Welcome to Issue II of Our Special Cannabis and Workers' Comp Newsletter!

My Upcoming Presentations:

 

I will be speaking on 'Medical Marijuana and Workers' Comp"  Sticky Situations" for the Philadelphia Bar Association- Workers' Compensation Section Lunch & Learn CLE: 
 

Friday, February 22, 2019   
12:30 to 1:30 PM.  
1101 Market Street, 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107

 

NEWS NUGGETS

My Workers' Comp Cases:

I currently represent (5) injured workers across the state who are seeking to have their carrier reimburse their out-of-pocket expenses for medical marijuana.  These cases are in various states of litigation,

Three of these workers are off opiates after many years of use.  Their injuries date back to 2009, 1992 and 1977!!  All three were forced off opiates by their comp carriers, who are now refusing to reimburse their MMJ costs.  All three report better pain relief and quality of life on MMJ versus opiates.

My other two clients have opted to use MMJ to treat their more recent but very serious injuries with MMJ instead of going down the bumpy road of opiates.  One told me that, after using MMJ, it was the first time they experienced being :"pain-free" since their injury.  

Other MMJ News:

Pennsylvania is currently considering expanding the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana beyond the current 21 and are accepting public comments:  Click below to submit comments:

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Programs/Medical%20Marijuana/PA%20MMAB%20-%20Process%20for%20adding%20changing%20or%20deleting%20serious%20medical%20conditions.pdf

Understanding the Lingo:

Confused about medical marijuana terminology?  Here are some common terms:

MMJ:  Medical Marijuana.  Generally contains significant amounts of THC as well as lesser amounts of other cannabinoids and terpenes (defined below).  Medical marijuana is the same thing as marijuana, though the intended use is different and the formulations are geared towards treating medical conditions.

Cannabis Sativa:  The plant.  Marijuana and hemp are two types of this plant.

Hemp (aka Industrial Hemp):  A cousin of marijuana, the hemp plant contains significant amounts of CBD and trace to no THC.  Hemp-based products do not get you high.  CBD products are extracted from hemp, not marijuana, as marijuana contains only small amounts of CBD.  

Hemp is also used to make fibers, food and even plastics.  

Cannabinoid:  Compounds found in cannabis (marijuana & hemp) which act on the body's endocannabinoid system and produce varying effects.

THC:  (Tetrahydrocannanibol):  The cannabinoid in marijuana responsible for the 'high,' also has analgesic, anti-spasm and appetite.enhancing properties.

THCv:(tetrahydrocannabivarin);  This cannabinoid is believed to be beneficial in reducing appetite and has anti-convulsant and anti-anxiety properties.

CBD: (Cannabidiol):  This cannabinoid has anti-anxiety, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and does not get you high.

CBN:(Cannabinol):  Mildly pschoactive, has sedative effects.

CBG:(Cannabigerol):  Has anti-inflammatory properties.

Terpenes: Essential oils found in all plants, including cannabis, which add flavor and are believed to interact with cannabinoids and either enhance mood or and/or moderate side effects such as sleepiness.

Welcome to Our Special Cannabis and Workers' Comp Newsletter!

Hot News Nuggets Regarding Workers' Comp and Reimbursement of Out-of-Pocket Costs to Injured Workers:

My office has filed a test case in Lancaster seeking to have an injured worker reimbursed for their out-of-pocket MMJ costs.  This worker suffers from intractable pain due to failed cervical surgery.  The Claimant was severely addicted to opiates and was suffering from deleterious health effects from the use of opiates.  The worker is now off all opiates and an example of how beneficial MMJ can be as a treatment, at a fraction of the cost for the carrier.  This is, to my knowledge, the first case of its kind in PA,

I have further confirmed that at least one small PA-based carrier is reimbursing injured workers for their MMJ provided they have come off opiates!  In addition, I am aware of several anecdotal stories of workers being reimbursed for their MMJ costs across the state.

For the first time, a Utilization Review Determination found the use of medical marijuana to be reasonable and necessary for an injured worker.  A Petition to Review has been filed by the carrier and is pending in Northeastern PA.

In New Jersey, Bill A4505 has been introduced by Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli requiring workers' compensation and PIP automobile carriers to provide coverage for the costs associated with the use of medical marijuana.  The injured worker will be required to show that (1) they are a qualified medical marijuana patient in NJ; and (2) at least one other medical treatment has been attempted and found to be unsuccessful in treating the patient's "debilitating medical condition that qualified the patient for the medical use of marijuana."