A Cook County judge has ordered health officials to reconsider their decisions on including migraine headaches on the list of viable conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana license in the state of Illinois. The judge overturned Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah’s denial of the petition to add migraines to the list.

The judge ordered Dr. Shah to reconsider the evidence presented to the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board before its members voted for its recommendation to approve marijuana as a use to treat migraines. The court ruling was in response to a suit filed by a man who stated he had been using marijuana to treat headaches. Attorney Robert Bauerschmidt said the middle-aged man has suffered severe migraines since adolescence, stating that no other medical solution was successful in his treatment. Marijuana doesn’t cure it, but he finds the pain less severe and believes the headaches are less frequent when he’s using it,” Bauerschmidt said.

Federal law prohibits marijuana possession, but Illinois law allows it for its patients who have any of the about 40 specific medical conditions that could be treated through the use of cannabis. The latest ruling comes after a judge last month had ordered Illinois to add post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use. The separate rulings suggest that judicial review may continue to expand this program. “It’s a potential game-changer for the industry,” stated Attorney Mike Goldberg, whose firm has handed the two prior cases. Attorney Goldberg has pending lawsuits asking to add other conditions to the list, including autism, osteoarthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Illinois attorney general’s office spokeswoman Annie Thompson emphasized that the most recent ruling does not require the addition of migraines to the list. Joe Wright, the former director of the state’s medical cannabis program, also stated that adding migraines to the list was not guaranteed.


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