Insurance Trends and Information for Age Management Physicians: October 2019

Insurance Issues with CBD and Cannabis

John J. Rush, M.D., MBA, MHA

CBD is one of more than 120 compounds, known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.  Unlike other cannabinoids, such as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is a non psychoactive cannabinoid and its interaction with receptors in the central nervous system and immune system can offer many medicinal benefits, offering significant health benefits for a wide range of medical conditions.

We are learning more everyday about the great potential of CBD as a treatment for epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Tourette’s’ syndrome, glaucoma, muscle spasm and other illnesses that affect the nervous system in particular. The results are promising. CBD may also limit inflammation in the brain and nervous system, which may benefit people experiencing pain, depression, insomnia, and certain immune-system disorders.

Most people tolerate CBD well, but there are some potential side effects. CBD treatment can cause complications with other medications such as opioids, blood thinners, anti-convulsants, anti-psychotics and immune suppressant drugs and are an on-going concern for practitioners.

Protecting yourself against possible malpractice claims should be a concern for all practitioners who prescribe CBD. An average cost of defending a malpractice claim is approximately $30,000-$40,000. This includes attorney’s fees, expert witness costs, and reimbursement fees. Settlements can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars in addition to defense costs. Should a claim arise from CBD complications, most practitioners will find they do not have coverage under their current policies.  Don’t wait until a claim presents itself – the time to buy insurance is before a claim!

CBD practitioners should understand the implications of prescribing CBD and take care to ensure their practice is adequately covered.


For more information, contact:

John J. Rush, MD, MBA, MHA
Chairman & CEO, Green Leaf Insurance Company
1715 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036