The following is a guest post from Jeff at MMJ Canada. MMJ Canada has provided cannabis and cannabis alternatives to eligible patients in a safe, professional, and upscale environment for over 5 years. Offering free education from our friendly consultants, as well as complimentary consultations with medical professionals who have dedicated their time to educating patients on what will work best.
What You Need to Know
In the age of today, cannabis continues to become a more and more popular option around the world, both as a medical alternative and of course for recreational reasons. However, this can affect many areas of our lives, and possibly none more so than our medical lives as one would expect. While the effects of cannabis use on one’s health, both long and short term has been researched in some great detail, especially recently, there still is a great deal that remains to be seen, especially in the realm of long term health effects. As such, those who are in charge of our health, and especially those in charge of paying for our healthcare, are greatly interested in what these effects, both positive and negative might be. Among those interested, include of course insurance companies. How cannabis can affect your insurance policy and coverage is a topic of quite a bit of debate, especially concerning the legalities, and just what said companies should do. Today, we will be exploring the legalities of what insurance company can do to a cannabis user, as well as other ways in which cannabis use, either medically or recreationally can affect a customer’s policy. Let’s get started!
Why do People turn to Cannabis?
So, at this point you might be asking yourself; why do people even turn to cannabis? Well, there are a host of reasons that one could present, and many of them are quite common. You might be surprised whom the average cannabis user is, recreationally speaking, and the myriad of ailments that can respond well to the use of cannabis is quite extensive. Despite what many think, the teenage “stoner” stereotype is far from the truth, while of course those individuals exist, it is “soccer moms,” according to recent studies that are the most frequent users of cannabis on some level or another. From helping those suffering from depression, OCD, anxiety and other mental issues, to chronic pain, and issues relating to malignant pain, and complications from chemotherapy and radiation. Many people, in areas where it is legal (and even some where it is not) have been finding relief in the form of cannabis. In fact, for thousands of years our species has been using marijuana for herbal and spiritual purposes; it has only been recently that such a negative stigma has been attached to it. Many people even use cannabis as an alternative to many modern medications. There is a great deal of research that still needs to be conducted, but many states, and nations across the world are quickly realizing the potential of cannabis in many economic and industrial areas. With the rising opioid epidemic, coupled with the plain old nasty side effects that can come with many modern-day medications and treatments, an option that can provide the same positive effects, but without the negative can be quite appealing. It is no wonder then that so many people are turning to marijuana, for as patient after patient will tell you, and as many studies show, cannabis may just be the option for those out there searching.
So, then what is all the fuss about? Well, it all comes down to the probation of cannabis in the mid 20th century in the United States. Soon, the rest of the Western world, and many other nations began to make cannabis usage, possession, and cultivation illegal. Why? Well, that will depend on who you ask, but if you go by what the United States DEA says today, it seemed to only be for political and special interests reasons vs. the good of the public as was claimed. Since then, the laws and regulations against cannabis have varied far and wide. In some areas, consuming cannabis just one time can end in a life sentence, or even death. In other places, it is not completely recreationally legal. The legal availability of cannabis of course effects the ways in which not only people can obtain it, but in how research and studies can progress. In areas where cannabis is not an available alternative medication, drug abuse rates are higher, as well as a possible related lowering in the rates of opioid overdose deaths. Many people wish to turn to cannabis to seek relief from their symptoms, or sometimes to just improve their lives, but the varying legality can make it very difficult to do so. Many places where cannabis is illegal is due to the lack of knowledge involved. However, research cannot be done where it is illegal, so it is a vicious cycle. In many places, it seems that marijuana only continues to be illegal, simple because it already is, and few government entities wish to do the work to discover the truth of the matter one way or another.
These legal issues can cause many complications for the patients who use cannabis for medical reasons. From the lack of access, to it just being too expensive when they can get it. For those whom swear that cannabis has saved their lives by helping their medical conditions, it can be crushing to not have these options available to them. Despite this however, there are many areas and nations who are legalizing cannabis, and allowing patients, and even recreational users greater access than ever. So, what does this mean for the health industry, specifically insurance companies? If medical cannabis is recognized as a medication, then how do insurance companies view it? You may not like the answers, but we will get to them shortly, and explore just what they mean.
Problems with Insurance Companies and Policies
Since the legality of cannabis can vary so greatly depending on location, it can really become difficult to know just exactly, what is ok, and what is not. However, there is a simple way to go about figuring this out. First, local laws and policies may vary, so it is always important to consider that, but if cannabis is legal where you are, life insurance companies can, and often do factor that into the price of your policy in some way. Medical users are penalized far less, and the amount you smoke plays a big role in what they consider a “smoker” or not. If you consume cannabis, your insurance company knows about it, there is a good chance you are going to pay for it in some way. In places where it is illegal, you really do not have to worry about insurance, as there is no reason that they would ever know, as it being illegal, there is typically not a set of methodologies to go about acquiring that information.
There are of course a few interesting cases, take the United States for example. In states where cannabis is legal in one way or another, life insurance companies can vary their rates however they like. However, health insurance, since it is regulated by the federal government where marijuana is still illegal, it doesn’t even come up, and plays no role! It all really depends on where you are, and how the local laws work. But if it’s legal for you to use, you’re going to have to understand the give and take of that, and how it can affect your insurance.
Now you know! As with most things, it is going to depend greatly upon where you are, and the local laws of the land when it comes to cannabis laws, and how they can, or will affect your insurance policies. Some companies in some areas can pretty much do whatever they like, while others are completely restrain in the actions that they can take. It is up to you, to consider this if you are in the market for some new life insurance policies, but it seems very likely that it won’t be the end of the road for you any longer, you just might have to pay a little bit more.