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Workers’ Compensation directed to cover medical marijuana costs

20178376 (Re), 2017 CanLii 67428 (NB WCAT)

A man was receiving Workers’ Compensation after he suffered a back injury at work. He had tried several types of pain medications but suffered negative side effects from each. One of his doctors documented that his best relief was provided by a combination of marijuana vapour, Tylenol 3, and Flexeril. His request to have his medical marijuana prescription covered by Workers’ Compensation was denied. He appealed this decision.

The Appeals Tribunal stated that its decision should rely on both the medical evidence and the best interests of the injured worker, explaining that its decision would not be based on the opinion of a single medical doctor. The Appeals Tribunal explained that a worker is entitled to compensation for medical aid if he has suffered an injury as a result of a workplace accident.

The worker’s family physician and his physiatrist both supported the worker’s use of medical marijuana to manage his pain. Both physicians reported that medical marijuana along with Flexeril and Tylenol 3 provided the worker with the best pain relief. The worker’s orthopaedic surgeon did not prescribe him marijuana but acknowledged the worker’s use of medical marijuana in a report written to the worker’s family physician.

The Appeals Tribunal ultimately accepted the evidence of two of the three doctors who had assessed the injured worker and reported that the worker needed medical marijuana to properly alleviate his pain. The Appeals Tribunal ordered the Commission to reimburse the injured worker for past and future medical marijuana expenses.

You can read 20178376 (Re), 2017 CanLii 67428 (NB WCAT), in its entirety here.

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