State lawmakers drafted a proposal that would allow for people over the age of 18 who struggle with illnesses like cancer or multiple sclerosis to have legal access to it.
More than 15 states have already legalized medical marijuana and Illinois is one of 11 others who are considering it.
Director of Pharmacy and Research for the Illinois Cancer Care Center Michele Rice said she sees it as another option for patients. "It's always good to have another option for cancer patients and medical marijuana has been shown in clinical trials to have a role."
She said it calms the nausea and relieves the pain. Cancer patients also often struggle with weight loss, and medical marijuana is a way to increase the appetite.
She said it wouldn't be the first drug she'd recommend, but in some situations, it may be the best choice. "When patients get to the end of life, or where they're having issues that can't be resolved by typical medications, it is certainly something that they might need."
Medical professionals said they do want to see some restrictions on a possible law.
Pharmacist Jason Harlow said, "I think it could be abused if there's not enough control over the product."
He said he hopes legislators are well prepared with specific guidelines, so it doesn't become easily accessible. "I want to see it treated like other prescription medications and not something where you could go to a specialty marijuana shop."
However, as doctors, their focus is on their patients, and they want to help them in any way they can. Rice said, "It's hard to talk to a patient who's in pain or having nausea and tell them there isn't a legal way to help them."
Opponents to medical marijuana believe it will encourage recreational use.
The proposal will now go to the House of Representatives for a vote.