Workers’ Comp Must Cover Worker’s Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain
A worker hurt his back at work. He tried to return to work about one month after the incident, but was experiencing increased symptoms. He saw a chiropractor and an orthopaedic surgeon, who recommended that he visit a pain clinic. Although the worker tried many different medications to help manage his pain, it was an ongoing struggle. So his doctor gave him a prescription for medical marijuana. But workers’ comp refused to cover the prescription. The Appeals Tribunal disagreed. The worker had a chronic condition. Traditional medications failed to relieve his pain and had more side effects than marijuana. That’s why his doctors concluded that medical marijuana was the most effective option for managing his pain. The Tribunal ruled that the worker definitely had an established need for medicinal marijuana as it forms a necessary part of his medical aid, which is directly linked to his compensable injury. So it ordered the workers’ comp board to pay for his medical marijuana prescription [20167943 (Re),  CanLII 39662 (NB WCAT), June 27, 2016].