Rather than recommending medical cannabis, physicians must certify that the patient has a qualifying debilitating medical condition. In order to make this certification, physicians must have a bona fide physician-patient relationship, have an ongoing expectation to care for and treat the patient, review the patient's medical history, and complete an in-person physical examination of the patient within 90 days prior to completing the certification. The physician must be licensed in Illinois as a doctor of medicine or osteopathy, be in good standing to practice medicine in Illinois, and have a controlled substances license under Article III of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.

Physicians providing certifications generally are not permitted to have an economic interest in or work for or with medical marijuana cultivation centers or dispensaries. Physicians are not permitted to refer patients to dispensaries.

Additional guidelines for physicians and the certification forms can be found on the Medical Cannabis Health Care Professional Information. The certification must be sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health by the physician.

Qualifying Medical Conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Crohn’s Disease (including, but not limited to, ulcerative colitis)
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Severe Fibromyalgia
  • Spinal Cord Disease
  • Including but not limited to arachnoiditis
  • Tarlov Cysts
  • Hydromyelia
  • Syringomyelia
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
  • Parkison’s Disease
  • Tourette’s
  • Myoclonus
  • Dystonia
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I (RSD)
  • Causalgia
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II (CRPS)
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Nail-Patella Syndrome
  • Residual Limb Pain
  • Seizures (including those characteristic of epilepsy)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Autism
  • Chronic Pain
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Migraines
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • Neuro-Behcet’s Autoimmune Disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome
  • Or the treatment of the following conditions:
    • Terminal illness with a diagnosis of 6 months or less; if the terminal illness is not one of the qualifying debilitating medical conditions, then the certifying health care professional shall on the certification form identify the cause of the terminal illness; or
    • any other debilitating medical condition or its treatment that is added by the Department of Public Health by rule (as provided in Section 45 of the (410 ILCS 130/) Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act).


Medical professionals have a legal right to recommend cannabis as a treatment in any state, as protected by the First Amendment. Established by a 2004 United States Supreme Court decision to uphold earlier federal court rulings that found doctors and their patients have a fundamental Constitutional right to freely discuss treatment options.

More resources for medical professionals can be found here.