Chronic Pain, Medical Marijuana & Workers Comp
Pain & Marijuana ..Workers Comp?
At the federal level, medical marijuana is still illegal. Federal workers’ comp, at this stage in the game, is not paying for medical marijuana to workers in pain from work related injuries.
The Institute of Medicine reports that common chronic pain affects approximately 100 million Americans adults at a cost of $560-635 billion in direct medical treatment cost and lost productivity.
Medical Marijuana is a very effective therapy for chronic pain patients because it affects people’s perception of pain, has the ability to mitigate the inflammatory process, and has been shown to affect voltage-gated sodium channels in nerves in a way similar to lidocaine.
On June 20, the Assembly and Senate voted to approve a limited medical marijuana program. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already agreed to sign this bill, which includes several revisions he insisted upon. Finally, New York will be the 23rd state with an effective medical marijuana law.
This bill however will not allow patients to smoke marijuana, which is the most effective form of treatment for many. However, the program represents tremendous progress and will provide safe access to medical marijuana for thousands of seriously ill New Yonkers.
What about the use of medical marijuana in workers’ comp? It's to early in the game to produce concrete evidence that marijuana would be beneficial to workers with painful injuries. Yes, many people find pain relief from cannabis, however, this does not make it a viable medication – and whether employers should be paying for its usage.
In the meantime while all this is being figured out there are more traditional effective ways for workers to manage their chronic pain and that's through good old fashioned physical therapy. There are top New York doctors throughout New York that accept workers comp insurance.