Pot plant Although a product suchas CBD may be marketed and sold legally, the FDA still has asignificant interest in making sure that it is done so inaccordance with its set guidelines. (Photo: Bloomberg)

One of the hottest topics in health care benefits today is theuse of medical marijuana products and how payers willdefine the parameters of how when such products are covered movingforward, as the law continues to evolve on the state and federallevel. With marijuana classified as a Schedule I drug at thefederal level (alongside unlikely neighbors such as heroin andpeyote) and now completely legal in numerous states even forrecreational use, the prospect of instituting any type of coveragefor cannabis products is risky to begin with.

However, we've still seen some payers communicate an interest indoing so, recognizing that from a cost containment perspective,medical marijuana may be a much better choice than the high costspecialty drugs it might be replacing in certain situations. Now,some changes at the federal level have cleared the way for coveringcertain types of marijuana-derivatives, without the risksassociated with reimbursement for a product the use of which iscriminal under federal law.

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