According to a report from the Illinois Department of Public Health, medical cannabis consumption in the state is up more than 80 percent.
The Chicago Tribune says that more than 46,000 people in Illinois have used medical cannabis this year. The Chicago Tribune report also states that almost 75 percent of patients are over 40 years of age.
The report also states that the most common medical conditions treated with cannabis are cancer, fibromyalgia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Other common qualifying conditions are traumatic brain injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, post-concussion syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord disease and injuries.
The number of medical cannabis users is likely to continue increasing, officials say.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed into law a measure allowing medical cannabis to be prescribed to patients instead of opioid painkillers.
The state legalized the use of medical cannabis in 2013, making it the 20th American state to do so. Under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is allowed in tightly controlled circumstances. More specifically, legally registered patients can use medical cannabis as long as they have a doctor’s prescription and a medical cannabis license.
Moreover, the state’s medical cannabis program has listed more than 30 specific medical conditions that can qualify patients to use the drug for treatment.
According to previous reports, more than 34,700 patients have qualified to participate in the state’s medical cannabis program as of April 2018.
And as a progressive move, Gov. Rauner signed into law Senate Bill 336, which allows doctors to prescribe cannabis as an alternative to addictive opioids. Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who was the bill’s House sponsor, the legislation aims to reform pain treatment and provide patients with more options to manage their pain.
Also called the Alternative to Opioids Act, the bill was made effective immediately. The
new measure was put in place as a way to solve and fight the opioid epidemic that has been plaguing the country in recent years. Experts believe that marijuana may be the only effective remedy to the continuously rising number of deaths that are related to opioid overdose.