Illinois Considers New MMJ Qualifying Conditions

Illinois’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board has made public the petitions it’s currently reviewing for admission to the list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions.

The Board was created last year by the Illinois Department of Public Health, and comprises physicians, nurses, a medical ethicist, a pharmacist, and medical marijuana patients. The petitions, which were accepted in January and February 2015, were made public by the Associated Press. The petitions request the addition of PTSD, anxiety, migraines, insomnia, bipolar disorder, autism, gout, osteoarthritis, and — the most contentious — chronic back pain.

Illinois state law does not currently consider any type of generalized pain as a qualifying condition; the board is thus likely to study chronic back pain thoroughly. Other difficult-to-define conditions like anxiety may also be carefully examined.

Another question the Board may address is whether the kinds of health care providers able to recommend medical marijuana be expanded — someone with PTSD might be treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist rather than a medical doctor. Although psychiatrists with MDs are considered physicians under current law, the argument may be may to include those with other credentials as well, though this would require a change in the law.

If the Board does decide to make recommendations, these must then be approved by the Dept. of Public Health director before moving to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. Under current law, final action regarding the petitions must happen with 180 days of the initial application.


Photo Credit: Amanda Landers

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