A new study offers support to pot smokers who have long insisted that their habit doesn’t prevent them from doing their jobs.
The findings, published in the May issue of Substance Use and Misuse, indicated that marijuana users were no more likely to suffer injuries on the job than their colleagues who do not use pot.
“The current body of evidence does not provide sufficient evidence to support the position that cannabis users are at increased risk of occupational injury,” wrote the researchers, who work at the University of British Columbia. “Further, the study quality assessment suggests significant biases in the extant literature are present due to potential confounding variables, selection of participants, and measurement of exposures and outcomes.”
The study consisted of a review of literature examining “the potential link between cannabis use and occupational injury,” by appraising “all available current literature from five databases, following Cochrane and PRISMA guidelines.”
The researchers said that seven of the 16 reviewed studies that they appraised “show evidence supporting a positive association between cannabis use and occupational injury,” while one “shows evidence supporting a negative association and the remaining eight studies show no evidence of a significant relation.”
They said the impetus for the study was that a “range of nations, including countries of the European Union, Australia, and the Americas have recently implemented or proposed reforms to how they control cannabis use, thereby departing from traditional approaches of criminal prohibition that have dominated throughout most of the twentieth century.”
“Given these policy developments and the widespread global use of cannabis, it is critically important to understand the possible risks associated with cannabis use in relation to major societal harms,” they wrote.
Cannabis and the Workplace
The findings were trumpeted by NORML, which is opposed to marijuana testing by employers. Some cities—including most recently New York—have adopted laws banning employers from testing employees for marijuana.
“Suspicionless marijuana testing never has been an evidence-based policy. Rather, these discriminatory practices are a holdover from the zeitgeist of the 1980s ‘war on drugs,’” said NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “But times have changed; attitudes have changed, and in many places, the marijuana laws have changed. It is time for workplace policies to adapt to this new reality.”