New research challenges the notion of cannabis hangovers and lingering effects the day after consumption, questioning the necessity of employer drug testing policies. Despite some states adopting more lenient regulations, the majority still permit employers to test workers for drugs, including marijuana. This means individuals can face job loss or rejection based on the presence of even minimal THC levels, regardless of medical marijuana usage or health-related reasons for cannabis consumption. The study’s findings prompt a reconsideration of why employers should be concerned about employees’ activities the night before their shifts if lingering THC effects are minimal or nonexistent.
Results of the Experiment:
According to a recent study, which reviewed 20 previous studies, the impairment caused by cannabis consumption typically lasts for a “window” of 3-10 hours. The duration of impairment depends on factors such as dosage, method of consumption, and frequency of use. Higher doses, oral consumption (as opposed to inhalation), and occasional use were associated with longer-lasting effects.
Interestingly, the study found that cognition and performance were not affected beyond this timeframe, and no lingering effects were detected the following day. Dr. Danielle McCartney from the University of Sydney emphasized that most studies did not find any “next day” impairment from cannabis use, and the few that did had significant limitations. The overall scientific evidence supporting the notion that cannabis impairs performance the day after use is limited.
Out of the 20 studies analyzed, only 12 tests (3.5% of the total) showed negative effects on the day after cannabis consumption. However, it is important to note that the testing protocols in those studies were not optimal, and the studies themselves were conducted over 18 years ago.
How Does The Drug Test Work?
Drug testing procedures used by employers can vary, but typically, the presence of any THC in the system is considered a failed test. It’s worth noting that certain tests can still detect THC even if an individual consumed just one joint several months ago, potentially leading to job loss. THC can remain in the body for an extended period, and there are various types of drug tests available:
- Blood tests can detect THC for up to 2 weeks.
- Saliva tests can detect THC for up to 30 days.
- Urine tests can detect THC for up to 60 days.
- Hair follicle tests can detect THC for up to 120 days.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s body processes drugs differently, so there is no definitive answer to how long a drug will stay in the body. Factors such as body size (BMI), metabolism, overall health, and frequency of consumption all play a role in the rate at which the body eliminates substances.
Some employers require drug tests as a condition for hiring, while others conduct random tests on employees, creating uncertainty for workers. Many individuals find urine tests particularly degrading, as the process often involves being observed by the tester.
How Is Drug Testing Implemented at Work Space?
The recent study has important implications for workplace drug testing. Researchers examined the effects of cannabis consumption on driving and safety-sensitive task performance, and found that these tasks were not affected by cannabis use the previous day. This finding helps dispel concerns regarding cannabis use among workers, especially in professions like truck driving where there is a labor shortage.
The study also compared the next-day effects of THC to alcohol hangovers and concluded that a THC “hangover” is unlikely to be more impairing than an alcohol hangover, which is generally tolerated among drivers and individuals in safety-sensitive positions.
Drug testing procedures can raise privacy concerns and are often considered degrading. Additionally, there is a potential for errors in drug test results. Many organizations, including the ACLU, argue that the primary concern should be an individual’s ability to perform tasks rather than the presence of drugs in their system. The consequences of failing a drug test can be significant, including job loss and an impact on livelihood. Individuals who use cannabis for medicinal purposes may fear giving up the plant simply to secure employment.
The study authors emphasize the need for policymakers to consider the consequences of overly strict workplace regulations, as they can lead to termination of employment based on positive drug tests. Such regulations can also negatively affect the quality of life for individuals who rely on medicinal cannabis for conditions like insomnia or chronic pain, forcing them to abstain due to fear of workplace or roadside drug tests.
IMPORTANT: The information on this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional for personalised medical advice. The authors of this blog are not medical professionals and disclaim any liability for the use of the information provide.