Casual use of cannabis rising among workers: Study

IWH’s yearly survey sees a rise in cannabis use, but not while at work

Casual use of cannabis rising among workers: Study
There has been a 9 per cent increase in cannabis use among workers in the last 12 months.

An increasing number of workers have reported using cannabis this past year, but this appears to be taking place at their own time and away from work, a recent study by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) has revealed.

IWH’s yearly survey has shown a 9 per cent rise in cannabis use among workers in the past 12 months, but only a marginal increase (1 per cent) in at-work use. There was also no evidence that workers are using cannabis more frequently.

The research also found that not all workers use cannabis for recreation. Of those who reported cannabis use in the past year, 16 per cent said they did so to help cope with a work-related injury or illness.

A separate study by researchers from the University of British Columbia found that cannabis use can help reduce incidents of depression and suicidal thoughts among people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Another study has shown that a third of workers believe they can consume cannabis at work with a medical license.

Workers’ perceptions of the risks of using cannabis before doing hazardous work have not substantially changed as well.

For those who never used cannabis or those who already stopped, 90 per cent saw this action as dangerous, up from 88 per cent from the previous year. There was also a slight rise on those who thought the action is dangerous among casual users (from 82 per cent to 85 per cent) and weekly users (from 66 per cent to 68 per cent).

Last October, ADP released a report saying recreational cannabis had a smaller-than-expected impact on workplace performance.

Organizational policies

Since cannabis use was legalized, more workers have reported having substance use policies implemented in their workplaces, rising to 79 per cent from 63 per cent before legalization.

About 40 per cent also said their workplaces have protocols for reporting co-workers who they suspect are impaired. However, only 30 per cent of workers admitted that they are comfortable using these protocols.