If Ohio Won’t Let You Burn It, How Do You Use It

Photo Credit: Tylisa C. Johnson

Some say medical marijuana is a misnomer, including some local officials and the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

“People keep saying ‘medical marijuana’ and there’s no such thing,” said Helen Jones-Kelley, executive director, Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services board of Montgomery County. “It isn’t like you can just go into a place and find a strain of marijuana that is medicinal.”

A whole new industry sanctioned in Ohio begs to differ.

Being grown from the cannabis roots on up, the office running the show is called the Medical Marijuana Control Program. Proponents say pot offers patients relief from pain, inflammation and nausea.

As marijuana becomes available later this year, there’s still widespread public confusion about what kind of products Ohioans with a doctor’s recommendation will be allowed to purchase in dispensaries.

“I think a lot of the confusion comes because plant material will be sold. But you’re not allowed to take that plant material and use it by combustion,” said Thomas Rosenberger, executive director, National Cannabis Industry Association of Ohio.

So what exactly is medical marijuana under Ohio law if it’s not smoked?

Here are the forms of marijuana allowed for medical use in Ohio:


Like many other plants, oil can be extracted from marijuana and processed into concentrated forms that can be used in recipes or in skin lotions and creams.


Plant material can be baked in or mixed into a foodstuffs including brownies, cookies, ice cream, lollipops and crackers.


As with other transdermal patches, the active compounds of marijuana reach the bloodstream through the skin.

Plant material

Unprocessed cannabis can be purchased and used legally so long as the patient doesn’t light it up. In any form, patients are limited to a 90-day supply of medical marijuana.


These alcoholic extracts of cannabis are usually taken by dropper under the tongue or mixed into drinks.


While the law prohibits the use of medical marijuana through combustion, it does allow for vaping, which releases the psychoactive molecules of marijuana through heating in a vaporizer.