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Can I Switch Medical Marijuana Doctors? What Ohio Patients Need to Know

Thousands of people are now using medical marijuana in Ohio to fight and alleviate a variety of symptoms and ailments, so finding a certified medical marijuana physician that you trust and feel comfortable visiting is important. Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t keep the same doctor forever. Be it because of moving, finances, or another reason, sometimes switching is the best option and luckily, it’s not complicated.

See if you pre-qualify for your Ohio medical marijuana card right now by completing our easy online eligibility survey.

How Do I Switch Medical Marijuana Doctors?

Switching medical marijuana doctors is a lot like switching primary physicians with an extra step or two. Unlike other physicians, though, insurance won’t cover any step of getting a medical marijuana recommendation. Also, while it usually isn’t a problem, getting your medical records to your new doctor is important, so it is best to call and make sure both your old medical marijuana doctor and your family doctor have sent them. 

Due to the wording of House Bill 523, the bill that was originally passed outlining the state-run medical marijuana program, it can be a little confusing for those switching doctors. Specifically, the requirement of a “bona fide physician-patient relationship” [1]. This isn’t very clear to most people but will usually involve an examination by the new doctor, a review of your medical records, and a few follow up calls regarding your diagnosis. Because of this, it is a good idea, if possible, to start searching for a new certified physician a couple months before your current recommendation expires. 

If you are looking for a new certified medical marijuana doctor, DocMJ can help you! 

Why Would I Switch Doctors?

There are many reasons a patient would feel the need to switch doctors. Sometimes the reason is as simple as the patient or doctor is moving out of town. Other times it is because the patient no longer feels that their current doctor is listening to them. Either way, it is important that the patient is as comfortable as possible when speaking with the doctor.

Another common reason for switching is just general incompatibility. Some doctors are very quick and to the point while others prefer to sit and speak through a problem with their patient. Both ways have pros and cons and some people prefer one over the other. People may also want a fresh pair of eyes on their case, especially if they aren’t getting the results they wanted when they initially signed up for medical marijuana. Because of how new marijuana is to medicine it can be important to find a doctor that will work with you to find the best dosage or form.

What if I Haven’t Been Getting the Results I Want?

Medical marijuana is still very new and can be complicated, even for a doctor! If you haven’t been getting the results you were hoping for with medical marijuana, there are a few things to consider that may help. 

To start, make sure you are using the form of marijuana that is best suited to your needs. Studies have found that CBD may be effective in treating dry skin and some forms of acne [2], but vaping marijuana oil might not be the best way to get the cannabinoid where it needs to be. 

On the other hand, if you are using edibles and not having success, it may be due to the first pass effect. Essentially, when you put cannabinoids through the digestive system, they may be broken down or changed in some way before being absorbed into the bloodstream [3]. This doesn’t happen with other forms, such as vaping or tinctures, which may lead to higher bioavailability in those cases [4].

Of course, dosing must also be considered. If you are a larger person, you may require a higher dose to see results than a smaller one. Age, gender, and other factors also play a role. If you have tried multiple forms and dosages, but still do not see results, speaking with a physician you trust is always recommended. 

What if I am Moving Out of State?

Unfortunately, the Ohio medical marijuana program does not cross over to other state-run programs. This means that even if you have a medical marijuana card, you won’t be able to use it in your new state and will have to apply for their program. It is important to remember that each program is different, though, and may have different qualifying conditions, so it is best to research beforehand. If the state you are moving to also requires a bona-fide relationship between the patient and physician, it may also be best to research doctors prior to moving. Also, research that state’s laws regarding marijuana use. Some states have very different laws than Ohio, and information is always valuable. 

What if I am From Out of State?

If you are not from Ohio but are looking to move here, here is a quick overview of our medical marijuana program and the steps involved in getting a medical marijuana card. 

In order to be considered for a medical marijuana card in Ohio, you must first be diagnosed with one of the qualifying conditions. These qualifying conditions are: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, 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, and ulcerative colitis.

If you have been diagnosed with one of these qualifying conditions, the next step is booking an appointment with a certified medical marijuana doctor. At the appointment, you and the physician will go over your medical records and the benefits and dangers of medical marijuana. If they feel medical marijuana is right for you, they will then give you a recommendation, which will be submitted to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. You will then receive an email detailing how to sign up for the Patient Registry. From there, you will have to pay a registration fee to receive your medical marijuana card. 

When you have your card, you are now able to purchase medical marijuana from any licensed dispensary in the state. Currently, there are several forms available for purchase, including plant matter, oils and concentrates, edibles, tinctures, and ointments, each with their own pros and cons. 

In Conclusion

Finding a doctor you are comfortable with is crucial. Luckily, switching medical marijuana doctors is not only allowed, but easy, with a few caveats. It can also help speed things up if you make sure your old marijuana doctor and family care doctor have both sent the new doctor your medical records, but this is not strictly necessary as some offices will do this on their own. If you are moving out of state your Ohio medical marijuana will not be accepted, and you will have to start the process over according to the new state’s rules. 


Cited Works

[1] https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-523

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6429381/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689518/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2198789/