A recent report claims that an unintentional, surprising side-effect of medical marijuana has emerged: the likeliness that more people will make Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. But while the study, which was conducted by researchers at Temple University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Cincinnati, posits their theory on figures provided by data from the 1990 to 2013 Current Population Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are the reasons behind this correlation as definitive?
MMJ and SSDI: Facts and Figures
According to the report—which is categorized as a “working paper,” or one in its preliminary stages—states where MMJ is legalized experienced a 9.9 percent increase in SSDI claims, as well as a 2.6 percent increase in SSDI benefits.
The study also traced any upticks in Workers’ Compensation (WC) asks and found that these self-same states experienced no meaningful or notable changes.
Despite this discrepancy, the authors concluded that “Expanding marijuana access has negative spillover effects to costly social programs that disincentive work.”
But, how negative is it in the grand scheme of things?
In short: While SSDI was affected, WC was not—meaning that the results of the initial findings might be subject to change in regard to the actual meaning behind them, if not the actual numbers themselves.
Final Hit: SSDI Claims Really A Side-Effect of Medical Marijuana?
Despite their estimations, the authors involved in the study could not pinpoint why legalized access to medicinal cannabis increases the rate for SSDI claims. Even more striking? The study also elucidated that there was no accession in relation to SSDI claims involving the demographic most likely to be prescribed MMJ—individuals between the ages of 41 and 62.
(To be fair, the opposite was true for the Millennial and Generation X set, with an unprecedented 24 percent increased rate of probability for those in between 23 and 40.)
Even with the preparatory statistics of the report, the benefits seem to far outweigh this particular side-effect of medical marijuana; as MarketWatch noted, a number of studies have surmised that states with legalized cannabis have seen a major downtick in heroin and cocaine use, the former of which is a part of the worst opioid epidemic the U.S. has ever seen. Considering that MMJ has proven to be a treatment for opioid addiction—despite the fact that, like the SSDI study, the science is still somewhat inconclusive—the trade-off to many would seem to be a no-brainer.