As a practicing physician for over 25 years, I have witnessed many patients forced to unlawfully use cannabis after all other medical options failed to help them with their pain and symptoms. As a specialist in internal medicine, hospice and palliative care, I observed first hand their improved quality of life.
It’s nearly 100-days since the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board approved 11-debilitating conditions not originally included in the very restrictive and limited number of conditions in the original law. The Board consists of some of the most respected physicians and patient advocates in Illinois. Their task was to thoughtfully consider each new proposed medical condition, review the benefits, examine the research and make a determination on whether cannabis would be an effective medication. They heard testimony from a wide variety of opinions, including me, and overwhelmingly approved PTSD, Migraines, Post-Operative Pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Neuropathy and five other worthy conditions for medical cannabis treatment. Their endorsement is credible and deserves immediate approval.
Unfortunately, Governor Rauner has remained silent on this issue and there is no word on whether he will follow the Board’s recommendation. Meanwhile, patients continue to suffer.
There is wisdom in moving ahead carefully and cautiously, but we must move forward. We must eliminate barriers standing in the way of patients receiving life-changing treatment. Every day that passes is another day someone endures pain and suffering preventable with the use of medical cannabis under a physician’s direction. Governor Rauner, implement the widely supported law including the new list of covered conditions, so patients can finally get the treatment they desperately need without fear of prosecution.
Bruce Doblin, MD MPH