Patients, caregivers and other advocates of medical marijuana are gaining ground as state after state passes laws to legalize it. Ohio is one of the latest to join the growing list of states where hemp, marijuana, and derivatives like CBD oil are legal for medical use. The laws are constantly changing, and there is some confusion about whether this oil is actually legal under Ohio’s new medical marijuana laws, so here is an overview of the most current information available.
What is CBD Oil?
The acronym is short for cannabidiol, which is an oil-based compound extracted from the marijuana and hemp plants. It is one of 104 known compounds found in cannabis that are classified as cannabinoids. When extracted from hemp, it contains all of the beneficial health properties of marijuana without producing the high effect. In fact, some research shows that it may even neutralize Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive component of pot that gives you a buzz.
CBD oil is created by extracting the raw oil from the hemp plant and mixing it with a carrier oil like hemp seed or coconut in order to dilute it. It’s been proven effective in treating a range of physical and mental health problems. There is no evidence of any harmful side-effects, and it’s believed to be safe even in high doses.
How Does CBD Oil Work to Treat Pain and Other Medical Problems?
Properties in cannabis work with naturally occurring biology substances in humans to address pain and other health issues. Our bodies support a biological system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates sleep, pain response, and our immune systems among other functions. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters, which send signals to our brain when we feel pain, when we’re hungry, or when we need sleep.
These neurotransmitters bind to cannabinoid receptors located in our nervous system. Medical evidence shows that cannabinoids found in marijuana interact with our endocrine systems to affect their activity, reducing inflammation, relieving pain, and increasing our appetites. This is one reason it is so effective for relieving the side-effects of chemotherapy.
What Conditions is CBD Oil Used to Treat?
There’s evidence in almost every culture of marijuana being used for medicinal purposes dating back centuries. The earliest documentation points to marijuana being used in China as early as 2900 B.C. to treat gout, malaria, and muscle spasms. Modern science is only recently rediscovering the health benefits of CBD oil to treat a range of ailments, including:
Chronic pain and inflammation
Anxiety and depression
PMS and symptoms of menopause
What Forms of CBD Oil Are Legal in Ohio?
There are two variations of CBD oil, CBD-rich and CBD-dominant. By most definitions, CBD-rich oil has equal or nearly equal percentages of CBD and THC. The CBD-dominant oils are high in CBD content but contain less than .04 percent THC. In Ohio, only hemp-based CBD with a THC concentration of no higher than .03 percent is allowed to be sold.
Soap and other products have been sold in farmer’s markets and health food stores under the protection of the 2014 Farm Bill. This bill allows states to create pilot programs for hemp production; it has been challenged and upheld. Ohio was one of those states, which is why you’ll find products containing CBD in various retail outlets.
In 2016, Ohio passed a law making medical marijuana legal in the state under very strict conditions. This is where it begins to get confusing. State officials contended as recently as August, 2018 that CBD is still considered illegal in the state. In August, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy clarified this declaration by stating that CBD cannabis oil can only be sold in state-licensed dispensaries. Among the marijuana-based products approved for sale in state dispensaries are vaping juices, oils, tinctures, and edibles. It is still illegal to grow or smoke marijuana at home.
Are There CBD Oil Dispensaries in Ohio?
The first licenses were issued in June of 2018 to 56 dispensaries of 376 applications received, with 60 provisional licenses being considered. By law, marijuana dispensaries must be 500 feet from schools, playgrounds, churches, and public libraries. Local municipalities are allowed to create and implement further restrictions in their own jurisdictions.
The state also issued licenses to two marijuana testing labs, Battelle and North Coast Testing Laboratories, and approved nine provisional processing licenses. One company, Standard Wellness Company LLC, is so far the only business to be granted licensing in all three areas, growing, manufacture, and sales.
Do I Need a Prescription for CBD Oil?
Patients and caregivers must qualify to obtain a medical marijuana ID card from the state. There are 21 qualifying medical conditions approved for treatment with marijuana and CBD so far. More are being considered. In order for a condition to qualify for treatment, the petitioner must provide:
Evidence from researchers who specialize in studying that disease or condition
Evidence that traditional treatments are inadequate to effectively treat that condition or illness
Evidence supporting the effectiveness of marijuana for treating the condition or illness
Testimony from doctors in support of approval
Patients or caregivers must then register as medical marijuana users with a state-certified physician, who will make or confirm a diagnosis. The doctor must certify that:
There’s a bona fide relationship with the patient
The patient has the qualifying condition
The patient has no known history of substance abuse in the previous 12 months
The patient has been informed of the benefits and drawbacks of CBD treatment
Once that’s taken care of, the patient or caregiver will receive an electronic ID card and can leave directly from the doctor’s office to purchase from a state dispensary. The registration costs $50 for most patients, but veterans and those receiving federal disability payments can get one for $25. They expire after one year from the issue date. Roll out of the program had been delayed, but is expected to begin soon. There is a database of medical marijuana-certified physicians in Ohio that’s searchable by doctor’s last name and city or zip code.
Can I Buy CBD Oil Online in Ohio?
Although it can be purchased and is widely available from online sources inside the state and out, it is still technically illegal to purchase from any location other than state-approved and licensed dispensaries. This may seem like an inconvenience, especially for patients with mobility or transportation issues, but there are some benefits to buying from a legal dispensary.
One of the most important factors is purity. There are a lot of snake oil salespersons around, and the legitimacy or strength of their products can’t be verified. Hemp-based products like CBD sold in state dispensaries must come from a licensed production facility, which tests all products manufactured and sold.