Ask the Expert

Novus Health’s Medical Director on the Changing Face of Marijuana and Insurance

By December 21, 2018 No Comments

With the legalization of cannabis in Canada now officially here, the landscape around both medical and recreational marijuana use is changing, with everyone from employers to insurance companies needing to adapt to our new reality. And understandably, these changes have raised many new questions from those in the industry.

The Cannabis Cover Masterclass 2018 was held in Toronto on November 28, 2018, gathering together experts from the cannabis industry and beyond to explore some of these questions as Canada adapts to its new cannabis laws.

As part of this event, Dr. Michael Szabo, Medical Director of Novus Health, joined a panel of experts for a segment called “Group benefits: The changing face of medical and recreational marijuana at work.” The panel discussed everything that employers might need to know regarding cannabis use and their employees’ benefits, including what conditions related to cannabis should be covered by insurance plans, what sorts of associated patient costs they might expect, the latest in clinical evidence on medical cannabis, and what implications the legalization of marijuana has on employee-related liabilities and insurance claims.

The panel also touched on the currently polarizing nature of this topic in the medical community. According to Dr. Szabo, transparency and balance is needed: we need to be able to discuss both sides of the issue in a transparent manner. He pointed out that discussing the concerns about cannabis doesn’t mean you are anti-cannabis or close-minded; medical cannabis is a drug like any other, with both benefits and risks, and with the newness of these laws we still don’t have all the answers about its effects, both positive and negative.

The panel went on to discuss the point that evidence and compassion should not be opposed—in other words, doctors should not turn their backs on potentially helpful treatments just because the evidence is not yet adequate. With a frank and careful discussion between a patient and their doctor outlining the risks and unknown factors involved, the decision to treat certain conditions with cannabis can still be an ethical option even as we wait for longer-term studies to tell us more.

With an array of well-informed speakers joining the conversation, the event was a productive look into the future of cannabis, medical care, and insurance.

View the full event program to learn more.

For more valuable health information, visit the Ask the Expert section of our blog.

Leave a Reply