A panel in Illinois has voted to recommend medical marijuana use for more ailments.
The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board is now recommending it for post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, osteoarthritis irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic pain, the latter of which affects 1.5 billion people worldwide.
The board also voted to add chronic pain syndrome, chronic postoperative pain, intractable pain and chronic pain due to trauma, in addition to an existing approved list with 39 qualifying ailments.
Doctors, nurses, patients, and a pharmacist made up the panel and voted for eight conditions. Their votes are only recommendations, which must be approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“The Department must ensure that patients are receiving medical cannabis in a safe and effective manner under the current regulatory framework,” said Joseph Wright, director of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program via email. “The Department will evaluate aspects of the program that can be improved upon as the program becomes more developed. Interested individuals may still submit petitions regarding diseases or conditions to the Department for consideration by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.”
Many of the patients who testified said that they wanted it approved because their condition had not improved through the use of traditional medicine. Jared Taylor, 26, for example, said that his osteoarthritis will likely be helped immensely. Through using medical marijuana, he hopes to manage his pain and inflammation and would use the drug in conjunction with acetaminophen, yoga, and other treatments.
Marijuana “is another tool to manage this condition,” Taylor said.
Numerous studies have proven marijuana is helpful in treating pain, nausea, and vomiting. Until more studies become available, the board will rely on physicians to oversee its use, said board chairwoman Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple.
“We’re not going to get the research I want to see as a clinician,” she said. “I have learned to accept that.”
Many people, including Liana Bran, of the substance-free workplace program for the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, protested the use of marijuana to treat PTSD and autism, citing little evidence proving its effectiveness.
Many also worry that this use will be a gateway to legalizing recreational use. They say they are concerned that 1,000 patients are already planning to use it.
From another angle, dispensaries are also worried, saying the program may not do well with so few patients. Around 3,100 patients are currently approved under state law, but it remains illegal under federal law.
State officials also announced that those who have been approved already for their medical marijuana license can expect to receive their ID cards at the end of October. Coincidentally, growers say their first crop will also be ready for sale around that time.