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Marijuana & The Workplace: What You Need to Know


  1. It’s not your mother’s marijuana: That’s right, Virginia, the marijuana your parents did in the 60s and 70s had a lower THC content (2-3%).  Today’s marijuana is more potent and contains more THC, the primary psychoactive component.  This may predispose more people to addiction and adverse effects (such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, and vomiting).  (Reefer Madness may contain a shred of truth?)
  2. Marijuana can have a negative effect in the workplace:  The delayed decision making, diminished concentration and memory, paranoia, and drowsiness that marijuana can cause may affect not only the health of those using the drug, but the safety of coworkers.  Remember, marijuana’s intoxicating effects can remain in the body long after a person stops using it.
  3. The long-term effects of marijuana could harm your health: In addition to side effects described above, other possible effects include breathing problems (from smoke irritating the lungs), higher risk of lung infection or cancer, increased heart rate (increased risk of heart attack), and numerous mental conditions.
  4. Marijuana use is on the rise: It’s the most (or according to some sources, 2nd most) used illegal drug in the U.S.  Many people believe that marijuana is similar to–or safer than–alcohol.  Washington and Colorado legalized the drug for adult recreational use in 2012 and it’s predicted that more states will legalize marijuana in the future.
  5. Marijuana is a gateway drug: Typically, marijuana is the first drug that people abuse.  Yale University recently discovered that both young men and women who used marijuana were far more likely to later abuse prescription drugs (with young men having a 25% higher risk). It’s not yet known if the reason is cognitive or physical.