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Can I Make a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Medical Cannabis?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

There have been countless studies showing soothing effect of medical cannabis for both pain and anxiety. However, while many states have embraced the use of cannabis as a treatment for many medical issues, including Minnesota, it remains illegal at a federal level. This has lead to much confusion for those who have been injured at work and who would like to choose medical cannabis as a treatment for pain rather than opiate medications. The question is does federal illegality trump state-level legality?

The answer is no. Even though cannabis, even for medical uses, is still illegal on a federal level, if it is legal on the state-level like in Minnesota, it can still be prescribed for use and still covered by state programs like worker’s compensation. This means that if you are in pain for your injury, you can expand your worker’s compensation benefits to cover medical cannabis use.

The Challenges of Medical Cannabis

While there have been many successful cases for injured worker getting worker’s compensation benefits to cover medical cannabis use, many workers will still face challenges. In many cases, worker’s compensation will challenge medical cannabis use even if the injured worker is the perfect candidate for it. It still adamantly argued that because it is illegal on a federal level, that the benefits should not cover it. However, many courts in Minnesota have already shot down these arguments numerous times, setting a great precedent.

Another worry can be that medical cannabis use can damage the lungs because workers will be smoking it, and any smoke, be it cigarette or cannabis, can do damage. However, that is simply not the case. Medical cannabis is administered in vapor form created in a lab, which has shown to be much better for lungs compared to the alternative. In this vape form, the user can also control the amount of THC that they receive so they can control the pain without being completely debilitated by the “high” they receive. Often, this can be more preferable to opiates that can not only be incredibly addictive, but difficult to control both pain and the “high” they receive. Furthermore, medical cannabis remains a much more affordable treatment for pain than other pain relievers.

Obtaining Medical Cannabis

With the right worker’s compensation lawyer, medical cannabis can go from a pipe dream to a real treatment for pain. However, even after the court battle to get worker’s compensation benefits to cover it, you still need to be certified to use it.

If you have pain, muscle spasms, nerve damage, or anxiety from your work injury, then you already qualify for medical cannabis use, but you will still need to fill out the proper registration. Your doctor will diagnose the condition and confirm your certification, afterwards you will register online and pay a small fee. You will need to re-register annually. After that is complete, you can pick up your medical cannabis prescription at one of the eight patient centers located across Minnesota.

Still Need Help?

While over half of states in the United States recognize the use of medical cannabis, getting it can still be a difficult battle, particularly if you are under the benefits of the worker’s compensation system. However, with the right lawyer, you can get it as treatment for pain without risking opioid addiction. If you have confirmed with your doctor that you have a condition that qualifies for medical cannabis treatment, but your benefits won’t cover it, contact us today. The Law Office of Joshua Borken is dedicated to helping the injured workers of Minnesota, and we know that you have a right to medical cannabis and the benefits to cover it.