“I’ve suffered from Crohn’s disease for a long time and want to try medical weed to treat its symptoms. How do I find a doctor who can prescribe cannabis for this condition in Chicago?”
Good question. But first, you need to understand that doctors don’t prescribe medical cannabis. Instead, they are asked to certify that you have one of the qualifying medical conditions to get your medical marijuana card.
In Chicago and elsewhere in the state, the Medical Cannabis Registry Program is administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDHP). The list of practitioners who can certify you is pretty broad. So you can go to your own physician to get certified, if they are up to date on the benefits of medical marijuana and willing to do this.
Health practitioners who can certify you for a medical marijuana card include advanced practice registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, doctors of medicine (MDs), and doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO).
There needs to be a bonafide healthcare provider-patient relationship between the two of you. The healthcare practitioner also has “responsibility for the ongoing care and treatment of the qualifying patient's debilitating condition.”
As stated, the process of getting your medical marijuana card in Chicago starts with obtaining your patient certificate from your healthcare practitioner, if you have one of the qualifying conditions.
Once certified, you need to complete the patient portion of your medical marijuana application in Illinois. To do this you’ll also need:
- A passport-style photo taken within the last 30 days by a smartphone or a professional photographer
- A color copy of a current driver's license, state ID, or the photo page of a U.S. passport
- A credit card to pay the online application fee
After you’ve submitted your application you will receive a provisional letter that you can print out and use to buy medical cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary such as Verilife. The letter is valid for up to 90 days.
Once you have been approved to be part of the medical marijuana program in Chicago, you’ll receive a digital copy of your medical card that you can print out and use. Illinois no longer provides physical medical marijuana cards.
You might also wonder why you need to get a medical marijuana card since it became possible to buy legal recreational weed in Chicago and all of Illinois in 2020. While that is true, before this, in 2013, Illinois became the 20th state to authorize a program for the cultivation and dispensing of cannabis for medical purposes—and this has some specific advantages for you.
With a medical cannabis card, you’ll be able to grow your own cannabis at home, and, if there’s a marijuana shortage, you’ll receive priority purchases. Also—and this is a big benefit—you won’t be charged the 34.75% adult-use tax.
I should also mention that while there is a wide range of healthcare professionals you can go to for medical marijuana certification, not all of them will be up to date on weed’s health benefits, or supportive of your decision to use it medically.
That’s why it’s a good idea to use a certification process such as HelloMD’s. Their practitioners are well-versed in cannabis benefits for all qualifying conditions in the state and will take the time needed to answer your questions and review your medical history. Another bonus is the process, including the live consultation, is done completely online, so you can get certified without leaving your home.