Medical Cannabis in Illinois: the Program and Regulations Explained

With the inception of the Medical Cannabis Registry Program in 2013, patients in Illinois can now get access to medical cannabis to help alleviate symptoms of their conditions. For those with qualifying conditions, the Illinois Department of Public Health helps manage the registry, applications, and the issuing of medical registry cards to assist those qualifying patients in their Illinois medical cannabis journey.

Get Help with a Medical Cannabis Card in Illinois

Once you confirm you have a qualifying medical condition for medical cannabis, you must turn to a healthcare professional for a certificate. To better understand what’s ahead in order to apply for and receive a medical cannabis card, check out the process here.

How Do You Become a Medical Cannabis Patient in Illinois?

There are two options for becoming a medical cannabis patient in Illinois — through the Medical Cannabis Patient Program, or the Opioid Alternative Program. At Windy City Cannabis, we are happy to guide you through the process for each to help you become an Illinois medical cannabis patient, ensuring you properly complete every step of your application.

To learn more about each program, and select which one is best suited for you, check out the differentiations below.

Medical Cannabis Patient Program

Cannabis has been shown to assist in alleviating medical conditions. With this solution, patients can help improve their health and wellness.

In order to be a part of the Medical Cannabis Patient Program, you must:

  • Be an Illinois resident.
  • Have a qualifying condition.
  • Get a doctor or healthcare professional certification.

Opioid Alternative Program

Opioids are commonly prescribed for pain management, but can be addicting or dangerous to those that take them. For a safe way to get pain relief, medical cannabis is an alternative available.

To qualify for the Opioid Alternative Program, you must:

  • Be an Illinois resident.
  • Have an active opioid prescription.
  • Get a doctor or healthcare professional’s certification.

Are You Eligible? Medical Cannabis Qualifying Conditions in Illinois

To qualify for medical cannabis in Illinois, you must have one of the qualifying conditions established in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. It is possible that as the program grows, more conditions will be added. However, at this time, if your condition is not on the list, you can fill out the Petition to Add Debilitating Conditions form and submit it to the Department of Public Health for review.

Medical Cannabis for Minors

For minors with qualifying conditions, Illinois permits medical cannabis use, however, there are more strict guidelines for these patients. For minors, several practitioner certifications are required, and they must have a certified caregiver who is registered with the state.

Medical Cannabis for Veterans

For veterans who are under the care of the VA, no written certification for medical cannabis is required. Instead, these veterans must provide 12 months of medical history from the VA facility. For veterans not receiving care from the VA, the same certification process is imposed as with other medical patients.

Medical Cannabis for Terminal Illness

For patients diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a 6-month life expectancy, they can apply for an expedited medical cannabis card.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does medical cannabis cost in Illinois?

    The cost of medical cannabis varies based on the product you are getting, however, medical cannabis is subject to a much lower tax than recreational cannabis which can result in significant savings.

  • What do I need to shop for medical cannabis in Illinois?

    In order to shop for medical cannabis in Illinois, you will need a medical cannabis card. In addition, you must be 18 years or older, and if you are under 18, you must have an adult caregiver with you. 

    In order to get a medical cannabis card to shop for medical cannabis, you will need to apply for the Medical Cannabis Patient Program with the Illinois Department of Public Health. This involves a process of getting a health professional’s certification stating your need for medical cannabis and your qualifying condition, as well as an application, as well as an application fee associated with the card. 

  • What are potential medical cannabis side effects?

    Medical cannabis products may, or may not, help alleviate your symptoms, and the effectiveness varies from patient to patient. Some users may experience side effects including dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, light-headedness, drowsiness, and nausea.