420 with CNW — Research Finds Off-Duty Cannabis Use Has No Effect on Productivity

November 11, 2020 16:24:53

The cannabis industry is without a doubt one of the fastest-growing industries. After decades of prohibition, attitudes toward the controversial plant are changing, with 35 states legalizing medical cannabis and 15 states allowing recreational use. Still, many employers worry that cannabis use, even while off the clock, can reduce employee performance, ultimately impacting the bottom line.

According to recent research, however, there is no correlation between off-duty cannabis use and reduced productivity at work. First published in May 2020, the study sought to determine how using cannabis at different times of the day affected people’s ability to meet their job requirements as well as their behavior and attitude towards their colleagues and work respectively. Despite cannabis’ infamy, the plant is one of the most-used drugs in the country, with an estimated 20% of Americans thought to have used it in their lifetime.

Cannabis is known to reduce anxiety and induce relaxation without a morning hangover, making it perfect for unwinding after a day at work. Most cannabis drug tests check for metabolites, which are chemicals that remain in the body long after the drug breaks down. This means that an employee can fail a drug test and be penalized for cannabis they consumed over the weekend or even a week ago.

In the study, 281 employees who used cannabis and 281 direct supervisors participated. The employees were asked to report how frequently they used cannabis over the past 12 months. Specifically, they were asked questions regarding a number of parameters, such as in a timeframe of two hours before they started their work shifts, how often they used marijuana in the past 12 months during their workday, and how often they used the substance over the past year in a duration not exceeding two hours of leaving work. The supervisors were asked to observe as well as evaluate their subordinates’ performance.

The researchers found that using cannabis before and even during work negatively impacted employee productivity, as expected. Cannabis use reduced \concentration and ability to solve problems and effectively carry out tasks as well as an employee’s tendencies to assist other employees and function cohesively in a team. Cannabis use before and during work also increased employees’ propensity for counterproductive behavior, such as excessive daydreaming.

However, using cannabis after work did not impact employees’ ability to complete their assignments the next day nor their ability to relate cordially and professionally with their workmates. Unlike alcohol, employees who used cannabis after work did not exhibit reduced productivity nor an increased propensity for unproductive behavior the next day.

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