As of June 2018, Marijuana has been legalized for recreational and medical use in nine states and for medical use in an additional 19 states. More states are likely to join the list as marijuana use becomes increasingly popular both medically and recreationally as well as being a profitable business venture.

Effects of Marijuana Use on the Brain

While many studies show marijuana enhances protective benefits of the brain, such as helping brain cells grow or shielding the brain from chronic stress, other studies reveal something different. A recent study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests long-term marijuana use may reduce blood flow to the brain, especially the hippocampus, which can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

When compared with healthy participants, long-term pot smokers displayed low blood flow in the hippocampus. This part of the brain stores long-term memories and past experiences. It can become especially vulnerable in the early stages of Alzheimer’s as the disease leads to a dysfunctional growth of brain cells causing memory impairment.

Researchers in the study believe marijuana use may interfere with memory formation by inhibiting activity in the hippocampus. The study suggests marijuana may have damaging effects on the brain, especially areas important for memory and learning. This is one area of the brain that shrinks first in people Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Stethoscope Clipboard

Long-term use of pot, or even stopping exercise for a few days, can have similar effects on blood flow to the brain. A study in 2016 revealed reduced blood flow to the brain can occur in people who stop exercising for 10 days. Eight regions of the brain experienced a significant drop in resting cerebral blood flow, including the areas of the left and right hippocampus.

You can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s through positive lifestyle choices such as smoking less (or stop smoking) and exercising more. These studies suggest lifestyle changes can influence brain health in more ways than previously known.

If I Use Marijuana, Can I Be Approved for Long-Term Care Coverage?

Most LTC insurance carriers will decline coverage if you admit to using marijuana on your application or if it’s found in your medical records. Certain carriers do not require tests to confirm if marijuana is in your system. One LTC carrier doesn’t consider marijuana use as tobacco use and will consider coverage if your medical records indicate it’s not a problem.

“If you use recreational or medical marijuana and are interested in applying for long-term care coverage, contact our team of LTC specialists today.”

If you use recreational or medical marijuana and are interested in applying for long-term care coverage, contact our team of LTC specialists today. We’ll review your medical history with you and offer recommendations on which carrier may be best based on your personal situation. Request a free quote and speak with a specialist today to get started.