The State Capitol Building of Ohio in Columbus, Ohio.

Jim Bowen

Ohio Proposes Regulating Medical Cannabis by THC Weight

Most medical cannabis states dispense their cannabis flower and extracts according to total weight in each transaction. Edibles and topicals often have THC content listed, but like flowers and extracts, supplies are based on total weight or volume. Ohio, who recently passed a full plant medical cannabis bill via the legislative process, is proposing to dispense all cannabis products using a THC weight approach, in which they set a maximum amount of THC allowed over a 90-day period.

In a fact sheet released by the Ohio Department of Pharmacy, the agency seeks to clarify the definition of a 90-day supply of various forms of medical cannabis by proposing to regulate THC across delivery methods, similar to Morphine. Using 30 studies and 90-day supply limits from other states as reviewed by an expert panel, regulators set the 90-day supply of THC at 45 grams — that’s 45 grams of THC, not flower, for a patient’s entire regiment of flower, oils, edibles, and topicals.

Under the rules, plant material is divided into two tiers. Tier one cannabis flower ranges from 0-23% THC content and patients would be allowed to purchase up to 6 ounces of it every 90 days. Those seeking tier two cannabis, with a THC content of 23.1-35%, are allowed up to four ounces per 90-day time period. Citing flower and oil bioavailability ratios as 1 to 1, extracts would be dispensed within the same 45-gram threshold. Due to their greater bioavailability, officials set the limit for edible THC at 9 grams and topicals at 19.8 grams.

Dr. Jahan Marcu, Chief Science Officer for Americans for Safe Access, is not so sure about the new system. “The two-tier system appears to be using faulty lab results,” Dr. Marcu said.

Naturally, this is an immediate red flag. “Most cannabis doesn’t test much higher than 25%, so putting an entire tier from 23.1% to 35% is suspect,” Dr. Marcu said. “In order for the system to work, Ohio must use valid lab results — which is not an easy task when testing cannabis. We’ll have to wait and see if this works since it’s not been tried before.”

“It’s hard to regulate a Schedule 1 narcotic like cannabis similar to a Schedule 2 narcotic like Morphine,” concluded Dr. Marcu. “We’d welcome Ohio into the effort to reschedule cannabis.”

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