By Ed Coghlan.
It took a while to get medical cannabis available in Illinois, but now that it is, people are using it.
The Chicago Tribune reported more than 46,000 people have used medical marijuana in Illinois this year. Almost 75 percent of patients are more than 40 years old. More than 4,000 people used medical cannabis to treat PTSD, about 3,400 treated fibromyalgia and 2,500 people treated cancer.
The number of patients with PTSD who were certified to buy cannabis more than doubled in the state’s fiscal year, to more than 4,000. That surpassed fibromyalgia, which had about 3,400 patients, and cancer, which accounted for about 2,500 patients. Those conditions ranked first and second last year.
A well-known chronic pain advocate in Illinois is Gracie Bagosy-Young, who wasn’t at all surprised by the PTSD news.
“PTSD is far more widespread than many think. This is likely why the rate is so high,” she said. “Additionally, many of the other covered debilitating conditions are considered “rare” and we still have a lack of qualified pain management physicians that are able to accurately diagnose. Many people with pain do not have access to the few qualified pain management physicians due to insurance restraints.”
The other most common qualifying conditions were spinal cord disease and injuries, followed by traumatic brain injuries and post-concussion syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
For Bagosy-Young, the increase in medical cannabis is an indication that more medical providers are embracing it.
“I see physicians accepting Medical Cannabis more and more every day. It seems that they are willing to accept this alternative to opioids because they are experiencing so much pressure to stop prescribing pain medications, which isn’t really the correct reason,” she said. “Of the physicians that are hesitating, they are citing the fact that Cannabis is still a schedule 1 drug.
“There is still work to be done,” she added.