Medical marijuana: No Lima doctors certified

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — Those interested in obtaining medical marijuana for pain management, tremors or other qualifying conditions will have to drive out the area to find it.

No doctors in Lima have been certified by the state to recommend medical marijuana despite Lima’s presence as a major health care center for the region. Instead, regional patients will have to head to Findlay for a doctor’s recommendation, and then onward to either Bowling Green or Wapakoneta to find the nearest licensed dispensary.

In a 50-mile radius of Lima, only two doctors as of this time have undertaken the two-hour certification progress — Dr. Christian Jacobus, a hospice doctor employed by Blanchard Valley Health System, and Dr. Joseph La Mancusa, a Findlay neurologist.

La Mancusa said he became interested in the state’s certification program due to medicinal marijuana’s capabilities in treating neurological disorders, and he plans to recommend the drug to those dealing with chronic pain and tremor.

“It’s a good alternative medicine, and it clearly it would be much safer than opioid therapy,” La Mancusa said. “The amazing thing is there is no overdose death.”

La Mancusa said he is against the recreational use of marijuana, and he’s not worried about regular users abusing Ohio’s medicinal system. Instead, the type of marijuana that would be available to patients would arrive in a pill form with high concentrations of CBD instead of the intoxicant THC. In other words, users of medicinal marijuana won’t be dealing with the aftereffects that recreational users look for.

“It’s purely for medical benefits,” La Mancusa said. “The people who use recreation marijuana, they’re not going to enjoy this drug.”

La Mancusa estimated roughly 20 of his patients have shown some interest in the new pharmaceutical.

Not all of them, however, will be able to use the drug even if it could help with symptons of a neurological disorder. Insurance won’t cover medicinal marijuana and the cost of it isn’t known yet. Some individuals may also have problems with employers using drug tests on employees as a reason for dismissal.

Both Blanchard Valley Hospital System in Findlay and Lima Memorial Health System declined to comment on this story.

Mercy Health-St. Rita’s released the following statement: “Mercy Health requires that its physicians follow state and federal laws and operate within the scope of their practice. As a result, Mercy Health is not recommending its physicians to undergo the two-hour certification program at this time.”

In order to be recommended medical marijuana, patients must meet with doctors in person, be subjected to a physical exam and can be prescribed if they have one of 20 qualifying medical conditions determined by Ohio state law.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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