Lots of people turn to CBD and THC for health reasons, but does health insurance cover them?
The legality of CBD and THC can be confusing, and whether insurance companies cover these products is even murkier.
If you have questions like:
Read on! We share what we’ve learned about CBD and THC insurance coverage.
CBD is one of the most popular cannabis-derived compounds. It's used as a wellness aid for its many potential health benefits. And it's legal across the US (though specific state laws vary).
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean health insurance will cover it. While CBD can easily be found in stores across the country, the FDA hasn't approved it as a medicine. This means most insurance policies don't cover its use.
Many folks love using THC-containing products to manage pain, nausea, and other symptoms. If you are one of the lucky ones to live in a state with medical marijuana laws, your doctor may be able to prescribe it to you.
Does this mean insurance will cover it?
Usually not. Most insurance companies refuse to cover medical marijuana because of its classification as a Schedule I drug by the FDA.
Unfortunately, CBD, THC, and other cannabis-derived products are not covered by health insurance. Whether your health insurance comes from your employer, Medicare, Medicaid, or the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) — you will likely have to pay out of pocket.
Cannabis is still a tricky topic in the United States. The marijuana strain is still a Schedule I drug under federal law (and still illegal in many states).
So even though some states have medical marijuana programs in place, just because you can get a marijuana prescription, it doesn't mean the insurance will cover it.
The legality of CBD and THC is constantly shifting, and it's easy to see why insurance companies don't want to cover products that could potentially get them into legal trouble.
So what about hemp — aka the non-psychoactive cannabis? Hemp and hemp-derived CBD are federally legal, which means they can be bought and sold.
However, the FDA hasn't stepped in with regulatory guidance for CBD. The CBD you can buy at your local store is not FDA-approved. There's only one FDA-approved CBD medication (Epidiolex) and it's given to children with seizure disorders.
And non-FDA-approved products won't be covered by insurance companies.
The majority of CBD, THC, and other cannabis-derived products available in health food stores, dispensaries, and online retailers are likely not covered by your insurance plan.
However, if you purchase a substance that has been specifically approved by the FDA as a medication, you may be in luck.
Here are the few FDA-approved forms of cannabis meds.
If you have a prescription for Epidiolex, the only FDA-approved CBD, your insurance company may cover it. The drug is approved to treat seizures in children, so it's only prescribed for very specific cases.
Nabilone (brand name Cesamet) is a med with a chemical structure similar to THC. However, it's synthetic THC. Meaning it’s manufactured by humans, not found in its natural state. Nabilone is prescribed to treat nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy.
The dronabinol containing Marinol and Syndros are two other FDA-approved forms of synthetic THC. They treat cancer-related nausea and vomiting, and anorexia in AIDS patients.
These three synthetic THC drugs are all FDA approved, which means that they’re legal and they may fall under health insurance coverage.
However, the extent of this coverage depends highly on your specific insurance provider. Best to contact them directly if your doctor has recently prescribed any of these.
In sum, insurance companies don’t cover the widely-available CBD and THC. However, there are a handful of exceptions.
Some health insurance plans cover the few FDA-approved cannabis-based drugs. But even in these cases, it’s not guaranteed that all the costs associated with those prescriptions will be covered.
Over-the-counter CBD and THC products are another story. Currently, most health insurance plans do not cover these products because they’re not considered drugs by the FDA.
Maybe one day CBD and THC products will become eligible — as a general rule rather than an exception — for health insurance coverage. But until that happens, you can still find high-quality products without breaking the bank.
For affordable yet top-tier CBD, check out Pure Craft’s line of organic hemp-derived CBD products.
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