Medical cannabis as an alternative for pain management.
Prescription drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Medical cannabis is being recognized as an alternative and effective treatment for pain management. JAMA published a study in 2014 that explained the documented shift in states that had legalized cannabis for medical use. State medical cannabis programs are associated with a reduction in the use of opioids. States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate, compared to states without these laws.
The Illinois Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP) requires physicians to be the gatekeeper for access to medical cannabis. Doctor of medicine or osteopathy who has a current and valid Illinois license under the Medical Practice Act and a current, valid Illinois controlled substances license. No other licensed professionals (including dentists) are allowed to certify a qualifying patient for medical cannabis use. The physician must also have a bonafide physician-patient relationship with the qualifying patient.