Major Ohio Healthcare Networks Prohibit Their Doctors from Recommending MMJ

Ohio's three major health systems prohibiting their nearly 9,000 staff doctors from recommending MMJ, citing federal law

Some of Ohio’s most prominent clinics and health systems are refusing to recommend medical marijuana to their patients despite the fact that over 300 doctors throughout the state have been cleared to recommend MMJ and more are being approved each month.

Physicians at the world famous Cleveland Clinic are among the naysayers, citing a lack of FDA and regulatory approval.

“Similar to other major physician associations, the Cleveland Clinic continues to stand by the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process as the most effective way to ensure the safety, efficacy, and purity of medications provided to patients across Ohio,” said the clinic’s spokeswoman Carolyn Deming Glaviano.

Ms. Glaviano must have missed the memo about Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived medicine approved by the FDA for treating certain types of epilepsy.

She must also have been absent the day in late Sept. 2018 when the FDA concluded that CBD does not meet the criteria for federal control at all.

Ohio’s University Hospitals and MetroHealth System, which also cover a large part of the state, say they cannot or will not recommend MMJ to their patients due to the discrepancy between state and federal law.

Many of the doctors who have agreed to recommend medical cannabis are in private practice since Ohio’s large health care systems are discouraging the physicians they directly employ to seek certificates, according to Dr. Jerry Mitchell, an oncology, palliative care and hospice physician.

The Cleveland Clinic directly employs nearly 4,000 doctors. University Hospitals had 3,907 providers last year and MetroHealth has about 630 doctors on staff.

While the policy does not apply to private practice physicians with privileges at these hospitals, they cannot recommend MMJ while practicing at them.

Under Ohio law, doctors with medical licenses in good standing are eligible to seek a certificate to recommend medical marijuana for any of the 21 qualifying medical conditions.

Meanwhile, Ohioans are hoping MMJ to finally be available in early 2019.

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