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.
- Receive a recommendation for medical cannabis from a state-licensed physician.
- Pay the registration fee to get an official patient card.
- 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:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
Inflammatory bowel disease
Positive status for HIV
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Sickle cell anemia
Spinal cord disease or injury
Traumatic brain injury
From Melissa Etheridge to Morgan Freeman, medical cannabis treatments have attracted numerous A-list celebrities who aren’t scared to say what they really think about the plant. Another iconic actor to spill the beans about cannabis use is ex-Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart. During a recent interview with Esquire UK, the 76-year-old, who plays Professor Charles Xavier in the 10th installment of the X-men series, admitted to using cannabis in the form of a topical spray.
“Physical things [make me feel old]. You get to an age where you go to the doctor, you tell him how old you are and he just shrugs his shoulders and says: ‘Oh, is that it?’” said Stewart.
“I mean, my main problem is my hands don’t work very well. But thanks to cannabis they work much better than they used to. Thanks to the law in California now, it’s just a spray that I put on.”
Stewart failed to clarify exactly what condition he was attempting to address with cannabis. But based on his preferred medium of consumption (transdermal via topical spray), it would be possible to conclude that he could be suffering from arthritis, localized pain, inflammation or a skin condition.
Consuming cannabis in this manner, with the exception of transdermal patches, won’t get you high – even if the spray contains THC (the cannabinoid in the plant that is responsible for intense, cerebral effects). This is because such delivery methods only reach CB2 receptors floating around the body; and cannabinoids do not penetrate deep enough to reach the bloodstream. However, this does not mean they are ineffective. An advantage of using cannabis spray is its ability to provide instant relief for the patient.
Stewart does most of his acting in the US, where he regularly makes voice-over cameos in movies and television shows, including Ted 2 (narrator) and Family Guy. Originally, the actor is based in the UK, where medical cannabis is illegal – at least for now. Earlier this year, the country’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced a game-changing decision to reclassify CBD as a medicinal ingredient.
“The change really came about with us offering an opinion that CBD is in fact a medicine, and that opinion was based on the fact that we noted that people were making some quite stark claims about serious diseases that could be treated with CBD,”
explained Gerald Heddel, MHRA director of inspection and enforcement.
Getting caught illegally possessing cannabis in the UK is punishable through imprisonment (maximum sentence of five years) and/or a hefty fine. Illegal cultivation, production and possession with the intent to supply are all associated with a maximum sentence of 14 years and/or fines.
In Stewart’s case, he’s fully protected by legal cannabis laws in the US (in states that enforce them). Without taking consumption guidelines into consideration, as long as he’s in the country and holding a valid medical marijuana identification card – for states that require such IDs – or present in a state with recreational cannabis laws, like Washington, Colorado and California, he shouldn’t have any issues with using cannabis topical sprays for his hands.
Typically, topicals are not at the top of my list of therapeutic products. I prefer to spend my hard earned cash on products that have a track record for easing my pain — and feeling stoned isn’t an objectionable side-effect either. All the moisturizing lotions and cooling creams that I’ve tried in the past have failed to meet my expectations on both fronts.
Unfortunately, my joints are more akin to a 90 year old than that of a 22 year old, so the idea of finding a good salve was appealing to me. One fateful day, I decided to take a gamble, and purchased a jar of Dixie Synergy Relief Balm. A 50/50 blend of THC and CBD, the Synergy is a lot more potent than other topical offerings — the result of THC and CBD having a “greater than the sum of their parts,” entourage effect when combined in a 1:1 ratio.
I wanted to get the most out of the salve, so I asked a nurse friend of mine where she recommended that I apply the salve. As per her suggestions, I rubbed the balm on my wrists, inner elbow, armpit, neck, and on the tops of my feet. To be honest, I was pretty skeptical, but less than five minutes later, I knew I hadn’t wasted my money. It was as if I had been wrapped in a warm blanket of content. The aches in my knees, shoulders, and back melted away and a smile crept on my face. The crushing anxiety caused by my approaching finals lifted, and life was good. I didn’t feel as though I had smoked a joint — there was no mental fogginess associated with the therapeutic effects I was experiencing.
I use the Synergy balm daily, and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with aches and pains, or any kind of anxiety.
It’s now my go-to recommendation for people looking for the therapeutic benefits of THC and CBD, without the intoxicating effects associated with smoking or eating cannabis. After extensive testing on myself, I have found that the THC/CBD infused Dixie Synergy Relief Balm offers a nice, therapeutic and general all-over effect, as opposed to a local effect. Because it is transdermal, the cannabinoids are absorbed through the skin, directly into the bloodstream.