$12,000 For Medical Cannabis Awarded to Crash Victim With Chronic Pain
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, awarding damages, including a $12,000 future care award for the cost of medical cannabis, to a collision victim.
In today’s case (Carrillo v. Deschutter) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2011 collison. The Defendant admitted fault for the crash. The Plaintiff suffered a variety of injuries including a frozen shoulder, soft tissue injuries and went on to develop chronic pain with a poor prognosis for full recovery.
At trial, in addition to other heads of damages, the Plaintiff sought damages for the future cost of medical cannabis. The Defendant objected to this arguing that “conventional prescription drugs” should be adequate. The court was not persuaded by this defence and awarded $12,000 for the cost of medical cannabis. In reaching this conclusion Madam Justice Dardi provided the following reasons:
 I have reviewed all the authorities on medical cannabis relied on by both parties. The authorities establish that, in some cases, medical cannabis is compensable in a personal injury case: Wright v. Mistry, 2017 BCSC 239 at para. 84; Amini v. Mondragon, 2014 BCSC 1590 at paras. 133-136; Chavez-Salinas v. Tower, 2017 BCSC 2068 at para. 539.
 An important fact in this case, and one that distinguished this case from many of the cases relied on by the defence, is that Mr. Carrillo, after receiving Dr. Hershler’s recommendations, has been using cannabis balm, tincture oil and capsules. I accept his evidence, that he has found the cannabis products effective and, as a result of using the cannabis products, he has experienced some pain relief. There was no evidence that the consumption has produced any negative side effects. Notably, since the Accident, Mr. Carrillo has pursued the more traditional modalities of physiotherapy, chiropractic treatments, massage and injections without any significant benefit. Mr. Carrillo’s prescription pain medication provides him with some symptomatic relief but I do not accept that it controls his pain as is asserted by the defendant.
 With respect to the defence submissions on Mr. Carrillo’s mental health issues, I note that Mr. Carrillo’s medical condition is currently being monitored by his primary care provider, Dr. Sennewald. The six-month’s use of cocaine for pain was some six years ago and there is no evidence of any issue arising since that time.
 All things considered, I conclude that the medical cannabis program recommended by Dr. Hershler is medically justified within the meaning contemplated by the authorities and that it is reasonable to make an award for the costs of the cannabis as part of Mr. Carrillo’s future pain management plan.
 The evidence on the costs of the medical cannabis was thin but not so thin as to justify not making any award for Mr. Carrillo. There was no evidence as to what the cost would be through a Health Canada supplier. Those costs may be different from the costs Mr. Carrillo actually incurred purchasing them through other dispensaries. This is a significant shortcoming that I have taken into account in my assessment. I have also factored into my assessment that in his report Dr. Hershler did not say how long Mr. Carrillo should be on the medical cannabis program. It is uncertain how long he may continue using medical cannabis.
 In the result, and on the totality of the evidence and taking into account the relevant contingencies, I assess an award for medical cannabis in the amount of $12,000.