Since the legalization of cannabis in Canada, the plant has gained popularity. You can either take it for recreational or medical purposes. Those taking cannabis for medical purposes wonder if they can claim it as medical expenses as tax returns or if the workplace benefits plan may help sort it out. However, you need to understand a few logistics before applying for a claim. If you’re with Sun Life, then here’s what you need to know!
Sun Life: Difference between recreational and medical cannabis
As aforementioned, cannabis can be used for either recreational or medical purposes. Cannabis as a product is the same but what differs is the use. Medical cannabis can be defined as cannabis used to alleviate symptoms associated with health conditions. It is supposed to be taken under the guidance of the correct authorization or physician.
On the other hand, recreational cannabis is not used to alleviate any medical condition. Another difference between the two is cannabidiol (CBD) levels. Typically, medical cannabis has more CBD content than recreational cannabis. CBD is a cannabinoid that is not associated with the euphoric “high” linked with recreational cannabis.
The euphoric “high” is associated with another chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Patients considering cannabis for medical purposes should use strains with high CBD content and lower THC concentration.
Is Medical Cannabis a Right Choice for You?
Before deciding to use cannabis as an option for your treatment, consult with a medical assistant or physician. If your doctor approves it as an option, they can provide a medical authorization according to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purpose Regulations (ACMPR).
After authorization, you are then required to register with a Health Canada-licenced Producer of Medical Cannabis. This allows you to purchase medical cannabis in various forms like dried cannabis, extracts, seeds, cannabis oil, and fresh cannabis.
There is also an alternative to grow it yourself or designate someone to grow it on your behalf. However, you and your producer are required to be certified by Health Canada to comply with ACMPR.
Claiming Cannabis as a Medical Expense With Sun Life
Cannabis in Canada is listed among the eligible medical expenses under Revenue Canada’s Medical Expense Tax Credit.
If you have a receipt from an approved medical authorization or Health Canada-licensed Producer, you can therefore claim expenses related to medical cannabis on your tax returns. If you’re new to cannabis, this is a great resource to explore strains and edibles.
Can Your Sun Life Benefits Plan Cover Medical Cannabis?
It is also possible to get your workplace benefits by planning to take care of your medical cannabis coverage.
Employers with workplace benefits plans administered or insured by Sun Life can add medical cannabis to their plans. This option was added and launched earlier this year.
Therefore, if your employer has this coverage included, you will likely recover costs incurred in medical cannabis. It will also depend if Sun Life covers the condition you are ailing from.
Health Conditions Eligible for Medical Cannabis Coverage
While research on medical cannabis is still underway, clinical research shows that it can benefit individuals suffering from some conditions. It is essential to note that cannabis is not used to treat diseases but to alleviate symptoms associated with health conditions.
At the moment, Sun Life coverage applies to conditions with sufficient clinical evidence.
- Neuropathy and spasticity pain linked with multiple sclerosis
- Severe pain, vomiting, nausea with cancer treatment
- neuropathic pain and anorexia with HIV/AIDS
- Palliative care
- Rheumatoid arthritis, only when other treatment options have failed
More About Sun Life Medical Cannabis Coverage
Contact your HR department if you are not sure whether your workplace benefits plan covers medical cannabis. If you already have a plan with Sun Life, contact customer care for more information at +1-800-361-6212.
Contact a Sun Life representative if you are a small business owner or an employer seeking more information on adding medical cannabis to your workplace benefits plan. You can also check out Sun Life’s Bright Paper.