Today’s post comes from Kristina Thompson at the Jernigan Law Firm.

Cannabidiol: The New Aspirin?

Recently a doctor suggested to one of my clients that cannabidiol (CBD) might provide a pain management option for his neck pain. It’s a first (for me) to see CBD oil in a client’s medical records as a potential pain relief remedy. My client jokingly referred to CBD oil as the “new aspirin.” And, based on what I’ve learned this week, he’s probably right!

However, I didn’t even know the legality of CBD oil in North Carolina, how you would buy it, or how much it would cost. So, for your benefit, here is everything I learned this week about CBD oil.

CBD 101

  1. CBD oil comes from the hemp plant, not marijuana. Thus, it technically should not contain psychoactive (i.e. THC) ingredients. Should not create a “high” when used.
  1. Hemp derived CBD products are legal in North Carolina, and hemp is legal to grow in North Carolina as of 2017. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has not fully accepted industrial hemp.
  1. CBD stands for cannabidiol, and is advertised to help with pain relief, depression, anxiety and other ailments.
  1. CBD works by acting on the body’s endocannabidnoid system and research indicates it may have neuroprotective properties – thus making it a great option for diseases like multiple sclerosis. Studies have also shown that it may help prevent cognitive decline.
  1. Hemp extract, or CBD oil, comes in varying potencies and can cost between $39.99 to $199.99 for a 500 ml bottle.
  1. Warning: CBD products can still cause you to fail a drug test.

All very interesting BUT . . . how will this fit in the world of workers’ compensation?

Last year the Industrial Commission issued the Opioid Utilization Rules to address “the problems that can arise at the intersection of the current opioid epidemic and related issues in workers’ compensation cases.” CBD oil is not mentioned in the Opioid Rules; however, it’s estimated that over 60,000 people will die this year due to opioid misuse. Medical practices are now introducing hemp and CBD to patients suffering from chronic pain, and other illnesses, as an alternative to opioids.

The next question will be whether or not insurance companies will approve and pay for CBD oil. In my case, it appears that they will.

I hope that insurance companies and providers will continue to consider CBD. It seems a better alternative to long-term use of oxycodone. Issues of concern may be the reliability of the strain of CBD oil purchased or the ability to purchase through an online agency. One adjuster mentioned that they are paying for CBD oil in some cases, especially where medications have failed, but there may be filling issues.