Life Insurance Rates Rising for Medical Marijuana Users

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A recent press release by Life Ant, a life insurance resource, states that policyholders who are classified as smokers pay as much as 3.5 times more for a life insurance policy than a non-smoker. As more states legalize the use of medical marijuana, life insurance rates for Cannabis users have also climbed as life insurance providers liken the risks associated with marijuana use to that of cigarette smoking.

Thomas Rockford, CEO of Life Ant, emphasizes that categorizing marijuana smokers in the same rate tier as cigarette smokers not only makes it harder for Cannabis patients to afford life insurance coverage, but also does a disservice to their beneficiaries.

Is Medical Marijuana a Health Risk?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking “harms nearly every organ of the body,” causing about 90 percent of lung cancer and 80 percent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) deaths. It is a known contributor to heart disease, stroke and several types of cancer.

Medical marijuana smoke, however, has far fewer health risks. The latest research on this issue comes from Donald P. Tashkin, M.D., of David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In his report, “Effects of Marijuana Smoking on the Lung,” Taskin concludes that “evidence implies far lower risks for pulmonary complications of even regular heavy use of marijuana compared with the grave pulmonary consequences of tobacco.”

Why Marijuana Smokers Pay High Life Insurance Rates

While marijuana smoke is said to carry fewer health risks than cigarette smoke, the University of Washington’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI) explains in its fact sheet, “Respiratory Effects of Marijuana,” that “[smoking marijuana] results in approximately 5 times the carbon monoxide concentration, 3 times the tar, and the retention of one-third more tar in the respiratory tract.”

It’s not clear why marijuana smoking does not result in more cases of cancer, but this type of data has raised concerns among life insurance companies.

Related: 5 Reasons You Should Purchase a Life Insurance Policy

According to the ADAI, digestible marijuana products “reduce the respiratory effects” of smoking the drug. However, the data states this method of administration makes it harder for users to monitor correct dosage.

With the cost of life insurance rates at high levels for those prescribed under this type of treatment, medical marijuana patients may need to plan their finances further in advance to cover the cost of a life insurance policy.

Editor’s note: does not condone recreational marijuana use. This news report is intended for informational purposes only; medical marijuana patients should discuss safe use practices with their physicians.

Photo credit: Neeta Lind