Workers’ Comp Covers Worker’s Alcohol Addiction but Not His Marijuana Issues

A worker claimed that work injuries he sustained after being crushed by a partial load of 1,800-lb. pipes transformed him from a “young and highly functional” worker with no substance abuse issues into a marijuana and alcohol addict. The WCB nixed his workers’ comp claim and the worker appealed despite finding that the substance abuse problems arose after the injury. But after weighing all the evidence, the Appeals Commission rendered a split decision: the worker’s alcohol problems were properly diagnosed as Alcohol Use Disorder and was covered an emotional reaction to a work-related physical injury or treatment process; but his marijuana use, at least in the eyes of his treating providers, was the result of reasonable use of cannabis for medical treatment and didn’t meet the standards for DSM-V Cannabis Dependence diagnosis [Decision No.: 2018-0540, 2018 CanLII 121618 (AB WCAC), Dec. 10, 2018].