The short answer is yes. Marijuana users can get life insurance, but there are additional things to consider when compared to the applicants who are not. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or otherwise shortened to THC, is the concern when it comes to underwriting. Some companies may look at your situation favorably and issue as a non-smoker, while others will immediately consider you a smoker regardless of how heavy of a user you are.
Underwriting is the process in which an insurance company researches its risks of an applicant, and results in a decision to either offer the insurance or not, and at which rating. Ratings range from healthy to high risk, and separately categorized as non-smokers and smokers. Marijuana users can be healthy, but are generally considered a smoker class rating if the levels of THC are too high, or if the applicant uses marijuana a certain number of times per time period.
Each company has its own risk tolerance. Some insurance companies seem to be very liberal in their underwriting of marijuana users, while others have no tolerance. Because THC affects the nervous system primarily, and the response mechanisms for normal activities, insurance companies are very timid to be favorable towards THC. Without knowing the full risks of the drug through in depth studies, it’s impossible for an insurance company to weigh the additional risk from a monetary standpoint.
Although there have never been reports of death resulting from overdose directly, the long-term effects are the main concern for insurance companies. The effects of using marijuana over time can range from circulatory issues to psychosis and everything in between, yet there is little hard evidence to tie marijuana directly to these issues. In fact, in some cases, marijuana even seemed to reverse some of the same symptoms marijuana was accused of causing. Life insurance and marijuana are progressively changing, so always check with your agent about options.
Regardless, insurance companies view the regular use of marijuana as a threat, and until there is further evidence otherwise, they are unwilling to take on the risk at the same levels as a non-user. As more studies are conducted, and insurance companies have more information to go by through their underwriting processes, we’ll get closer to more defined risk tables involving marijuana.
Each case is a unique situation, especially because not every user of marijuana has equal frequencies and intake of THC. Because THC is measured by a blood profile, the levels of THC measured can be safe for one company, but not for another. Also, frequency of use can play a major role for some companies who don’t seem to care as much about the current levels of THC, while others are the opposite.
Unfortunately, without talking to a well informed life insurance agent who has dealt with this type of situation before, you will get mixed results. Working with an independent agent is your best bet because they can offer products from multiple carriers. If you plan to research the companies yourself, you may find yourself up in smoke in no time.
Also, remember there are still other factors to consider when applying, outside of the marijuana use. You still would need to be able to qualify based on your overall health just as a non-user might. If you have other health concerns, it may be best to apply with another company who is less inclined to take on the risk of your marijuana, while being more considerate to your current status.