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Do I Need Medical Records to Get an Ohio Medical Marijuana Card?

do i need medical records to get an ohio medical marijuana card
  1. If you are a resident of “The Buckeye State,” you may have thought about how to get a medical marijuana card in Ohio. Like many other states, Ohio has an inclusive cannabis program that allows patients who have qualifying conditions to purchase medical marijuana.

    Because cannabis is a controlled substance, there is a process that Ohioans must follow to qualify, apply for, and receive an Ohio medical marijuana card. Only patients who are approved can become registered and legally purchase, possess, and use cannabis in the state.

    Let’s get into it.

    Understanding Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program

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    Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program was legalized on September 8, 2016, when House Bill 523 was signed into law by Governor John Kasich. This legislation allowed for the use of medical cannabis by patients with qualifying medical conditions under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider. However, the program’s implementation faced delays, with the first dispensaries opening their doors to patients in January 2019.

    The historic moment of the first medical cannabis sale in Ohio occurred on January 16, 2019, marking a significant milestone in the state’s journey toward providing access to medical marijuana for patients in need. Since then, the program has continued to evolve, with additional dispensaries opening across the state to meet growing demand.

    According to February 29, 2024, data provided by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP), the program has been growing steadily, providing access to legal cannabis for patients with one or more qualifying conditions. Each one relies on the advice of an Ohio medical marijuana doctor.

    Total Ohio Recommendations

    As of February 20, 2024, there were 939,420 recommendations. It is important to note that a patient may have multiple recommendations in Ohio (not just one).

    Current Registered Patients

    The number of patients who had an active or valid Ohio medical marijuana card was 419,632 in February 2024. That included 419,632 registered patients, 24,367 American Veterans, 25,311 patients with Indigent status, and 1,433 individuals with a terminal diagnosis in compassionate care.

    Active Medical Cannabis Patients With An Ohio Medical Marijuana Card

    The number of patients who have purchased medical cannabis in the past year from an Ohio dispensary was just under 400,000 (399,570), and 38,799 individuals in the caregiver registry. This steady increase in patient enrollment reflects the growing acceptance and recognition of medical marijuana as a legitimate treatment option for various debilitating conditions in Ohio.

    Requirements for Obtaining A Medical Card in Ohio

    Not just anyone can get a medical marijuana card in Ohio. Patients must have at least one medical condition accepted by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP). Patients must also be aged eighteen years or older.

    To apply for a medical marijuana card in Ohio, you must present legal, government-issued identification that confirms the following:

    • You live in Ohio.
    • You are a legal adult (aged eighteen years or older).
    • You have received certification for medical cannabis from a licensed provider.

    Minors with chronic health conditions and symptoms may also access doctor-supervised medical cannabis in Ohio. A legal guardian (usually a parent) can apply and join the caregiver registry. This is done at the same time as the application for cannabis treatment for a minor is submitted.

    Guardians who are registered caregivers are permitted to assist the minor by purchasing, storing, and administering cannabis products according to guidance from a physician. However, caregivers are not allowed to buy or use cannabis products themselves.

    What Medical Records Are Accepted?

    medical cannabis doctor

    Medical records must show evidence of one of the above qualifying conditions. Requesting records from a physician’s office or hospital will typically require a form to be filled out and submitted electronically, in person, or by mail.

    As this process varies by location, patients should contact their physician’s office or hospital to determine the best method. Patients who are part of the OhioHealth network of facilities in the Greater Columbus Area, Athens, Delaware, Marion, Mansfield, and Shelby may already have an “OhioHealth MyChart” account and may access it by obtaining an activation code from any member of their healthcare team to log in at MyChart.OhioHealth.com.

    Patients of the FollowMyHealth system may access their health records here: Berger Hospital or O’Bleness Hospital. If you cannot obtain your medical records, our office can request them for you before your exam.

    For those whose treating physician does not supply a form for medical records requests, it is recommended to send a letter in writing with the following information:

    • Your name, including your maiden name (if applicable)
    • Social Security number
    • Date of birth
    • Address and phone number
    • Email address
    • Record(s) being requested
    • Date(s) of service (months and years under the doctor’s care)
    • Signature
    • Delivery option (pick up, fax, email, etc.)

    Patients who need to make a written request can find a template here.

