The question of what exactly makes medical marijuana different from traditional marijuana is one we are often asked here at Ohio Marijuana Card. In this article, we will break down the fundamental differences between both medical marijuana and marijuana purchased from street dealers. We will also take a look at the differences between home grows and cannabis that is grown in a state-approved and regulated cultivation facility.
Is Marijuana Legal in Ohio?
HB 523 became law in late 2016 and established the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. The comprehensive bill grants patients access to medical marijuana in order to treat 21 qualifying conditions. Patients seeking medical marijuana (also referred to as mmj) must have at least one of the pre-approved conditions in order to obtain a medical marijuana card in Ohio.
To get approved, patients must visit a medical marijuana doctor, certified by the state to recommend marijuana in Ohio. This doctor reviews your medical history, performs a brief examination and determines if you qualify for a medical marijuana card in Ohio. The doctor then writes a recommendation and sends it off to the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. From there, the Board of Pharmacy registers you as a medical marijuana user and issues your medical marijuana card.
Is medical marijuana different from marijuana purchased on the street?
Technically, no - marijuana is marijuana. The cannabis plant contains many chemical compounds but the two primary compounds are THC and CBD. You can find out more about these compounds here. Nearly every marijuana plant you will find on this planet has both of these compounds in some capacity (even hemp has about .1% THC). And every plant has the capability of providing relief to patients. However, not all marijuana is created equal, and many are downright shoddy.
Marijuana purchased illegally from a friend or dealer may have unknown, or sketchy, origins. You could be unknowingly contributing to gangs or terror groups throughout the world. Or the weed could have been treated with toxic pesticides. Buds can even be sprayed with the same chemicals used to make the unstable synthetic drugs, K2 or Spice, in order to increase potency. Naturally, this isn't every case, and many illegal operations are home grows prepared by passionate budtenders with a hobby for growing marijuana.
However, medical (or recreational) marijuana grown in cultivation facilities is a necessary step in order for patients to receive the highest potency, best quality marijuana they can buy. Marijuana cultivation facilities must comply with strict regulations and guidelines, and must be tested for purity to ensure no toxic pesticides, spores, bugs, leaf infections or added chemicals are present.
Cannabis grown in cultivation facilities can also be processed into other forms of mmj, including edibles, concentrated oils, waxes, creams and tinctures. These can be used orally, topically or sublingually for faster relief. The same goes for recreational marijuana that is grown in cultivation facilities where marijuana is completely legal. For a detailed look at the different types of processed marijuana, give this resource a read.
Marijuana flower curated at a cultivation facility is also more focused on patient needs. For example, some plants will be curated to be high in CBD to help treat patients suffering from migraines, PTSD or seizures (to name a few). Other strains will focus on a high THC potency to increase the appetite of cancer patients, for example, or to provide euphoria to those suffering from chronic pain or severe depression.
Processing facilities can also extract specific hydrocarbons called terpenes, or essential oils, within the cannabis chemical compounds. These can be used to target and treat specific ailments. Other essential oils can be added to these terpenes to aide in anti-inflammation and mood enhancement.
While medical marijuana and traditional marijuana are both ostensibly marijuana, medical marijuana grown in cultivation facilities is a better option for people seeking medical treatment with their cannabis.
Are Home Marijuana Grows Allowed in Ohio?
Several states now allow patients to grow their own marijuana at home, which can ease the burden for those who don't live near a dispensary. Some states even allow this marijuana to be sold to dispensaries, much like how farmers sell produce and meats to grocery stores.
Alas, despite being a state with a bustling agriculture industry, and a vocal farming community no less, Ohio strictly prohibits both growing and selling marijuana, leaving cultivation facilities as the only options for patients (at this time).
This could change in the future as Ohio's law evolve and the United States begins to see the profits coming in from Canada's full legalization efforts. But until that time comes, home grows remain illegal in Ohio.
While many passionate hobbyists may be frustrated to learn that their favorite hobby, growing marijuana, is still illegal in the Buckeye State, it is possible to cultivate potent, high-quality marijuana from home. Doing thorough research, adhering to the same rules and regulations as the mmj industry, and with a keen eye for growing cannabis, home-grown marijuana can be no different from marijuana grown in a cultivation facility.
That being said, cultivation staffs are replete with some of the best, most knowledgeable botanists out there -- people with decades of experience growing and cultivating high-quality marijuana. This level of expertise often yields a product that is consistent in quality. And new improvements in marijuana cultivation means that large facilities remain on the cutting edge of cannabis research and advancement.
Home grows can be a good alternative for some patients (in states where it is legal), though. That being said, most patients will likely prefer marijuana grown and curated by large cultivators, ensuring they get the exact strain of marijuana, with the right amount of active chemical compounds, to treat their ailment.