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  • Olivia Castro

New Conditions Considered in Ohio for Medical Marijuana

Under Ohio House Bill 523, which legalized medical marijuana in the state, one must be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition in order to receive medical marijuana treatment. When the bill first passed, 21 conditions qualified for treatment. The bill has an open window at the end of each year so that Ohioans can submit conditions they believe should be considered. Since 2016, only one condition has been approved, cachexia or wasting syndrome.

Recently, almost two dozen conditions were submitted to the State Medical Board in order to be considered as qualifying conditions including: autism, bipolar disorder, Huntington’s disease, opioid addiction and rest-leg syndrome; to name a few.. Some of the suggested conditions have been rejected in prior reviews due to a lack of supporting evidence that medical marijuana can be used as a treatment.

Five condition proposals were submitted by the Ohio Medical Cannabis Trade Association (OMCTA) which represents dispensaries, cultivators and processors. They suggested migraines, arthritis, persistent muscle spasms, opioid addiction and terminal illness with less than six months of life expectancy.

The OMCTA submitted these particular conditions because they have been extensively researched, reviewed and approved by medical marijuana programs in other states. Andrew Rayburn, president of OMCTA and CEO of Buckeye Relief, states “Ohio's program has been operational for two years and is serving more than 200,000 patients. It is time to expand the availability of medical marijuana to additional patients.”

In order to address these conditions, a Medical Marijuana Committee has been formed by a group of physicians. This committee will meet next month on February 10 in order to determine which new submissions can be added to the list. To be approved, medical conditions need to be backed by research, evidence and a physician letter of recommendation. The final decision as to which conditions will be added will be made by the committee in the summer of 2021.


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