Pubdate: Wed, 23 Dec 2015
Source: Dispatch, The (Moline, IL)
Copyright: 2015 Moline Dispatch Publishing Company, L.L.C.
Author: Ross Morreale


The article, "Few Q-C residents OK'd for medical marijuana," 
highlights how health care organizations are prohibiting physicians 
from participating in the medical cannabis program and draws 
attention to a disturbing trend putting politics before patients.

We are hearing stories from patients on how medical cannabis has 
changed their lives. Cannabis stimulates appetite and reduces nausea 
for cancer patients. It relieves rheumatoid arthritis pain and allows 
people to become active members of their families. It helps people 
live an improved quality of life and with edibles coming to market, 
even more will benefit from a variety of delivery methods to minimize 
and in many cases eliminate their symptoms.

Instead of prohibiting physicians from certifying patients, 
administrators should defer to their physicians on whether cannabis 
is a suitable alternative medicine for their patients. After all, the 
patient's doctor is in the best position to assess their condition 
and to decide appropriate treatment options. Patients trust their 
physician will provide the most comprehensive care and offer all 
possible treatment options for their condition. Eliminating medical 
cannabis from the equation is shortsighted and a disservice to patients.

There are 39 conditions approved for treatment. State law requires 
physicians submit a certification form verifying the patient's 
condition. This is not a "prescription." It's simply certifying the 
condition exists. Since no prescription is required, physicians do 
not risk their DEA controlled substance licenses.

Health care systems need to follow the lead of reputable institutions 
like Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Springfield Clinic by 
acknowledging the benefits of medical cannabis and offering patients 
all possible treatment options.

Ross Morreale, chairman, Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois
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