Medical cannabis as an alternative for pain management.
Prescription drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Medical cannabis is now being recognized as an alternative and effective treatment for pain management.
A study published by JAMA in 2014 showed that legal, medical cannabis programs are associated with a reduction in the use of opioids. States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared to states without these laws.
The Illinois Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP) requires physicians to be the gatekeepers who control access to medical cannabis. Doctors of medicine or osteopathy who have a current and valid Illinois license under the Medical Practice Act and a current, valid Illinois controlled substances license are allowed to certify a qualifying patient for medical cannabis use. No other licensed professionals (including dentists) may do so. The physician must also have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with the qualifying patient.