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Cannabis Vs. Opioids​

A Safer Option For Healing​

Medical cannabis can provide the benefits of pain relief similar to opioids but with fewer side effects and better functionality. If only there was a program that allowed doctors to forgo the use of dangerous opioids and prescribe cannabis for the treatment of pain…. Well now they do! 

Doctors in Illinois can prescribe medical cannabis for short term control of pain via the Opioid Alternative Program.

3 Simple Steps​

Become An Opioid Alternative Patient​

To be eligible for this Illinois program, you must be an:

  • Illinois resident 21+ years of age
  • Currently or will be prescribed an opioid
  • CDL, school bus driver permit holders and existing Illinois medical cannabis program cardholder are not eligible
  • Your healthcare professional must complete a one-time online registration process here before certifying any patient for the Illinois Opioid Alternative Program. Patients must be re-certified every 90 days to continue with program.

After the healthcare professional has successfully registered themselves and certified the patient, the patient must then register and enroll online here. The patient will need the following items during the online registration process:

  • Valid Illinois driver’s license or state issued ID
  • Proof of address that matches ID (utility bill, voter’s registration card, bank statement, etc.)
  • 2″ x 2″ color passport photo
  • $10 application fee for each 90-day period (payable with debit, credit or prepaid card only)

Frequently Asked Questions

Opioid Alternative Program​

  • Hydrocodone/APAP (Norco)
    • 5/325, 7.5/325 and 10/325 strengths
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Morphine
    • Morphine IR (immediate release)
    • MScontin (extended release)
  • Acetaminophen with codeine (Tylenol #3 or #4)
  • Oxycodone (Oxycontin)
    • Available in immediate/extended release
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana)
 

Your primary care physician should be who you approach first for this. Given they have both a license to practice medicine in Illinois and an Illinois Controlled Substances License, health care professionals that are permitted to certify patients include:

  • Doctors
  • Physician assistants
  • Advance practice nurses

No. Illinois cannabis law currently forbids the shipping or delivering of cannabis products to one’s home. Cannabis purchases must be picked up in-store.

Unlike the Medical Cannabis Program, opioid alternative patients:

  • Cannot have a designated caregiver
  • Cannot grow their own cannabis
  • Cannot apply for allotment increase
  • Must be re-certified every 90 days
  • After your application has been submitted, you will receive a confirmation email in as little as ten minutes that contains an electronic 90-day medical cannabis card. Print and bring this (along with an Illinois drivers’ license or state issued ID) to the dispensary for immediate access to the facility so that you can make a purchase. 

If your healthcare professional agrees to continue your medical cannabis use in lieu of opioids, they must re-certify you online as previously instructed. Shortly thereafter, you can log back into your opioid alternative account and update your registration and pay $10 for the next 90-day period.

Call Us, Write Us, or Knock on Our Door

Have a question?

The answer to many inquiries may be found on our website. Can’t find the answer? For the quickest reply, call the dispensary and leave a voicemail if necessary. Otherwise, we invite you to use our contact form on this page. A representative will reach out to you as soon as possible. All communication will be kept confidential and we return your message within 48 hours on average.