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Illinois to Allow Medical Marijuana for the Treatment of Intractable Pain

January 19, 2018
Patients with diagnosed incurable pain will now qualify for cannabis treatment.

A PPM Brief

A Chicago judge has ordered the Illinois Department of Public Health to add intractable pain to its list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana eligibility. The state, which launched its medical cannabis pilot program in 2013, currently includes residual limb pain and complex regional pain syndrome Type II on its list of qualifying debilitating conditions. Individuals diagnosed with one of the listed conditions are eligible to apply for a medical cannabis registry identification card.

The state’s Public Health Department, which has been arguing against this addition since 2015, plans to appeal the judge’s decision. Agency Director Nirav Shah, MD, has previously noted that data for effectively treating intractable pain is lacking. Other states, such as Minnesota and Pennsylvania, do include intractable pain on their lists of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis.

The differences between intractable and chronic pain are described in a recent Pain News Network piece with PPM editorial advisor Forest Tennant, MD.

In related news, the US Department of Veterans Affairs stated in late 2017 that it would not pursue a proposal to research the use of medical marijuana for veterans suffering from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. The reason given is that medical cannabis is not legalized at the federal level.


Last updated on: January 19, 2018
Continue Reading:
A Case For Intractable Pain Centers: Part 1
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