Can You Get a Medical Marijuana Card For Anxiety In Ohio?
- Anxiety is one of the most common conditions for which patients seek a medical marijuana card.
- Unfortunately, anxiety is not listed among the qualifying medical conditions for an Ohio medical marijuana card.
- However, PTSD is a form of anxiety that is considered a qualifying condition.
- Anxiety patients also have other legal options for cannabis-based treatment in Ohio.
It’s going to be at least 2023 before Ohio legalizes marijuana. In the meantime, only qualifying medical patients are allowed to shop at Ohio dispensaries. One of the most common mental health conditions is anxiety. But can anxiety patients get a medical marijuana card in Ohio?
Unfortunately, the answer is no — that is unless you have a very specific type of anxiety known as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. However, a diagnosis of PTSD isn’t as simple as being diagnosed with generalized anxiety.
Patients suffering from anxiety need only complain to their medical marijuana doctor that they are experiencing feelings of anxiety — intense feelings of apprehension, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, sweating, and so forth.
However, a diagnosis of PTSD is more complicated. The underlying causes of PTSD are much more apparent. PTSD is most common among veterans and victims of abuse. Without a history of traumatic experiences, a diagnosis of PTSD is unlikely.
There is hope that anxiety will be added to the list of qualifying conditions for an Ohio medical marijuana card. But in the meantime, there might be another option for anxiety patients in Ohio who would like to try using cannabis to treat anxiety. Let us explain.
Other qualifying medical conditions
Ohio’s list of qualifying medical conditions is one of the longer lists in the country. Patients suffering from anxiety might be eligible for a medical marijuana card if they also suffer from one of these other medical conditions.
Qualifying medical conditions for Ohio medical marijuana card:
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- 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
- Ulcerative colitis
- Pain that is either of the following nature: (i) Chronic and severe; or (ii) Intractable
Most of these ailments produce highly specific and identifiable symptoms. The one that does not is chronic pain. If an anxiety patient is also suffering from any type of chronic pain, they may still be eligible for a medical marijuana card.
Hemp CBD for anxiety
It might seem like the state has forgotten its anxiety patients by leaving other anxiety disorders aside from PTSD off of its qualifying conditions list. However, it could be argued that the state has actually done anxiety patients a service.
Although a medical marijuana card is required to shop at marijuana dispensaries, the state has legalized hemp for all Ohioans. Any cannabis strain that produces less than 0.3 percent THC is considered to be hemp.
While hemp does not contain significant levels of THC — the intoxicating cannabinoid responsible for the drug being regulated — it does contain another cannabinoid called CBD, or cannabidiol. And, surprisingly, CBD is actually more effective than THC at treating anxiety in most patients.
In fact, THC can actually worsen feelings of anxiety. And in higher dosages, it can cause intense feelings of paranoia.
The best part of this is that there’s no need to jump through the hoops of the state’s medical marijuana program to treat anxiety with CBD. Ohioans can buy CBD online or at local stores without a medical marijuana card.
As with medical marijuana, CBD products now come in a wide range of options: CBD-rich hemp flower for smoking, vaping, and cooking, CBD vape pens, CBD tinctures, CBD capsules and lozenges, CBD edibles, CBD topicals, and even CBD oral sprays and transdermal patches.
CBD is not the only cannabinoid produced in hemp that can help anxious patients. Many anxiety patients claim that for them, cannabigerol or CBG, which is also found in some strains of hemp, is better at reducing anxiety than CBD.
Treating anxiety with medical cannabis in Ohio
So which products are best for treating anxiety? The answer depends on whether or not the patient is dealing with sudden bouts of anxiety or ongoing feelings of anxiety.
Some anxiety patients experience a sudden onset of symptoms. For these patients, a product with a fast onset time is ideal. Delivery methods such as smoking, vaping, dabbing, and inhalers produce a sudden surge of cannabinoids in the brain as the cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream from the lungs.
Patients with respiratory or circulatory issues or cardiac conditions should avoid inhaling smoke and oil vapor as it can cause further harm. However, cannabinoid inhalers disperse purified cannabinoids while offering the same rapid onset time and high potency as smoking and vaping.
Patients struggling with chronic, ongoing feelings of anxiety are better served by using a delivery method that produces more consistent cannabinoid blood levels. CBD patches offer the most consistent delivery as the cannabinoids are absorbed over time through the skin.
CBD products such as oils, tinctures, capsules, and edibles also offer more consistent effects than smoking but with a slower onset time and lower potency. This is especially true for oral products such as capsules and edibles when taken with a meal.
Everyone responds to each type of cannabinoid differently. Finding the ideal delivery method and cannabinoid formula can take some experimentation.
Patients are advised to start with the lowest possible dosage — preferably under 5 milligrams. Microdosing allows the patient to determine if there are any unwanted side effects before increasing their dosage.
If no adverse effects are identified, then the dosage can be slowly increased until the desired results are achieved. Exceeding the ideal dosage might actually reduce the effectiveness of the product and be a waste money.
PTSD is the only form of anxiety on Ohio’s list of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card. It’s likely that other anxiety disorders will be added to the list sometime in the future. Until then, patients who also suffer from chronic pain might be eligible for a medical marijuana card.
Moreover, hemp CBD is legal for all Ohioans. And CBD is actually a better choice for fighting anxiety than high-THC marijuana for most anxiety patients.
Although anyone can buy CBD products in Ohio, patients with serious medical conditions such as anxiety should not be self-medicating. Patients are strongly advised to consult with one of our certified Ohio medical marijuana doctors.