during testing. According to the label, this particular item contained 100 milligrams, but when lab tested, it only contained 1.3. That is off by 98.7 percent. Chief research officer at Steep Hill, Dr. Kymron Decesare, told Sugerman that they tested this particular item multiple times because of the extreme misrepresentation. Other tested edibles were off by 25 and 50 percent. Steep Hill Labs also concluded that gummy bears and lozenges sold in the same package were not consistently dosed because the measure milligrams varied from piece to piece.

The cannabis flowers that were tested also produced worrisome results for medical marijuana smokers in California. Both mold and pesticides were abundant, and over 40 percent of the flowers tested would not be sold under Colorado regulations. Molds like aspergillums and penicillin contain deadly toxins that could result in death.

The cannabis shatter, a concentrated form that is used for dabs, also tested poorly. Steep Hill found that 15 percent of this product contained benzene. Benzene is a hydrocarbon component of gasoline that is not approved for human consumption.

Unfortunately, this means that medical marijuana patients in California, specifically in San Francisco and Oakland, may not know what they are purchasing. A lab testing fail of this magnitude will hopefully spawn regulation reform in the state of California in the very near future.


photo credit: Dank Depot

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