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Talking to Your Doctor About Illinois Medical Marijuana

What you need to know before talking to your physician.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has expressed its commitment to the effective implementation of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program.

When talking to your physician, consider the following points:

  • Bring any available medical records you may have
  • Explain what you hope to gain from the use of medical cannabis
    • For example, do you want to restore appetite? 
    • Are you seeking to relieve pain, nausea, vomiting or other symptoms caused by your medical condition or the medications used to treat your medical condition
  • Let your doctor know that you are aware of some of the side effects that may occur, such as dry mouth, dry or red eyes, headache, dizziness, drowsiness or anxiety.
  • Be prepared to discuss with your doctor the benefits of medical cannabis versus the risks.
  • Use professional language, such as “medical cannabis or medical marijuana.” Refrain from using slang terms such as “pot” or “weed.”
  • Remind your doctor that they are not writing a prescription, but instead giving a written certification.
  • This is a document dated and signed by a physician stating that there is a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

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Connect with a practitioner

Connect virtually with a licensed practitioner to find out if medical marijuana is right for you.


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Ask your doctor if your use of the following medications should be adjusted with the use of medical marijuana:

  • Anticoagulants
  • Antiplatelets
  • Aspirin
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Dronabinol
  • Narcotics
  • Phenobarbital
  • Sedating anticholinergics
  • Sedative hypnotics
  • SSRI
  • TCA
  • Theophylline

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The physician-patient relationship

Physicians are not “prescribing” medical marijuana. Instead, a physician is asked to certify that his or her patient has one of the qualifying medical conditions or symptoms of a qualifying condition and that a bona fide relationship has been established.

For more information visit IDPH

This information is not a referral by a physician to a specific dispensary. This information is being provided by the dispensary for the education and support of the qualifying patient or designated caregiver. The choice of dispensary is the patient's alone. A dispensary may not accept referral of patients from a physician. Neither may a physician refer a qualifying patient to a dispensary.

Physicians should have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with the qualifying patient.
A physician should be able to comfortably certify that the qualifying patient is under the physician’s care, either as the patient’s primary care physician or for his or her debilitating medical condition. See 77 Ill. Adm. Code 946.10. 

Physicians may accept payment from a qualifying patient for the fee associated with the examination required before recommending medical marijuana.
However, physicians may not accept any remuneration for making a medical cannabis certification, nor can they accept any remuneration from any dispensary for such a recommendation. See 410 ILCS 130/35.

Physicians are entitled to a “safe harbor” under Illinois state law.
The Medical Disciplinary Board may not discipline physicians for making a proper certification for medical marijuana to qualifying patients. See 410 ILCS 130/25(e).

Unlike other pharmaceuticals, physicians cannot “overprescribe” medical cannabis.
Physicians are not required to regulate dosage, strain or administration of medical cannabis. Under the law, qualifying patients are unable to procure unlimited amounts of medical marijuana.


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