The Impact of Cannabis on Workplace “Sick Days”
An article at ICITIZEN.COM took a look at medical marijuana and sick days in the office. For the longest time people have associated cannabis use with “Laziness”. In fact, many anti-cannabis activists claim that if we legalize marijuana we will see a significant drop in productivity within the workplace. However, studies reveal a different truth.
According to the Institute for a Drug-Free workplace, cannabis will radically reduce productivity:
"The impact of employee marijuana use is seen in the workplace in lower productivity, increased workplace accidents and injuries, increased absenteeism, and lower morale," the institute writes. "This can and does seriously impact the bottom line."
It’s important to realize that this statement is not supported by science but rather are merely projected speculations and there has not ever really been any studies conducted on this until 2014. In the 2014 study that was published in the journal of Health and Economics, the speculations of the IDW simply didn’t pan out.
A bit more about the study
Darin F. Ullman was the economist that was spearheading the study. While most previous studies were focused on the “illicit” use of cannabis, there have been virtually no studies on the impact of licit cannabis use. What does this mean?
Agencies like NIDA only funds studies that are looking for the negative effects of cannabis use, however they don’t fund studies that are looking for positive effects of cannabis. They do this to create a body of “evidence” to justify the current classification of cannabis.
However, when it comes to medical cannabis, people often forget that patients use this to “take back their lives”. People suffering from debilitating conditions would have an opposite effect if they use cannabis to help them with their symptoms. For instance, it would be more likely for someone who is suffering from chronic pain to actually increase productivity under the influence of cannabis. And this is precisely what Ullman wanted to find out.
Does legal cannabis (medical cannabis) actually help productivity or does it indeed impair users to the point of being ‘less productive’?
Most people assume that “pot smokers” will call in more sick days than non-users or simply won’t show up to work because they don’t “feel like going to work”. This is assuming that cannabis makes you lazy.
In order to figure this out, Ullman examined “before and after” sick days reporting in states that have legalized medical cannabis.
Ullman sifted through pages of data to come to the conclusion that on average, 8% of respondents were less likely to report in sick after using medical cannabis to treat their conditions. In addition, if the list of acceptable medical conditions were more robust in medical marijuana states, in other words, they had a larger list of conditions to choose from, the results were that even more respondents didn’t report in sick.
While the study doesn’t indicate causality, it does show us that medical cannabis does have some sort of impact. Lower sick day reporting could also be attributed to greater access to healthcare, better workplace wellness programs, improved employee health and so forth.
Nonetheless, according to Ullman, the major demographic of medical cannabis users (middle-aged men) seem to have the greatest increase in productivity in states that have passed marijuana laws. In addition, alcohol use declines in states that have legalized marijuana.
This means that fewer people are drinking and the side effects of drinking also declined. People are less likely to go to work if they have a severe hangover and would rather call in sick. However, if people drink less, the frequency of this occurrence happening also declines.
The conclusion of the study goes as follows;
"The results of this paper therefore suggest that [medical marijuana laws] would decrease costs for employers as it has reduced self-reported absence from work due to illness/medical issues,"
In other words, at the very least, cannabis won’t negatively impact companies and could do the exact opposite.
Why is this important?
The Drug Free Work Place mantra has been drilled into the subconscious of the masses. “Getting high will negatively affect the workplace”. However, this is a claim without any substance. Now obviously, getting to work blasted on bath salts will definitely have a negative impact on the workplace simply because the substance renders the users nearly incapable of doing any real human activity, besides tripping. (Please don’t do bath salts, that shit is whack)
However, cannabis is not like all the other drugs. For many people it actually helps a lot. For instance, the other day I had a massive tooth ache, I’m talking about a nine out of ten on the pain scale, however even despite the fact that I took a small opioid, it didn’t get rid of the pain altogether. A quick toke on my vape pen worked in conjunction with the pain med and brought my pain from 9 down to 1. I was able to work, which helped me be more productive.
Now sure, being a writer, I was writing a tad bit slower, however without the cannabis and the pain med, I would have been on my back cursing the universe for the infernal pain I was suffering. This is just one personal example of how cannabis helped me do work, and I’m sure there are many of you who can attest, that cannabis actually helps you work better.
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