(Natural News) A state judge in New Jersey has issued a ruling that may lead to a requirement that all insurance companies will someday have to cover medical marijuana.
As reported by Natural Blaze, Egg Harbor resident Andrew Watson signed up for the state’s medical cannabis program in 2014, then attempted to get reimbursed for buying medical marijuana over a three-month period.
Watson, who was suffering from neuropathic pain in his left hand after being injured on the job, had a medical condition that qualified him under New Jersey law for medical marijuana. That said, his initial workman’s compensation was turned down.
In court, a psychiatrist and neurologist testified on behalf of Watson, telling the judge that by using medical marijuana, Watson would be able to decrease his use of prescription opioids, which would in turn lower any potential dangerous side effects and risk of becoming addicted, which has been deemed a nationwide epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (RELATED: Prescription opioid deaths surpass gun-related deaths… Big Pharma literally killing more people than GUNS.)
After hearing those arguments, the court ruled that indeed, Watson’s medical cannabis was not only helpful but also necessary to his recovery and ability to function and as such, ought to be covered by medical insurance.
“The evidence presented in these proceedings show that the petitioner’s ‘trial’ use of medicinal marijuana has been successful,” wrote Judge Ingrid L. French, in her ruling. “While the court is sensitive to the controversy surrounding the medicinal use of marijuana, whether or not it should be prescribed for a patient in a state where it is legal to prescribe it is a medical decision that is within the boundaries of the laws in the state.”
She noted that Watson’s decision to try medical cannabis to relieve his conditions over opioids was “cautious, mature, and… exceptionally conscientious.”
The decision is the latest in a series of positive steps aimed at decreasing the use of dangerous, deadly opioids in lieu of medical cannabis that many experts believe is not only far less risky, but very effective as well.
The majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid,” the CDC said on its web site. “Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) quadrupled. From 2000 to 2015, more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. Ninety one Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.”
The agency said that opioid deaths have been increasing for the past 15 years, which coincides with a steady, yet dramatic, rise in opioid prescriptions. Since 1999, the CDC said, the number of opioid prescriptions has nearly doubled, while deaths from drugs like oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone have more than quadrupled. (RELATED: National Academy Of Sciences: Marijuana Can Be Used As A Medicine.)
As medical practitioners cut down on prescribing opioids, there has been a resultant rise in heroin use – because it’s cheaper and widely available – and in overdose deaths from heroin. In August the Washington Post reported:
In terms of both rates and raw numbers, drug overdose deaths have exploded in recent decades. Since 1982, the drug overdose mortality rate has risen by 425 percent, adjusting for population.
They have eclipsed motor vehicle fatalities as a leading cause of death in the United States, according to a new working paper from Christopher J. Ruhm from the University of Virginia. In 1982, motor vehicle deaths were seven times more common than drug overdose deaths, according to Ruhm’s analysis of CDC data. By 2014, overdose deaths had become considerably more common than vehicle fatalities.
In the U.S., a number of states have recently moved to decriminalize both medical marijuana and recreational pot. While recreational consumption remains against federal law, some hope the Trump administration will remove marijuana from the Schedule I list of banned substances. That may go a long way towards requiring medical marijuana to be covered by health insurance.
As HempScience.news reported recently, the country of Israel is moving to decriminalize recreational pot use.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.