‘I think the lines have blurred with medical marijuana’

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The Co-operators to provide optional medical cannabis coverage

The Co-operators Life Insurance Co. is introducing optional medical cannabis coverage for its largest group plan sponsors.

While the coverage can be added as an optional provision under an extended health-care plan, it requires prior authorization and is subject to an annual maximum.

The insurer will consider cannabis an eligible expense under a health-care spending account, as long as the plan member has met all the guidelines set out by Health Canada. It stipulates that, since medical cannabis doesn’t have a drug identification number, it isn’t eligible for coverage under a prescription drug plan.

However, the Co-operators will consider coverage for conditions where cannabis has been proven effective, such as chronic pain, nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy and muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis.

The Co-operators joins a growing list of insurers now providing options for group medical cannabis coverage, including SSQ Life Insurance Co. Inc. and Medavie Blue Cross.

HelloMD expands white-label telehealth services for Licensed Producers & Clinics to better serve the medical cannabis market

TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — HelloMD, a leading online cannabis telehealth company, today announces expansion of its white-label services for Licensed Producers and brick-and-mortar clinics, to better serve the Canadian medical cannabis market.

The company’s white-labeled patient consult and support services offer Licensed Producers and brick-and-mortar cannabis clinics an opportunity to rapidly expand their patient populations while adding online solutions to better serve the fast growing wellness-oriented cannabis consumer segment.

Many Canadians seeking medical cannabis have physical limitations, live in areas far from the nearest clinic, or simply prefer the discretion and convenience implicit in virtual consults. HelloMD partners can offer their patients branded, online access to healthcare professionals from the comfort of their preferred location, seven days a week. The HelloMD platform has conducted more than 100,000 online medical cannabis consults and been deployed by 100’s of partners.

With zero capital outlay, and in as little as one day, HelloMD white-label partners can launch branded versions of one or more turnkey services:

100% Online Doctor Consultations. HelloMD partner patients experience the convenience and privacy of talking to a licensed practitioner from the comfort of wherever they choose, and interact in an online environment that reflects the partner’s brand. All practitioners are recruited, trained and managed by HelloMD. Patient documents are securely shared with partners via API or accessed via a partner portal.
Education & Registration Services. Following the online consultation, a patient can engage, via video-chat, with a HelloMD patient services team member for help with licensed producer selection and registration. Alternatively, the partner can choose to have the patient returned to them immediately following the practitioner consult.
Content Solutions. HelloMD can produce ongoing, tailored educational content and make it available within the partner’s branded patient portal. For partners reaching first-time patients, this is an opportunity to extend their position as a trusted source, without the heavy lifting of content creation and management.
The Flowr Corporation (“Flowr”) (TSXV: FLWR) recently launched HelloMD’s turnkey set of telehealth services. Patients and those seeking a medical consultation can access the HelloMD service through Flowr’s website https://flowr.ca/hellomd/.

“Flowr’s partnership with HelloMD is part of our plan to offer a premium service and product experience to our medical clients. Flowr believes in easy access to cannabis for those who can benefit from its medicinal qualities and making the HelloMD platform available through our website gives clients convenient, discreet access to healthcare professionals at the time and place of their choosing. For some clients, this may be their only option to access medical cannabis,”​ said Dr. Lyle Oberg, Flowr Chief Policy and Medical Officer.

“HelloMD has always been a highly partner-centric company. We focus our feature development, service scalability and level of customer service on patients and the partners that serve them. We’re excited to be working on Flowr and others seeking to expand on their reach or the level of service they offer prospective patients,” said Larry Lisser, HelloMD’s SVP of Business Development.

To become a white label partner with HelloMD, please contact Larry Lisser, SVP of Business Development HelloMD, partners@hellomd.com

Young Canadians face heightened crash risk after consuming cannabis, new study finds

Young Canadians are more at risk of a vehicle crash even five hours after inhaling cannabis, according to results of a clinical trial conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and McGill University, and funded by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

The research found that performance declined significantly, in key areas such as reaction time, even five hours after inhaling the equivalent of less than one typical joint. The participants’ driving performance, which was tested in a driving simulator, deteriorated as soon as they were exposed to the kinds of distractions common on the road.

The peer-reviewed study is published online today at 6:00 a.m. EST at CMAJ Open, an online sister journal to CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

The trial examined the impact of cannabis on the driving ability of 18 to 24 year old occasional users. CAA polling has found that a significant number of young Canadians – one in five – believe they are as good or better drivers stoned as they are sober.

“This new trial provides important Canadian evidence that cannabis can affect the skills needed to drive safely even five hours after consuming,” said Jeff Walker, CAA chief strategy officer. “The message is simple. If you consume, don’t drive. Find another way home or stay where you are.”

