Can you be denied a life insurance policy for smoking pot?

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Important things to know...

  • The landscape is changing when it comes to life insurance and marijuana smoking
  • Marijuana smoking has definite effects on us, both mentally and physically
  • Most people who smoke pot can still get some form of life insurance
  • Recreational use of marijuana can lead to other negative associations

What Does Marijuana Do To Our Bodies?


Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under the Food and Drug Administration guidelines which mean that it has a very high potential for illegal use and is likely to result in unintended consequences. This definition falls into the same category as LSD, ecstasy, and heroin.

Marijuana is made up of 60 different cannabinoids which are chemicals that act upon the receptors of our brains in ways similar to the effects alcohol has.

Our thoughts and perceptions are modified to the point where our mental and physical abilities are changed in dynamic ways. The result is that the cannabinoids keep the neurons in the brain firing at a rapid rate, and decisions and actions are modified accordingly.

Learn more about the affects of marijuana on your life insurance rates and make sure to use our free comparison tool above. Just enter your zip code and start comparing rates today!

Short and Long-Term Effects of Marijuana


The effects of marijuana begin to be felt in as little as 30 minutes and one of the first symptoms in users seems to be an increase in their appetite and a loss of the sense of real time.

A general sense of malaise and loss of interest in day-to-day responsibilities has been exhibited in pot users. A person’s memory, ability to concentrate and motivation is also affected.

In many cases, if marijuana is used over longer periods of time, there are changes over a long period with a person’s working memory. Such items as remembering names, telephone numbers, and critical day-to-day facts are affected.

Over the longer term, recent studies have shown that smoking marijuana can alter a person’s DNA and cause mutations which can be passed on to a person’s offspring.

There is evidence that various cancers and illnesses can be caused by the properties of cannabis which cause a chemical interaction with the DNA of a person.

What is most alarming is that these changes in DNA and the mutations that occur can lie dormant for years and affect generations down the line from the original pot smoker.

This can occur even though a person has never smoked pot themselves.

Medical Usage of Marijuana


There are two primary uses of marijuana for medical purposes, the THC and CBD of the marijuana plant. The THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, increases the appetite and reduces nausea in a person.

CBD or Cannabidiol does not get a person high but has been shown to reduce the effects of inflammation, pain, seizures, anxiety and psychosis.

The uses of marijuana in clinical situations are gaining increasing validity as more and more studies evolve, but this usage of pot is still in its infancy.

The FDA has approved medications that come in pill form. Several states have legalized marijuana for the use in medical situations.

Qualification For Life Insurance


If you want to buy life insurance, you have to qualify. In is an orderly process and there is an application with a few pages of medical questions. The questions go into some detail about a person’s medical background and current situation.

There are questions on the application about tobacco usage, and there is a question about drug use, and in particular marijuana.

If a person has smoked pot, what is he or she to make of that question?

The answer to the bewilderment of the individual that might encounter that issue for the first time is to just, to tell the truth.

Marijuana smoking won’t necessarily keep you from getting life insurance, but you might have to shop around to get the best rate.

It is not so much of a problem that a person is smoking or has smoked pot that is a problem for life insurance companies as it is how long a person has been smoking and the frequency.

The fact that pot smokers are around elements of society and circumstances that cause other insurability problems is also an issue.

The premise that marijuana smoking is a gateway to other drugs cannot be dismissed either because statistics tell us that this is true. It comes from the associations derived from buying illegal pot.

The buyer eventually gets introduced to other drugs of a stronger nature which leads to addiction and real problems.

You have to keep in mind that life insurance underwriting is mostly statistics rather than an opinion, and certain activities, associations, and relationships can be just as deadly as a disease when it comes to mortality statistics.

Recreational Use of Marijuana is Not Medical Usage

Once again, life insurance companies will take a different look at people who use marijuana.

If a person is using medical marijuana, it is likely that he or she has some other medical condition that is more serious than the marijuana is for the applicant, and they will be rated for that condition.

If a person us using marijuana for recreation the frequency of use and the length of time the person has been using the drug will be taken into account.

The most common rating from insurance companies for casual users of the drug, who uses only a few times per month would find the individual being rated as a smoker, just as if he or she were smoking cigarettes.

Life Insurance Underwriting When It Comes To Marijuana


It would seem that in light of all the effects that recreational marijuana has on people that there might be more severe restrictions when it comes to a pot smoker buying life insurance.

The answer to that supposition is, it depends on the circumstances in which the person is using the drug.

In many cases, a person who is in associating with people of a nefarious nature, and who is also smoking pot, is likely to have the association be a more serious situation than the pot smoking.

This gets into the moral hazards area of underwriting, and this can draw considerable attention when a person might be involved in areas of crime, financial hazards and other situations that could cause concern.

As mentioned, smoking marijuana will usually be treated with a similar underwriting decision as that of a cigarette smoker, unless it is found that smoking marijuana has led to other, more debilitating psychological or physical problems, and then the individual is more likely to be rated or defined from an underwriting standpoint for those issues.

The Gateway

The more serious factor is when marijuana smoking puts an individual in the position of experimenting or trying other drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and other recreational or hard-core drugs.

This is where a real underwriting problem would present itself in the arena of obtaining life insurance.

In Conclusion

If a life insurance applicant admits that they have smoked, or experimented with smoking marijuana, but does not participate at present, they are likely to receive a standard underwriting classification for life insurance from most life insurance companies.

If an individual admits occasional smoking, but the habit is not pervasive, they may receive the same rating as a cigarette smoker.

If there has been a treatment for the use of marijuana which leads to mental or physical issues, there may be more of a policy premium surcharge, or perhaps even a decline in coverage depending on the severity of the situation.

If a person had difficulties in the past, but it can be shown that there is no current effect, then the door could be opened for a new probability for such an individual to gain coverage.

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