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Illinois could become the First State to Recognize Autism as a Qualifying Condition

Earlier this month, an Illinois panel, The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, voted to add chronic pain syndrome, chronic postoperative pain, intractable pain, chronic pain due to trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, osteoarthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and autism to the list of 39 existing qualifying conditions for the use of medical marijuana.

The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, composed of doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and patients voted in favor of adding these conditions to the list. However this board’s recommendations must now be approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The board’s record of having new conditions added to the list, historically, has not been a winning one. Last month the Department rejected 11 new recommended conditions.

The criticism comes from individuals who claim that expanding the program before the drug goes on the market would be premature. Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 2013 with some of the strictest guidelines in the nation. Only 3,100 patients have been issued medical marijuana cards so far. Those approved patients are expected to be able to purchase marijuana within the next couple of weeks.

If the Department decides to approve these eight conditions, Illinois could become the first state to recognize autism as a qualifying condition.

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