Obtaining Life Insurance If You Use Marijuana
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Currently, 20 states have approved the use of marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes. This trend is likely to grow as voters in more and more states make decisions regarding the legal use of cannabis. And as this acceptance of the recreational and medical use of marijuana continues to grow, the stigma of “getting high” isn’t what it used to be. In fact, just the opposite is happening with a body of evidence growing to show that it can effectively be used to treat a variety of ailments ranging from nausea to premenstrual syndrome, and many other afflictions.
From the point of view of applying for life insurance, as it becomes more and more prevalent throughout the United States, the use of cannabis will become more of an important factor when applying for life insurance. Insurance companies are still grappling with how to classify the use of marijuana in some cases. However, it appears the most are treating it more along the lines of a user being classified as a smoker than as a drug user. This means obtaining a life insurance policy should be relatively easy to obtain in most cases.
Using marijuana for medical purposes
Although the initial rise in the use of marijuana was for recreational purposes, it is fast gaining traction as an option to treat several kinds of medical conditions.
Use of marijuana actually has 4,000 years of history on its side, with ancient writings from India confirming that it was used eons ago to treat a variety of gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, insomnia and to relieve the pains associated with childbirth
Today, most of medical marijuana’s uses continue to be related to pain in some way. A person’s body already makes chemicals that mimic marijuana’s effect when it comes to reducing pain, inflammation and other related functions. When a person ingests marijuana, it can help those natural chemicals work better, improving the body’s responses to pain and other ailments. When the chemicals found in marijuana hit the brain, they release dopamine, the chemical that causes you to feel good when you do things that are pleasurable. The release of a lot of this chemical produces an overall euphoric feeling.
To further legitimize the use of ingredients found in marijuana for medical purposes, the Federal Drug Administration has already approved THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active psychological chemical found in cannabis, to certain conditions. Available by prescription only, it is marketed under the commercial names of Marinol and Cesamet.
It does not matter how medical marijuana is taken, whether through smoking, vaporizing, being eaten or as a liquid extract. For most people, it will help people treat:
Nausea – Marijuana has proved particularly effective when it comes to treating patients undergoing chemotherapy or those who have AIDS. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has even gone so far as to recommend the FDA approved medications in guidelines for treating nausea and vomiting.
Nerve pain – Burning pain in a person’s hands and feet when they suffer from diabetes, AIDS, spinal cord injuries and other related conditions can be lessened through the use of marijuana.
Multiple sclerosis – One of the primary symptoms of this disease, muscle spasms, can be better controlled by using marijuana. An oral spray containing marijuana compounds is currently in use in two dozen countries and final trials for that medication are now underway in the United States.
Chronic pain – Depending on the type of pain a person has, medical marijuana may prove effective, or it may not. It has proven to work in patients with cancer, chronic headaches, arthritis and certain types of back injuries.
Crohn’s Disease – It has actually put some patients in remission who were suffering from this painful inflammatory bowel disease.
Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease – Early testing seems to indicate it has some level of effectiveness on these two diseases, but more studies are required to determine the overall efficacy.
In addition, using marijuana is also being evaluated in the treatment of several other types of conditions and diseases, most notably several anxiety and depression disorders, lupus, PTSD, glaucoma and weight loss.
How smoking marijuana impacts getting life insurance
With the use of marijuana still very much in a dynamic state as more and more evidence is uncovered about its impacts on a person’s body, life insurance companies are still weighing the overall effects marijuana use has when it comes to issuing a life insurance policy.
Most companies have come to the conclusion that marijuana should not be put in the same category as people who use other types of harder drugs such as cocaine, heroin, opioids or other more harmful drugs.
What they are concerned with is the amount of use a person has with cannabis. When a person admits they smoke marijuana (and they always should, since the active ingredients in marijuana will always show up in the results of a urine test taken as part of a medical exam), life insurance companies will want to know how often a person smokes. If it’s only twice a month, that will make a big difference as opposed to someone who smokes every day.
Providers will also want to know the reason for smoking marijuana. If it is for a medical purpose, they may be more interested in knowing the details of the condition that triggered the use of marijuana. Someone with cancer, migraine headaches, arthritis or any of the other conditions mentioned above may have a more difficult time getting the policy they are seeking than anything related to smoking marijuana.
However, if it can be shown that the related condition in question is under control, and that marijuana use is actually helping to mitigate those health issues, then an insurance company is likely to be more forgiving than not. It will probably depend on how an individual insurance company views marijuana use as a matter of overall policy.
In many instances, marijuana smokers are highly likely to be classified as just smokers, and given the same kind of rating as people who smoke nicotine based cigarettes and cigars are given. A few companies may even give an applicant a non-smoker rate if the use of marijuana is connected to a doctor’s prescription.
Just as it is with any major purchase, it’s best to shop around and see what several insurance companies policies are toward marijuana use. There’s a good chance you’ll find a perfect fit if you do enough research and due diligence.