Does marijuana use impact brain physiology?

As more American jurisdictions legalize the medicinal use of marijuana, a recent study about the possible adverse effects of the substance on brain functioning may be of particular interest to readers.

After all, limited functioning is one of the criteria by which the Social Security Administration determines whether a condition qualifies as a disability. Impaired cognitive functioning may prevent a person from working, regardless of how it was caused. If the impairment is expected to last at least 12 months or more, he or she might be deemed disabled, and consequently eligible for Social Security disability insurance payments.

The research indicates that the cognitive effect of marijuana might be similar to mental disabilities, such as schizophrenia. In fact, an observable physical effect occurred in participants. The thalamus are of the brain, which contributes to memory, communication and learning, had actually deteriorated in marijuana users -- even two years after the usage had stopped.

A Social Security disability benefits attorney knows that the process of proving eligibility for benefits can be difficult. That burden of proof may be even harder in the case of mental disorders, which, unlike physical ailments, often lack a single, definitive test for diagnostic purposes. In this case, however, researchers were able to observe physical abnormalities in the brain structure of marijuana users.

The findings might serve a cautionary purpose to marijuana users. Mental health is just as important as physical health in performing work duties. A disabling condition in either area may prevent an individual from working, yet there is no guarantee that an applicant will qualify for Social Security disability insurance payments. With the help of an attorney, however, an applicant can prepare a strong claim.

Source: Medical News Today, “Marijuana use linked to schizophrenic-related brain changes,” Dec. 17, 2013