Illinois patients to docs: 'What about marijuana?'

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois doctors, nursing homes, hospitals and hospice organizations are ramping up for their role as gatekeepers in the state's new medical marijuana program.

Doctors are gauging whether marijuana's benefits outweigh its potential for abuse. Nursing homes are deciding whether residents will be able to keep it in their rooms. One hospital briefly considered applying for a marijuana dispensary permit. And hospice organizations are searching for guidance on marijuana for dying patients.

Medical professionals find themselves at the center of a quickly changing legal landscape with minimal scientific research to back the claims of marijuana fans.

Dr. Martha Twaddle of the Barrington-based hospice organization JourneyCare says families are already asking: "What about marijuana?" She says she tells them there isn't yet enough evidence that benefits offset the risks.

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