The problem with chronic pain is that there are very few tools to treat it that don’t have side effects of one kind or another. Over the past several decades, there has been a shift in medical paradigm to treat chronic pain more aggressively. Up until recently, physicians were being encouraged to treat pain with the use of pain medications. Most pain medications are classified as “opioids.”
Although opioids provide some relief from pain, patients who take them on a consistent basis don’t get as much relief as they had hoped. To make matters worse, they can alter your ability to think and may be the cause of falling production in the workforce. For those who are injured on the job, opioid use may become a means to an end. With prescription opioid use reaching epidemic proportions, it has become a huge problem for employers nationwide. You can’t deny a worker the right to control their pain, but taking opioids for chronic conditions while working can come with a cost.
Many states have either approved the use of marijuana or are considering it for pain management, and some states are even approving it for recreational purposes. Although some feel that it may cause more problems in the workplace, others believe that its use might benefit both employees who are suffering from chronic pain and their employers.
There is evidence to suggest that the use of marijuana instead of opioids for controlling pain is a much better option, especially in the workplace. However, federal drug laws in cities like Boston might limit the prescription of medical marijuana in workers’ compensation cases.
The medical conclusions keep mounting that the benefits of medical marijuana might outweigh opioids significantly when it comes to both the amount of sleep someone gets and the management of chronic pain. Not considered to be addictive, it is a better alternative to opioids, which are highly addictive in nature and have many side effects. Medical marijuana has been proven to be a viable way to control pain without the side effects that you can find with other prescription painkillers.
According to an offshore injury lawyer, It’s not only helping injured workers; statistics indicate that when medical marijuana is legalized, there is as much as a 25% reduction in morbidity related to opioid use. The only problem associated with marijuana is that it can slow reaction time, leading to an increase in car collisions. In high doses, it also might be possible to develop psychoses and may be what is termed a “gateway” to harsher drugs.
There is also a huge debate about whether or not medical marijuana should be prescribed in workers’ compensation cases. Since it is still illegal under federal law regardless of what the state law is, it is not FDA-approved. That means that there is no standard of prescription when it comes to medical marijuana or any real evidence about what the right dosage is and how people metabolize and react to it.
California is one of the only states currently considering allowing the prescription of medical marijuana in workers’ compensation cases. California Senate Bill 863 is a workers’ compensation bill that is in an independent review, debating the process for billing disputes for medical marijuana and the use of it in workers’ compensation medical treatment claims.
Many states are challenging workers’ compensation legalities. With many states having budgetary constraints and the high cost of workers’ compensation claims, they are seeking to limit liability and reimbursement to injured workers. That is causing some real problems for those who are injured on the job. Since they aren’t allowed to sue their employer for personal injury suits, all the cutbacks increase the likelihood that a person who is injured while working will start a downward spiral toward poverty.
Workers’ compensation laws are being challenged across the nation. It isn’t just the use of medical marijuana that is at issue, but that is a good place to start. With so many side effects of opioid use and addiction, if there can be some agreed-upon prescription regulations for medical marijuana, it may be a good alternative to the traditional way that chronic pain is managed and the side effects that cost not only employers but employees in relation to opioid use.