(CBS) — Some Illinois doctors are reluctant to begin prescribing medical marijuana for patients who qualify.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports on why physicians are putting up roadblocks.
“I asked my primary care about the medical marijuana card. She said she would not be able to,” 19-year-old Chris Favela says.
He’s convinced marijuana will help him cope with the numerous ailments associated with Multiple Sclerosis. He was disappointed when his doctor refused to sign the papers recommending him for the state’s new medical marijuana program.
“She simply said it wasn’t even possible,” Favela says.
“It’s not surprising. We’ve been experiencing this for a long time,” says Victoria Mendicino, who works for Good Intentions.
The private company helps patients apply for medical marijuana cards and finds doctors willing to recommend the drug. It’s a tough job. Of the 1,300 patients they’ve seen, Mendicino says 900 have physicians who refuse to make recommendations.
“That’s a pretty big percentage of doctors not willing to sign … so it has taken a toll on the program,” she says.
Those investing in the program are concerned they won’t make much money. They had expected at least 100,000 patients to be approved for the program, but so far, there are only 1,600.
Why are doctors reluctant? Mendicino thinks it’s a lack of education about how the program works.
But the president of the Illinois State Medical Society cites other issues.
“Some doctors are not quite clear of the actual value,” William McDade says. “There may be other treatments that doctors actually prefer instead of medical marijuana.”
Dr. McDade says some doctors are also concerned about patients abusing the drug.
Good Intentions wants to provide physicians with more information so they feel more comfortable about prescribing medical marijuana.