Illinois is one year into its four-year medical marijuana pilot project, and doctors' opinions are divided.
Doctors' trade group, the Illinois State Medical Society, has no official stance on pot's medical benefits, or lack thereof. However, the Society's current president, Dr. Thomas Anderson, says the membership is split.
"Because we have doctors within the organization who feel like it is a value drug in certain settings, we have doctors in the organization who feel like it's a useless substance that doesn't even belong on the shelf with other medications."
However, the Society did advocate for a change in state law. Originally, doctors had to recommend patients for the program. Many were unwilling.Now Anderson says physicians must only certify that a patient is under their care and has a qualifying condition. "That's it. The doctor specifically does not prescribe medical cannabis under Illinois law. And that's real important because at the federal level any doctor that prescribes medical cannabis is putting his federal narcotics license at risk." Patients hope more doctors will be willing to take that extra step.