As we get older and our lives expand, we gain more and more responsibility. Whether you have started a family, launched a new business, bought your first home or a second car, you need to ensure you financially protected in the case of an injury or death. Not only does life insurance replace your income when you die, which is especially important for younger families who may not be able to sustain their standard of living without access to that income, it also helps pay off debts and other expenses like mortgages, credit cards, car loans, and funeral and burial costs. The last thing you want is to pass on your financial burdens to your spouse, parents, children or other loved ones while they are grieving your loss. While no amount of money can ever replace a person, life insurance will bring you and your family peace of mind; and now, life insurance in Ontario is no longer as expensive.


National Policy Update

Although medical marijuana has been legal for 17 years in Canada, many insurance companies are only beginning to offer coverage for it. Sun Life Financial, Canada’s second largest insurer with headquarters in Ontario, recently updated their policies to include coverage of medical marijuana in its Canadian health insurance plan due to rising demand from employees. Loblaw, a Canadian grocery chain, became the first major company in the country to ask insurers to cover the cost of medical marijuana. However, insurers are taking a cautious approach. Sun Life will only cover pain associated with cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, and palliative care for serious illnesses like chemotherapy-induced nausea, spasticity from MS, and anorexia due to HIV. Firms like Great-West are particularly interested in covering marijuana in place of addictive pharmaceuticals like opioids.

Canadians are legally allowed to buy medical cannabis with money from health spending accounts (HSA) because those are financed by employers, but insurance companies decide whether or not they want to provide marijuana coverage, how much coverage they provide, and what illnesses are covered. The caution around marijuana coverage seems to be influenced by the higher costs and lack of studies that prove the drug’s effectiveness. The majority of countries around the world still ban the use of marijuana, which has greatly limited cannabis research. However, Ontario is breaking ground on patient-focused marijuana research and the results are quite impressive.

Cannabis Research: The Findings

Since marijuana was legalized in Canada, life insurance companies are no longer treating its use as high risk like tobacco. In fact, Sun Life was among the first providers to stop considering marijuana use as the same as tobacco. They updated their policies in 2016, and other insurers followed closely behind. Marijuana users are no longer receiving smoker rates, which had a drastic impact on the premiums. A plant that was once labelled criminal and dangerous is now being recognized for the relief it offers for a variety of symptoms and conditions. But what makes cannabis medical? Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that the cannabis flower secrets. They imitate compounds that our bodies naturally produce, known as endocannabinoids, which are responsible for maintaining internal stability and health. If there is a deficiency or problem with our body’s endocannabinoid system, we suffer from unpleasant symptoms and physical complications like pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation.

THC and CBD are the most popular cannabinoids, but there are a number of other useful cannabinoid acids produced by cannabis. While these other acids are not known to produce the same intoxicating effects as THC and CBD, they have many antibiotic and insecticidal properties. It’s difficult to know the exact number of cannabinoids produced by cannabis but reports speculate there are anywhere from a dozen to over a hundred. This huge gap is because many of these chemicals are present at such low levels and they are difficult to detect. The Apollo Cannabis Clinic in Ontario is conducting patient-focused clinical studies to determine how cannabis affects driving performance, chronic pain, and PTSD. Of those participating in the studies, 27% have stated they lowered their use of opioid medication and 30% claimed they felt less pain.

More Information

Apollo Cannabis Clinic is just one of many organizations dedicated to learning more about cannabis. As the number of registered users grows, so does the need to find more scientific-based evidence about both the harms and benefits of medical cannabis. You can find more information via McMaster University. Additionally, InsurEye is a great hub for information regarding life insurance and cannabis, news, quotes and reviews.

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