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Illinois Appeals Adding ‘Pain’ as Medical Marijuana Qualifier

February 9, 2018
(gilaxia/iStock)
CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Department of Public Health has appealed a decision to add severe pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in a case that could greatly expand access to drug in the state.

The appeal filed Thursday comes weeks after a Cook County judge ordered the health department to add “intractable pain,” or severe and constant pain with no cure, to the list of more than 40 qualifying medical conditions.

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The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by Ann Mednick of Rolling Meadows. The 58-year-old petitioned the agency to add the condition, saying medical marijuana would have fewer side effects to treat pain for sacroiliac joint dysfunction and osteoarthritis than the opioids she’s been prescribed.

“Opioids have wreaked havoc on my life and I want nothing to do with them,” she wrote in a Friday opinion piece for the Chicago Sun-Times . “Cannabis can ease pain without any of those side effects.”

Public Health Director Nirav Shah denied Mednick’s request last year, saying there was a “lack of high-quality data” from clinical trials to add the condition to the list. But Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Mitchell called Nirav’s reasoning “clearly erroneous,” citing medical journals that reviewed 45 clinical studies looking at medical marijuana’s effect on treating chronic pain.

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Health department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold declined to comment Friday, citing pending litigation.

The issue has come up elsewhere.

Five states list “intractable pain” as a qualification for a medical card: Arkansas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia. In California, which has one of the nation’s most expansive medical marijuana programs, the drug can be prescribed to any debilitating illness a physician sees fit.

Illinois first approved a medical marijuana pilot program in 2013. Last year, post-traumatic stress disorder was added to the list of qualifying conditions.

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  • jim

    7 years ago I replaced my doctors prescribed opioids with home grown legal cannabis. I didn’t want to kill my liver or become addicted to the pills because the system makes it too easy to get hooked on prescriptions and the drug industry has switched to promote maintenance drugs for “best” profits. I truly believe Cannabis has saved my life and improved my quality of life in many other ways also. Medical cannabis will save health care costs of Medicare and Medicaid billions and big pharma knows it. We live in a profit before people society until we demand better by voting the bribery out.
    God bless all those who work to end the war on drugs.
    Gentle Jim

    • Steven Brittain

      I agree, I cannot take opioids they make me very ill. I have had 7 failed back operations cannabis is my only relief. These idiots are getting their pockets lined by big pharma to keep cannabis illegal or limited. So sad dept of health cares not about our health at all.

      • jim

        Yes, And the bribery money (Citizens United) has changed many former agencies from protecting the American public into protection of the big money monopolies that they were designed to save us from. Follow the money and the powerful, you will find our true enemies.

        • Steven Brittain

          So true

    • Jacek R

      Good thinking on your part, Jim. Stay well. Enjoy the cannabis. We should all be able to grow it in our gardens along with tomatoes, carrots, and peas. It’s just a plant …..a very beneficial plant. Good health to you.

  • Johnson
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