A Cook County judge ordered the Illinois State Department of Health add intractable pain to the department's list of conditions that allows patients legal access to medical cannabis.
The Director of the Department of Health, Dr. Nirav Shah, twice refused the condition of the list. In 2016, the now defunct Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted 10-0 to add intractable pain to the list of state qualifying conditions. But Shah denied the addition, citing a "lack of high quality data" as his reason.
Judge Raymond Mitchell said the state's decision to exclude chronic pain was "clearly wrong".
Cook County Judge Raymond Mitchell ruled that Shah's decision was "clearly wrong" and noted that two medical journals had reviewed 45 clinical studies of cannabis used to treat pain "The record shows that people with intractable pain are they would benefit from the medical use of cannabis, "the judge wrote.
The ruling could have profound implications for the Illinois medical cannabis program. Currently, the state lists 40 debilitating conditions, but among patients across the country, intractable pain is the most frequently cited reason for the use of medical marijuana.
The judge's decision was the result of a lawsuit filed by Ann Mednick, a Rolling Meadows woman who has taken opioid pills to deal with the extreme pain caused by osteoarthritis but wants a treatment with fewer side effects .
"Illinois is years away from the times," Mednick told the Chicago Tribune. "The state needs to meet."
A spokeswoman for the health department says that Mitchell's decision will be appealed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.