First of its kind marijuana legislation passes Senate
James Summers works in construction and is no stranger to pain. Recently he had rotator cuff surgery, but he says he's done with opioids for pain management.
"The month of July and August last year I was struggling with sciatica and I know for a fact those two months I ate over 450 Aleve, over the counter pain pills,” Summers said. “And that's not counting Ibuprofen that's not counting norcos, opioids I was taken."
Instead, Summers is now picking up something else: medical cannabis.
"In I think about a weeks’ time, with a chiropractor and making my own edibles, I was pain free. So, I mean it makes that much of a difference,” Summers said.
Voting 44 to 6, the Illinois State Senate passed new legislation that would allow doctors to write short-term marijuana prescriptions as an alternative to opioid pain-killers.
If passed by the house- it would be the first-of-its-kind legislation in the country.
"The idea of using cannabis to help reduce those that are on opioids and potentially help deal with this opioid crisis that is affecting thousands of Illinoisans and millions across the country,” HCI Alternatives spokesman Chris McCloud said.
At this point, the FDA has not approved marijuana as a "safe and effective" drug in any form. But for some like summers, it worked.
"You don't get that physical addiction to where it will take you down that path,” Summers said. “Because eventually the doctor cuts you off of those opioids and most people end up going to heroine. So it gives you another option."