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Conditions that Qualify for Medical Marijuana Use in Illinois

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 of medical marijuana conditions 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. Please ask your doctor if medical marijuana should be used to help treat your specific medical condition.**

ALS

Although there is no cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, 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. 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.

Autism

For people with autism, marijuana has been found to help reduce the likelihood of serious behavioral episodes. Autism is a developmental disorder varying in severity, characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication, and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought or behavior. It has been linked to the improvement of sleep patterns for people with autism. Medical marijuana has also been used to help in severe forms of epilepsy sometimes accompanied by autism. Marijuana may also increase receptiveness to learning.

Cancer

Many doctors will prescribe patients with cancer medical 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 difficult side effects, including the vomiting, nausea, and loss of appetite associated with this treatment for cancer. 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.

Epilepsy

Also treated with medical marijuana, epilepsy is a neurological seizure disorder which affects the nervous system. 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 replacing their conventional medication with cannabis. Epileptic seizures can be relieved by some of the compounds contained in medical marijuana. Epilepsy is the only medical condition for which medical marijuana has been approved for both adults and individuals under the age of 18.

Glaucoma

For glaucoma, marijuana use has been shown to help stop the damage caused by intraocular pressure (IOP) but it can also help reverse deterioration of the optic nerve. It has been shown that eye pressure may be lowered by consuming cannabis. Glaucoma is considered the leading source of blindness in the world. The combination of medical marijuana with traditional glaucoma medication is widely accepted as a positive and effective treatment method within states that allow medical marijuana. Most patients are treated with topical medications -- such as eyedrops -- for glaucoma. Medical marijuana can be used for patients who cannot tolerate typical glaucoma medications.

HIV

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 associated with HIV. Medical marijuana is effective in treating the symptoms caused by many HIV medications, including: nausea, lack of appetite, nerve pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

People with Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have the option of treatment with medical cannabis. Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, both forms of IBD, are chronic disorders involving inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis involves the digestive tract and causes both ulcers and inflammation affecting the lining of the rectum and large intestine. On the other hand, Crohn’s Disease 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. Medical marijuana for IBD can be useful when managing symptoms such as, abdominal pain, joint pain, cramping, diarrhea, poor appetite, weight loss, fever, and nausea. While there is no cure for IBD, some studies have shown that cannabis for IBD can improve the quality of life for people with inflammatory bowel disease.

Multiple Sclerosis

For people with Multiple Sclerosis, medical marijuana has been found to help with some symptoms. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a 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. By using medical marijuana, Multiple Sclerosis patients have had reduced muscle stiffness and tremors, allowing for better mobility. Medical marijuana can also help increase the individual’s balance, bladder control, speech, and eyesight.

Parkinson's disease

Parkinson’s disease patients may choose to treat their symptoms using medical marijuana. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an incurable nervous system disorder that gradually develops overtime. Symptoms can vary for individuals, and can include any of the following: tremors, slowed movement, posture and balance problems, speech and writing changes, rigid muscles, and no automatic movement. For those with Parkinson’s, medical marijuana can improve anxiety, insomnia, nausea, weight loss, and pain management.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis may choose to treat their painful disease with medical marijuana. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes joints to become stiff, painful, and tender. Sometimes the skin, lungs, eyes, as well as the heart and blood vessels can also be affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Medical marijuana helps patients with RA by decreasing inflammation in joints, improving sleep, and helping to ease morning pain.

Spinal Cord Disease and Injury

Individuals who suffer from a spinal cord disease or injury are often at the mercy of their symptoms. 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 around the spinal cord. 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:

  • Autism
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
  • Dystonia
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • nterstitial cystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myoclonus
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Residual limb pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Seizures (including those characteristic of Epilepsy)
  • Severe fibromyalgia
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Spinal cord disease (including but not limited to arachnoiditis)
  • Spinal cord injury is damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia
  • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

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