    What If I Can’t Be Certified By A Doctor?

    Some patients may not receive a certification for medical cannabis from the DocMJ provider. Individuals who have specific underlying physical or mental health conditions may be disappointed to learn they may not be able to get an Ohio medical cannabis card.

    The role of the cannabis healthcare provider is to determine whether medical marijuana is safe for the patient to use. Some types of prescription medications, for example, can conflict with cannabis and increase risk factors for adverse health reactions.

    When a DocMJ practitioner determines that cannabis may not be safe for the patient, a full refund is provided. The patient can seek a certification from another physician but may encounter the same decision and be declined.

    Please remember that our first responsibility to you is safety. If we are not able to certify you, please feel free to discuss other alternatives with your DocMJ cannabis healthcare provider.

    Ohio Medical Cannabis Qualifying Health Conditions

    Ohio House Bill 523 requires that anyone seeking a medical marijuana card provide detailed medical records that document a qualifying condition. All states determine a set list of health diagnoses that will make a patient eligible to use medical marijuana legally.

    Only patients with one of the following medical conditions may currently participate in Ohio’s medical marijuana program:

    • 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 (TBI)
    • Ulcerative colitis

    Medical marijuana treatment in Ohio means more than purchasing cannabis products. When you have an Ohio medical card, you get the expert advice of a healthcare provider who understands therapeutic use.

    A medical marijuana evaluation is required (and medication review) annually to maintain an Ohio medical cannabis card. That means a regular “check-in” with a provider who is knowledgeable about medical cannabis and a review of your medical history and symptom management results.

    The Role of Medical Records in Evaluating Patient Eligibility

    medical marijuana and prior diagnosis

    If you are meeting with a cannabis healthcare provider, why do they need to see your medical records? After all, you will be talking to them, and they can get that information during the appointment, right?

    Patients are sometimes surprised that a healthcare provider has to review their medical records before they can recommend medical marijuana to them. However, the medical marijuana doctor or practitioner does a thorough review of recent health history to help determine whether cannabis is safe to use.

    Many patients will tolerate cannabis. However, for some people, cannabis may conflict with prescription medications or increase the risk of complicating a preexisting health condition. The first step for every medical marijuana patient is to explore whether cannabis is a safe alternative health choice for them.

    Caregivers are not required to provide their medical records to join the Caregiver Registry in Ohio. However, the same process is used to determine minors’ eligibility, including a comprehensive review of symptoms and current medical records.

    What Happens If You Do Not Have Medical Documentation?

    Unfortunately, a cannabis healthcare provider cannot certify a patient without health records that confirm the diagnosis of the qualifying condition(s). Patients diagnosed a long time ago may not have access to all their health records.

    Sometimes, patients who have moved may also face some challenges getting their health records. Sometimes, the primary care physician may have retired, and the documentation is no longer available. One of the benefits of the EHR (electronic health records) systems available in all states is that your medical records should be protected for privacy (and accessible) at all times.

    Whoever your current primary care physician or provider is can also confirm your current prescriptions and diagnoses. Schedule an appointment with your provider and explain that you need updated documentation about your current health condition. Once you have that information, submit it before your DocMJ appointment. This allows the DocMJ provider to review your current health records, which is required by law for all patients who apply for an Ohio medical marijuana card.

    Does My Family Doctor Need to Know I Use Medical Marijuana?

    As a patient, your health information is protected by law. Unless you tell your primary care provider or family doctor that you are using medical cannabis treatment for your symptoms, they will not have access to that information.

    It is up to patients to determine whether they wish to share that information with their doctor. However, medical cannabis treatment may help you achieve your wellness and symptom management goals, and your primary care provider should also know if you are taking one or more prescribed medications.

    Long-term cannabis use can cause positive changes in pain tolerance for some patients. Individuals with chronic pain, for example, may find that they require less medication (or lower potencies) because cannabis can reduce pain perception. This may require a change in your current prescription medications.

    Our physicians recommend discussing medical cannabis with your primary care provider first. A review with your doctor will also identify any contraindications (or conflicts) between medications you are currently taking and medical marijuana.

    The choice is yours, but physicians recommend that you disclose cannabis use to your family doctor. It can only help improve the accuracy of the healthcare services you receive and help keep you safe.


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