Thursday, May 09, 2019

Don't Bogart That Ointment

So I recently had a life case go south in a weird way:

Did my usual pre-screen, which includes height, weight, any meds, any tobacco use, and the like; based on his answers (including no tobacco use), gentleman seemed to qualify for a preferred non-smoker rate. And so we submitted the application and arranged for the paramed exam. All very cut-and-dry.

Until I got back the approval .... at Preferred Smoker class.


So I thought "oh, he vapes or maybe had a cigar the day before." But when I called, he said no, had quit smoking years ago, but when he gets anxious he sometimes pops some nicotine gum.


So I called the underwriter, who said, based on the lab result, my guy's "popping that gum" a lot; enough, in fact, to kick him into tobacco use territory.

But Henry, you object, he's not using tobacco, he's just chewing some nicotine-laced gum.


"Nicotiana tabacum, the type of nicotine found in tobacco plants."


Thing is, most folks don't make that connection: they (reasonably) believe that nicotine ≠ tobacco, because they're not smoking or chawin' it.

Which brings me forward a few weeks, to CBD oil:

"Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 unique “cannabinoid” compounds that are found in the oily resin of the cannabis plant ... To make CBD oil, one must start with CBD-rich plant material."

Are you beginning to see a connection?

This past weekend, I had an interesting conversation with a doc who specializes in pain management and is a big fan of CBD oil and its pain-reducing abilities. He also claimed that taken topically (ointment) or even orally, one would likely not get flagged on a drug test.

I questioned this, in part because of my client's recent tobacco/nicotine experience. One of the questions on life applications is about marijuana (among other drugs) and/or extracts thereof. So I again reached out to my primary carrier's underwriter to see what he had to say, and he graciously replied:

"If the applicant is taking CBD oil, it should be noted on the application as we ask if they are taking any medication, prescribed or not. The drug testing results should be negative if they are using CDB oil.

Our concern certainly is if they have chronic pain and we would rate for this impairment

Which, to be fair, I hadn't even considered. So it turns out that my doc friend was right about red flags for the oil itself, but the underlying impetus for its use would be a concern. And, of course, it is a med, so needs to be noted on the application.

Interesting (at least to geeky me).

[Thanks to FoIB Rob P for the assist]
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