Pubdate: Fri, 22 Nov 2013
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2013 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Melissa Henke Hane


In August, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of
Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, making Illinois the 20th state to
legalize marijuana for medical use. Illinois has one of the toughest
laws governing this new program. In January, this program will go live
after nearly a decade of doctors' and patients' perseverance to bring
this law into existence. To be included in the program you will need
to have an order from a licensed Illinois doctor, an extensive
background check and the qualifying patient or designated caregiver
will be issued and possess a valid ID card from the Department of
Public Health.

There are 42 serious or chronic qualifying diseases that will be
eligible for medical cannabis. Narcotics can cause devastating side
effects, including nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, itching,
constipation, decreased hunger and an increased tolerance to the
drugs. Worldwide studies have repeatedly shown that marijuana
decreases nausea and vomiting, increases appetite and lessens the need
for narcotics.

Even though it will be legal and highly supervised, there will
continue to be negative connotations that will inhibit patients from
using medical marijuana. When talking about ailing desperate people,
prejudice has no place in health care. If medical marijuana is offered
as treatment, it should be strongly considered and explored by all
parties involved. Educating patients, caregivers and physicians is an
essential element to making this program successful.

Watching a loved one suffer is never an easy experience. If medical
cannabis can change the quality of their life, please make an informed
decision. Nurses are known for their diligence and advocacy for their
patients. That being said, I strongly support the use of medical marijuana.

Melissa Henke Hane   Granite City