NEW LEXINGTON — Doctor Jeffrey Haggenjos is among the first physicians in the state to be certified to recommend the use of medical marijuana to his patients.
Haggenjos was among the 36 physicians to be approved last month (April 11) by the state medical board to make the recommended use of medical marijuana to their patients. In Ohio, patients with one of 21 listed medical conditions can legally buy and use medical marijuana if recommended to them by a physician who is certified by the Ohio State Medical Board.
Haggenjos says that physicians will not be allowed to prescribe the use of marijuana until later this summer, either August or September. “What we need is to focus on the benefits of marijuana, it is to be used for the relief from pain and anxieties,” Haggenjos said. “It’s a big thing and it is important to be sure that it is used to relieve those two problems.”
The state has had some difficulty finding physicians willing to recommend marijuana, which is still considered an illegal substance in some areas. A survey of Ohio doctors conducted in 2016 found that few would be willing to make the recommendation.
In order for a physician to receive their certificate to recommend they must have an unrestricted license to practice medicine in Ohio and complete two continuing medical education credit hours, approved by the Ohio State Medical Association or Ohio Osteopathic Association.
Haggenjos said that he hopes that by obtaining the certificate he could, at least in small way help regulate the use of marijuana, saying, “Maybe this can help curb some of the other stuff that is going on.” He also says that he went for the certification for the benefit of his patients. “I don’t plan on becoming the greenhouse doctor of southeast Ohio. I’m only doing this for my patients.”
When recommending medical marijuana, doctors are required to discuss the risks and benefits of using marijuana and attest the patient has a qualifying medical condition.
Patients will register through their doctor’s office and receive an electronic card they can use to purchase marijuana at a retail dispensary. The patient registry is expected to begin in July.
Haggenjos wants to inform his patients that the use of prescription marijuana will be for medicinal purposes only and not recreational. “I want to be sure that people understand the different uses of marijuana.”