“This rigorous experimental trial adds to a growing body of scientific literature on cannabis use and driving,” said study co-author Isabelle Gélinas, a researcher in McGill’s School of Physical and Occupational Therapy. “The findings provide new evidence on the extent to which driving-related performance is compromised following a typical dose of inhaled cannabis, even at five hours after use.”

Under controlled conditions, researchers tested driving-related performance of young Canadians in a simulated environment, at intervals up to five hours after they had consumed cannabis. Participants were also tested with no cannabis in their system to set a baseline.

While the participants showed no significant effects when there were no distractions, as soon as conditions became more realistic, driving-related performance reduced significantly. In addition, a large percentage of the young drivers reported they did not feel as safe to drive after consuming cannabis, even five hours after use.

“When you feel you are not safe to drive you are right – you are not!” Walker said.

“CAA is committed to doing its part in furthering this important road safety issue, but governments must step up too,” Walker added. “We need funding earmarked specifically to study the effects of cannabis on driving – research that covers the spectrum from basic research to on-road safety initiatives.”

About the study

The CAA-funded study was conducted by a multidisciplinary research team at the Centre for Innovative Medicine (CIM) of the RI-MUHC, under the supervision of Drs. Nicol Korner-Bitensky and Isabelle Gélinas, leading driving researchers, and Dr. Mark Ware, a leading cannabis researcher. The driving simulator used in the study was supplied by Virage Simulation, a Montreal-based company. The lead author, Dr. Tatiana Ogourtsova, is a post-doctoral fellow. Ms. Maja Kalaba, a junior epidemiologist at the MUHC, was project coordinator. (As of July 1, 2018, Dr. Ware became an employee of Canopy Growth Corporation, a Canadian licensed producer of medical cannabis; as of that date, he had no further involvement in analysis of the data for the study.)

Participants in this randomized clinical trial were between the ages of 18 and 24 years old and recreational users of cannabis (i.e. used cannabis at least once in the past three months, but not more than four times per week). The trial tested their driving related performance on four different days using a state-of-the-art driving simulator and a Useful Field of View test. Testing was randomized to occur 1 hour, 3 hours and 5 hours after they had consumed cannabis. They used a medical grade vaporizer to consume a dose of 100 mg dried cannabis flowers containing 13% THC over several inhalations. A typical joint is 300-500 mg of dried cannabis. Full details of the study are available here as of 6 am ET on Oct. 15.

SOURCE Canadian Automobile Association

http://www.caa.ca

Car, home insurance rates after cannabis legalization still to be determined

BY LASIA KRETZEL AND SASHA LAKIC | News1130

Anyone thinking of growing marijuana plants in their home or lighting up once it’s legal next week, might want to look into their home or renters insurance and avoid getting behind the wheel.

Home insurance, will likely be on a case-by-case basis, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) because insurance companies generally use prior experience to assess rates, which is not possible while cannabis is still illegal.

“Insurance rates and premiums all are based on risk and experience, and we don’t know what that experience is going to be like once it’s legalized,” Vanessa Barrasa with IBC said. “It’s not like, ‘oh, cannabis is legal, the next day all your insurance and home rates grow.’ It doesn’t work that way.”

She says because this is uncharted territory, many providers are still figuring out their rates for cannabis.

“Every company is setting their own limits and so it’s really important that if you have a material change – you now have cannabis plants, before you didn’t – that is something that you should inform your insurance company of and make sure, obviously, that you’re being truthful and honest,” she said.

Right now, home insurance in Canada does not cover any loss if the property is used for cannabis activities, so she says each company is developing its own policy.

When it comes to renters, she recommends always having tenant insurance, so that belongings are covered if something happens at home. She adds that in any case, people should abide by the legal limits of owning plants and to inform themselves about how their insurance provider will address owning cannabis once it’s legal.

“That would be specific to your tenant or home insurance policy and it’s important that you speak to your insurance to make sure that they’re aware of your contents and you know what your limits are,” Barrasa said.

Car insurance could go up if you’re caught stoned

More expensive car insurance could be in the future of those caught high behind the wheel in B.C.

Driving under the influence of pot is still considered impaired driving, despite the statistic from BCAA that 20 per cent of millennials think they drive the same or even better when high.

It could immediately land you with a driving suspension, which lawyer Kyla Lee says ICBC will take into account when new rates go into effect next September.

“Everybody needs to be very careful when it comes to using cannabis while driving and using cannabis and then driving after the fact because it can have consequences that right now you don’t know that you’re going to be getting,” Lee said.

Drivers can already face additional fines and driver risk premiums if caught driving under the influence.

Road side tests still remain mandatory if an officer asks you to perform one. Refusing to take the test is a criminal offence and could land you with a big penalty.

Cannabis legalization happens on Oct. 17.

Source: News1130

Cannabis Legalization: IBC Calls for Strict Penalties and Increased Consumer Education Programs

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