Review of cannabis reimbursement by workers' compensation insurance in the U.S. and Canada

Am J Ind Med. 2021 Dec;64(12):989-1001. doi: 10.1002/ajim.23294. Epub 2021 Sep 16.


Changing public attitudes about cannabis consumption have currently led 36 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to approve laws that make cannabis available to consumers with qualifying medical conditions. This article reviews the 36 states and the District of Columbia with medical cannabis access laws to determine if the state or the District also allows reimbursement of the costs of cannabis for a work-related health condition under that state's or District's workers' compensation insurance (WCI) laws and administrative regulations. The legal basis for a state allowing or not allowing WCI reimbursement is described. The review found that only six of the 36 states expressly allow cannabis WCI reimbursement, six expressly prohibit it, 14 states do not require reimbursement, and 10 states, and the District of Columbia, are silent on the issue. The article describes the role of the insurer, treating physician, and worker in obtaining WCI reimbursement in the six states that expressly allow cannabis WCI reimbursement. Comparisons are made to how selected Canadian provinces and territories administer cannabis reimbursement under Canada's new national cannabis legalization law. The article discusses the future role of cannabis legalization in the United States and the evolving role of cannabis from an international perspective.

Keywords: CBD; THC; cannabinoids; descheduling; reimbursement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Cannabis*
  • Humans
  • Insurance*
  • Medical Marijuana*
  • United States
  • Workers' Compensation


  • Medical Marijuana