Rethinking Long-Term Disability With Cannabis-Assisted Return to Work

Article by Cassandra Williamson-Hopp, Benefits Canada

Rethinking long-term disability with cannabis-assisted return to work Medical cannabis Cassandra Williamson-Hopp

Compared with recreational users, medical cannabis patients frequently use CBD-dominant preparations with the smallest amount of THC to get the greatest improvements in symptom control, function and quality of life with the fewest adverse events, said Michael Koehn, founder of the CannSolve Clinic in British Columbia.

During a session at Benefits Canada’s Chronic Disease at Work conference in Toronto on June 5, Koehn demonstrated how medical cannabis can help an injured employee overcome common obstacles to recovery by providing a brief case study of clinical success.

The case study featured Luke Grunert, who had been in a motor vehicle accident years prior. He suffered from headaches, neck and upper back pain, sleep disturbance and emotional issues. Grunert wasn’t improving, said Koehn, and it was likely his problems would continue for the foreseeable future. His psychiatrist’s report noted Grunert would be unlikely to return to work in his previous role as an electrician and that he wasn’t competitively employable.

“Now, if anyone in this room who works with insurance and helps people access benefits saw a 34-year-old man and the term ‘not competitively employable,’ I suspect some would think it wasn’t a great situation because, not only is he not thriving, but now there’s potentially another 30 years of benefits to be paid out for this person, with what sort of likelihood he’s going to recover?” said Koehn.

Before working with the CannSolve Clinic, Grunert was self-medicating by smoking cannabis with a high THC content, which provided limited benefits. His budget was $600 a month and he exceeded that regularly. “I wasn’t getting better, I was only getting worse,” said Grunert in a video shown during the presentation.

Grunert also had combined physical and psychological symptoms that were worsening, as well as poor tolerance to activity and stress. He was removed from the workplace on long-term disability, his marriage was failing, his family relationships were affected and he was suicidal with intent, said Koehn.

Read the full article here.

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