Ohio has passed the law for recreational marijuana. What can you expect?
As Ohio begins the move to implement recreational marijuana, many may be wondering if it is still worth getting a medical marijuana card. If this question has crossed your mind, many factors must be considered. While recreational marijuana is a policy that allows all adults open access to cannabis, those suffering from health conditions should take pause before heading down to the dispensary.
Medical Marijuana is a Medicine
The first factor to consider when questioning the option to get a medical marijuana card versus buying recreational marijuana is that there is a fundamental difference in goals. While medical marijuana patients may enjoy some aspects of their medicine, their purpose for using marijuana is not hedonistically motivated. For them, marijuana is a medicine they need because they have few other options. Recreational marijuana users may observe some positive health effects from cannabis use, but that is not their primary motivation.
For individuals under the age of 18*, special care needs to be taken because of potential long-term impacts that marijuana can have on the developing brain, and due to the severity of their health condition. Neither tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) nor the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) are safe to use without close medical monitoring if you are underage. Caregivers should never risk the serious legal or health consequences of giving recreational marijuana products to underaged patients.
A Dispensary Employee is not a Doctor
Recreational cannabis dispensary employees tend to be very kind and compassionate people. They want to help people find the right cannabis products so others can share in their passion for cannabis. Dispensaries often hire individuals with extensive experience using marijuana, but they typically don’t need to have any education or qualifications beyond a high school diploma. These individuals can be really great resources, but it is important to remember that they are often speaking from their own personal experiences.
We’ve all heard the phrase “individual results may vary,” and this is especially true of cannabis. Each person has a uniquely tuned endocannabinoid system. There is also a huge variety of cannabis products available. These two factors are the reason why people can have such varied experiences with using cannabis. Some people react negatively to any and all cannabis products. Others may only tolerate certain strains. In order to find the most suitable options, trial and error are needed to discover which (if any) cannabis products provide the desired results.
If you are a medical marijuana patient, you consult with a doctor who ensures that it is safe for you to use marijuana. Marijuana can interfere with other prescription drugs, so ensuring its safety is very important. The doctor is also qualified to advise you on how much and what type of marijuana to use. A dispensary employee cannot legally provide health advice or advise on how to use marijuana to treat any health condition. If they do so, they may have good intentions but they legally should not overstep this boundary. Self-treating any health condition is very risky, and the same goes for using recreational marijuana to self-treat. If you are seeking to use marijuana as a medicine, it is always best to talk to a medical marijuana doctor.
Rec Weed versus Medical Marijuana
The line between rec weed and medical marijuana (MMJ) can be blurry. In some cases, products are the same. However, recreational marijuana dispensaries are focused on high-THC products. For medical marijuana patients, this is not always the desired cannabinoid profile. That is why medical marijuana dispensaries often continue to operate after recreational dispensaries open. In states with both recreational and medical marijuana programs, getting a medical marijuana card typically gives patients some added benefits. Each state varies, but these benefits may include:
- Access to MMJ products with different delivery methods (THC inhalers, RSO)
- Access to a larger variety of products with different THC-to-CBD ratios
- MMJ patients can shop at recreational and medical dispensaries
- MMJ cardholders get discounts at recreational dispensaries
- MMJ cardholders are allowed a higher purchase quantity limit
- Caregivers or cardholders are allowed to grow more of their own cannabis plants
Should You Bother with a Med Card in a Rec State?
Sadly, it is common for fewer people to seek medical marijuana cards in states that legalize recreational cannabis. However, there are tangible and financial benefits to going through the process of getting your medical marijuana card. Often people feel reluctant because they fear it will be costly, but seeing a medical marijuana doctor is typically rather affordable. Medical marijuana doctors cannot accept insurance, so they work to keep costs down since they know patients have to pay out of pocket.
Going through the medical marijuana card process is also important because a medical marijuana doctor can guide you in meeting your health goals with less trial and error. You will get credible medical advice that is personalized. They will evaluate possible interactions that marijuana may have with your existing medications, and they can provide guidance on dosage and product selection. Of course, you will also get added benefits like dispensary discounts and higher purchasing limits.
As Ohio moves to implement recreational marijuana legalization, it is important for consumers to carefully consider their options. Self-treating health conditions with marijuana can have dire consequences. While recreational marijuana provides open access to cannabis, medical marijuana will continue to serve a strong purpose.
*At this time, Duber Medical is only seeing patients who are 18 years of age and older.