By Ed Coghlan.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has appealed a decision that would add “intractable pain” as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis.
A 58-year old Illinois woman had sued arguing that medical marijuana would have fewer side effects to treated pain for sacroiliac joint dysfunction and osteoarthritis than the opioids she’s been prescribed, but Public Health Director denied the request saying there wasn’t enough high-quality data from clinical trials to add intractable pain to the list of approved conditions.
As US News and World Report reported last week: Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Mitchell called Nirav’s reasoning “clearly erroneous,” citing medical journals that reviewed 45 clinical studies looking at medical marijuana’s effect on treating chronic pain.
Not surprisingly, the position taken by the state agency has raised the ire of a number of chronic pain advocates.
“There is research available demonstrating which clearly demonstrates the value of cannabis in the treatment chronic pain to deny these patients this treatment is unnecessary and immoral,” said Stu Smith, who with his wife Ellen, advocates nationally for medical cannabis for chronic pain.
For Gracie Bagosy-Young, a self-described chronic pain “warrior” who lives in Illinois, she thinks the patient should have some rights of self-determination.
“Cannabis has never killed anyone. That cannot be said about other legal treatments. It makes no sense to continue to block it, unless you benefit from a big pharmaceutical company in some way of course,” she said. “Why not allow chronic pain patients to try this treatment option and decide what works best for themselves? We only get one body and we want to be sure to get it right!”
Ellen Smith is a chronic pain patient who lives in Rhode Island.
“At a time when access to pain management strategies like opioids is decreasing, we must ensure that people with pain have other options. Cannabinoids have well-documented analgesic properties that make medical cannabis an effective medicine to treat many cases of chronic pain,” she said.
“For many seriously ill people, medical cannabis is the only medicine that relieves their pain and suffering or treats symptoms of their medical condition, without debilitating side effects. Without the inclusion of Chronic pain as a qualifying condition, many in this state will not have this as an option to consider for pain relief.”
Five states have included intractable pain as a condition permissible for medical cannabis.
By the way, Bagosy-Young also runs the Illinois Cannabis Education Expo which will be held all day on April 22 in Northbrook, Illinois. Here’s a link to register.