Pubdate: Sat, 16 Jan 2016
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2016 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Marc Sloan


I have been a practicing physician in the Chicagoland area for more 
than 30 years with a specialty in pain medicine. A recent report from 
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention draws attention to the 
fact that Illinois must allow patients the opportunity to choose 
cannabis over highly addictive and sometimes deadly prescription drugs.

Opioids and narcotics remain the primary drugs for treating chronic 
pain despite their dangerous side effects. According to the CDC, 44 
people die each day from prescription drug painkiller overdose, and 
health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers 
in 2012. This epidemic is disproportionately affecting women, with a 
more than 400 percent increase in painkiller overdose deaths since 1999.

Cannabis has a critical role in treating pain, has minimal toxicity 
and presently no risk of lethal overdose. THC has been shown to be 
anti-inflammatory, and there are cannabinoids receptors in the same 
areas of the brain that are shown to have changes in chronic pain.

In the Journal of the American Medical Association, the 2015 study 
"Cannabinoids for Medical Use" reports there was a 30 percent 
reduction of pain with the use of cannabinoids. Furthermore, Clinical 
Journal of Pain, in the article "Cannabinergic Pain Medicine," 
reported that 71 percent of the clinical studies examined found 
cannabinoids were associated with pain-relieving effects.

Like all present medication, cannabinoids are not the cure for 
chronic pain. However, it is a highly effective pain-management tool 
that is a safer alternative to many prescription drugs.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and Gov. Bruce Rauner must 
allow physicians the opportunity to use medical cannabis as an 
effective treatment option.

- - Dr. Marc Sloan, Deerfield, Pain Management Consultants
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom