Illinois: Judge Orders Officials To Reconsider Medical Marijuana For Migraines
By Derrick Stanley
A judge has ordered health officials in Illinois to rethink their decision to leave migraine headaches off the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use in the state.
A Cook County judge ordered Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah to reconsider evidence presented to members of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board before they voted to recommend approving marijuana to treat migraines.
Shah had previously denied a petition to add migraines to the list.
A suit filed by an unidentified man currently using marijuana to treat migraines prompted the court response. Attorney Robert Bauerschmidt said the middle-aged man has suffered from migraine headaches since adolescence , and has found narcotic painkillers and triptans, the most common treatment for migraines, to be ineffective.
"He's been through everything," Bauerschmidt said. "Marijuana doesn't cure it, but he finds the pain less severe and believes the headaches are less frequent when he's using it."
Illinois law allows medical marijuana for patients who have any of about 40 specific medical conditions, including cancer, AIDS or multiple sclerosis.
A different judge just last month ordered Illinois to add PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) to the list of qualifying conditions.
"It's a potential game-changer for the industry," said Attorney Mike Goldberg. His firm, which handled the prior cases, has pending lawsuits asking to add six other conditions to the list, including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic postoperative pain, osteoarthritis, intractable pain, autism and polycystic kidney disease.
Joe Wright, the former director of the state's medical cannabis program, said adding migraines to the list is not guaranteed.
"I'm not sure that means you'd necessarily have to add it," he said. "That means they have to look at it again in light of what the advisory board considered."