In August 2018, Illinois passed the Alternative to Opioids Act of 2018, allowing a treating physician to refer a patient to the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program to avoid prescribing of opioids for conditions and to allow the use of medical cannabis instead. The pilot program starts at the end of January and medical cannabis dispensaries are gearing up for it by increasing infrastructure and workforce numbers. Training is a big part of the preparation:
Staff at Green Thumb Industries, a Chicago-based medical marijuana provider, are training to learn how to patients safely transition from opioids to medical cannabis, said Jennifer Dooley, the company’s chief strategy officer.
“You can’t just stop cold turkey, especially transitioning from opioids to cannabis,” Dooley said, noting that staff will collaborate with patients to slowly reduce their opioid use.