Local doctor talks alternatives to opioids - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Local doctor talks alternatives to opioids

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CARBONDALE, Ill. - In an effort to fight the opioid crisis, Illinois lawmakers approved a measure allowing marijuana to be an alternative for those eligible for painkillers. 

A proposal awaiting Governor Rauner's signature would dramatically expand the use of medical marijuana in Illinois. The list of illnesses which are approved to be treated with cannabis would grow from where it currently stands at 41. That would mean patients eligible for opioid painkillers, would have the option of medical marijuana to fight the pain instead. 

"People are becoming more and more aware of this opioid problem and more and more people see these side effects of some of these problems," said Dr. Thalman. 

Dr. Richard Thalman in Carbondale says he's seeing more patients to his Chiropractic office. He says often those patients have been prescribed opioids, but are seeking alternative medicine. 

"They are mindful, and they are seeking options other than just taking a pain pill," said Dr. Thalman. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, on average in Illinois, 8 million opioid prescriptions are filled each year. While only 37,000 people have the proper license to use medical marijuana. 

Dr. Thalman says ointments in his office made from marijuana have proved highly effective for treating pain. 

"We just started carrying this product called CBD and that's a product from cannabis. It's not the THC part, its the CBT which helps with anti inflammation, with pain," said Dr. Thalman. 

Dr. Thalman says he hopes the Governor signs the proposal because he believes its a step in the right direction. Governor Rauner has opposed expansion of the medical marijuana program before. Rauner now has to decide whether or not to sign this expansion.

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