Dear Illinois Doctors,
I have noticed that many of you are still hesitant and even unwilling to talk to your patients about medical cannabis usage. That surprises me since the MCPP has been up and running for almost 16 months. By all accounts, the majority of the 16,000 patients enrolled in the program are thrilled to be using medical cannabis in addition to or instead of prescription medications. Most feel better and are more productive than they have been in years.
Please be aware that you never had to prescribe it. Previously, you were attesting to recommending its usage. That has changed. All you are doing is verifying that you have a bona-fide relationship with your patient who has 1 or more of the 41 qualifying conditions. You may very well have been threatened by your health care system lawyers or the principles to scare you. You CANNOT be fired nor will you lose your license. The MCPP is a legal, state-run program in Illinois. Please don’t allow them to intimidate you.
Marijuana should never have been put on the Controlled Substance Act at all; certainly not Schedule I. Ansliger, Nixon, Reagan, even Hoover privately admitted that they were aware that it was not harmful. Its demonization was and is the result of racism in this country. First, against Mexicans and then against Blacks.
Here is the link to a very informative article about the Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy. You owe it to all your patients to learn about the endocannabinoid system and how cannabis works in support of it to maintain homeostasis in the body. Simply put, medical cannabis is the safest plant on the planet with few, if any adverse side effects. No one has ever directly died from ingesting cannabis. Yes, some novice users and a few children ended up in the ER because they overdosed on edibles. However, there were no deaths. Overdosing on medical cannabis is not life-threatening. It can make the user feel very uncomfortable for a short period of time.
As you are aware, the average senior is taking 4-5 prescription medications which have horrible side effects including drug interactions. We all know about the current opioids epidemic that has swept our country which kills tens of thousands of people every year. Thousands of patients have successfully weaned themselves off of some or all addictive and harmful medications through medical cannabis usage. The medical cannabis treatment option must be presented to your patients along with prescription medications if you consider yourself to follow the Hippocratic Oath of Do No Harm.
One of the myths about cannabis is that it causes brain damage. This is not true. In fact, medical cannabis is the only medicine that regenerates neurons in the brain and can reverse the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. There is much research and anecdotal information about medical cannabis, in the form of RSO, curing many thousands of people of several different cancers. Most importantly, they do not experience the horrible side effects that accompany chemotherapy and radiation. Also, new research now shows strong evidence that long time cannabinoid usage acts as a preventative measure to keep the body healthy.
Perhaps it will help if I tell you my own personal story. I am a 62 year old woman, adoptive mother of a teenage son, a massage therapist and the product of a very anxiety ridden mother. As a result, I have suffered from a great deal of anxiety and depression throughout my entire life. When I was a college freshman, I tried cannabis for the first time. Something wonderful happened. During the time that I experienced the effects of cannabis, I was calm, relaxed and not at all anxious. It became my anxiety medicine and has remained that way for the past 45 years. It also helps enormously to reduce my muscle aches. I walk 3 miles every day of my life. The only health problem I have is high cholesterol. I’ll bet if I lost 50 lbs, I could cut out my cholesterol medication! I credit my good health to 45 years as a cannabis user.
Here’s the best thing about cannabis; it’s a sleep aid. Unlike the majority of sleep medications, cannabis delivers the user excellent quality sleep. You wake well-rested and refreshed, not groggy and hungover, which is a common side effect of most sleep medications.
Did you realize that humans as well as other animals with endocannabinoid systems have used cannabis for at least 5,000 years? And maybe for as long as 10,000 years. Were you aware that cannabis was the main ingredient in many medicines sold in the US for decades prior to 1937 when it was made illegal?
I am backing up all my claims with lots of resources for you to check out. These include articles about the endocannabinoid system, the make-up of the cannabis plant, education sites for health care professionals and much, much more. Please make the time to familiarize yourself with medical cannabis. You have an obligation to your patients to be informed about such a safe medicine.
Here are the links to the resources pages: