While there are hundreds of conditions that can potentially be helped by the use of medical marijuana, the state of Illinois only recognizes the following conditions as treatable using cannabis. **Please note that this list will be changing as the Illinois law evolves. If you do not see your condition listed, please check back at a later date as we will be updating the list of medical conditions that the state of Illinois deems appropriate for medical marijuana use.**
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also more widely known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that causes loss of muscle control and coordination along the spinal cord, brainstem and motor cortex. Although there is no cure for this debilitating illness, medical marijuana can be used to help relieve the symptoms of the disease, including: loss of appetite and chronic pain caused by muscle spasms and/or stiffness.
Many doctors will prescribe the use of marijuana as an aid to not only help combat the disease itself but also to help alleviate the effects of chemotherapy treatment. Chemotherapy has been known to produce many side effects that can be hard on the patient, including: vomiting, nausea, and loss of appetite. Medical marijuana has been proven to help reduce the feeling of nausea and vomiting while increasing appetite, which helps fight cancer treatment-related anorexia. Studies have also shown that the use of cannabis has a positive effect in regards to inhibiting tumor growth in leukemia and breast cancer as well as the invasion of cervical cancer and lung cancer cells.
Crohn’s Disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, which affects any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. Medical marijuana, particularly sativa strains, have been found to treat Crohn’s Disease. Sufferers of Crohn’s Disease will gain significant clinical benefits from being treated with cannabis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition which affects the nervous system and is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition. Epileptic patients who have used medical marijuana report reduction in headaches as well as decreased seizure frequency when using cannabis instead of conventional medication. Researchers have also recently found that some of the compounds contained in marijuana are effective at relieving epileptic seizures. It is important to note that epilepsy is the only medical condition for which medical marijuana has been approved for both adults and individuals under the age of 18.
Glaucoma is considered the leading source of blindness in the world and is caused by the degeneration of the optic nerve. The leading cause of optic nerve damage in glaucoma patients is intraocular pressure (IOP). Studies have shown that the use of medical marijuana can not only help stop the damage caused by IOP but can also help reverse deterioration of the optic nerve. The combination of medical marijuana with traditional glaucoma medication is widely accepted as a positive and effective treatment method within medical marijuana states.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) occurs when the cells in the bloodstream that make up the immune system become compromised and multiply. The disease attacks the immune system allowing for a person to contract a variety of opportunistic infections. Although there is no cure for HIV yet, there have been many pharmaceutical treatments that help decrease the viral-load within the inflicted patient’s bloodstream and help prevent the virus from reproducing. However, many of these treatments can cause extremely harsh negative side effects. Medical marijuana is effective in treating the symptoms caused by many HIV medications, including: nausea, lack of appetite, nerve pain, anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is disorder that directly affects an individual’s central nervous system and in turn causes deterioration with the individual’s vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. Although the symptoms of MS vary from person to person, one of the most frequent symptoms is muscle spasticity, a symptom that causes intense pain, spasms and eventually complete loss of functionality. The use of medical marijuana by MS patients has been shown to reduce the muscle stiffness and tremors, allowing for better mobility. Medical marijuana can also help increase the individual’s balance, bladder control, speech and eyesight.
Spinal Cord Disease and Injury
Individuals who suffer from a spinal cord disease or injury are often at the mercy of their symptoms. As the spinal cord is the tether that holds together the human body’s central nervous system, many people who are afflicted with an SCD or SCI experience intense pain and muscle spasming and/or stiffness. Medical marijuana can be used to help alleviate muscle twitching, jerking and spasticity by switching on the nerve receptors in the central nervous system that help to aid in muscle spasm. Cannabis can also be used as a natural painkiller and anti-inflammatory in cases with intense chronic pain as well as an appetite stimulant and sleep aid.
Additional Medical Conditions
The state of Illinois has approved the use of medicinal marijuana not only for the conditions listed above but also for these following conditions:
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Arnold-Chiari Malformation and Syringomelia
- Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
- CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II)
- Hepatitis C
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Nail-Patella Syndrome
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Residual Limb Pain
- RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I)
- Severe Fibromyalgia
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Spinal Cord Disease, including but not limited to:
- Fibrous Dysplasia
- Post-Concussion Syndrome
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Tarlov Cysts
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
- Terminal Illness
- Tourette’s Syndrome