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Who's Using Medical Marijuana In Illinois And Why

Jennifer Brdlik
Elevated Care

Medical marijuana use is up more than 80% in Illinois, with PTSD as the most common condition treated, according to a report by the state Department of Public Health.

More than 46,000 people have used medical marijuana in Illinois this year, The Chicago Tribune reported. Almost 75% of patients are older than 40.

More than 4,000 people used medical cannabis to treat PTSD, about 3,400 treated fibromyalgia and 2,500 people treated cancer. Other common qualifying conditions are spinal cord disease and injuries, traumatic brain injuries and post-concussion syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Cook County had the most people using medical marijuana, with 7,500 certified patients.

Addiction specialists warn about the possibility of substance abuse.

Dr. Aaron Weiner, of Linden Oaks Behavioral Health, said the state's medical marijuana program allows for enough pot that a certified patient could use it daily, which may lead to addition. He also warned that some Illinois dispensaries sell marijuana that contains up to 90%  THC, which is the element that causes a high.

The number of doctors who certified patients increased to 3,000 this year, up from about 2,100 last year. Most physicians approved less than 25 patients each, though nearly 30 certified more than 100 patients each.

The number of medical marijuana users will likely continue increasing, officials said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed into law a measure that allows medical marijuana to be prescribed instead of opioid painkillers. The law also eliminates the fingerprint and criminal background check requirements that delayed applications.

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