What is a Caregiver?
Some Ohio patients will require a caregiver to be responsible for purchasing and administering their medical marijuana products. There are a multitude of situations that may require a caregiver, for example, if the patient is too sick to visit a dispensary or if the patient is a minor (under the age of 18). Patients may have up to two caregivers, and caregivers may not care for more than two patients in the state of Ohio.
The following qualifications must be met to be eligible to become a caregiver for your loved one:
- Must be 21 years of age or older. If a potential patient is a minor and has a parent who is eighteen years of age and older and meets all other requirements set forth by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, that parent may become a caregiver for their child.
- Is not found in any of the following databases or lists:
- System for Award Management (SAM)
- List of excluded individuals and entities maintained by the office of inspector general
- Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) online abuser registry
- Internet-based sex offender
- Child-victim offender database
- National sex offender website Internet-based database of department of rehabilitation correction inmates
- A note in the state nurse aide registry regarding having inflicted neglect or abuse at a long-term or residential care facility
If you meet the eligibility requirements, the following should be submitted to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to complete your caregiver registration:
- Identification of the patient that you are serving as the caregiver
- Completed caregiver registration submission (submitted by patient’s recommending physician)
- The required $25 fee. For those registering to become a caregiver to more than one patient, a separate application and fee must be submitted for each.
A registered caregiver is only allowed to possess and administer medical marijuana to the patient(s) associated with their registration. Registration for a caregiver is valid for one year from the date it was issued. Renewal applications, fees, and required documentation may be submitted up to thirty calendar days before the caregiver registration will expire.
Becoming a Caregiver for a Minor
Ohio regulation allows minors to become registered patients under the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program but does require a registered caregiver for any potential patient that is a minor. Both the (minor) patient and caregiver must go through the registration process for becoming a patient and caregiver, with a few additional requirements. Caregiver eligibility for minors is as follows:
- An Ohio resident
- The patient’s parent or legal representative
Patient registration for a minor must be accompanied by a caregiver registration at the time of submittal. Just as you would for a potential patient over the age of 18, a patient registration form must be submitted by a physician certified to recommend. For the case of registering a minor, the patient’s (minor’s) parent or legal guardian will be the person signing for consent to use medical marijuana, instead of the actual patient.
Caregivers will be responsible for the purchase of all marijuana products for any patient under the age of 18.
Making the Decision
The decision to become a caregiver for a minor may be a difficult one. Due to multiple reasons, such as stigma, lack of long-term research, and federal illegality, many parents struggle with the idea of giving their children medical marijuana. Although research and legislation may be moving in the right direction, as seen with the FDA approval of Epidiolex, for some parents it just is not happening fast enough.
January Petroff is a mother of a minor who made the decision to try medical marijuana to alleviate the horrific pain her daughter was experiencing as a side effect of Trigeminal Neuralgia. The Petroff family was told that the only cure for the illness was an extremely complicated and risky face surgery, so they instead opted for prescription medications to mediate the pain. With the slew of prescriptions her daughter was on, came unmanageable side effects. Eventually they decided on the face surgery, which only seemed to work for a few months, and as a result of the failed surgery, January’s daughter had also developed Fibromyalgia.
The Petroff family’s search for relief took them across the United States, seeking out specialists that might be able to help. The only answers they were given were more pain prescriptions, which left January’s daughter in a constant state of void and exhaustion. In an act of desperation, January considered medical marijuana. Living in a state with a medical marijuana program, January’s daughter received a patient card as a minor. That was 3 years ago. Today, January will tell you that her daughter is more active than she’s been in a very long time;
“While she may never be able to work full time and have a career, her quality of life has improved dramatically thanks to medical marijuana. Gone are the days of her being drugged up and unable to function. I wholeheartedly believe that marijuana saved her life. My only regret is that I didn’t think to offer marijuana to her sooner.”
Campbell CT, Phillips MS, Manasco K. Cannabinoids in Pediatrics. The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics : JPPT. 2017;22(3):176-185. doi:10.5863/1551-6776-22.3.176. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5473390/
Shane Shucheng Wong, Timothy E. Wilens. Medical Cannabinoids in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review. Pediatrics, 2017; e20171818. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/140/5/e20171818