Marijuana Legalization and the Workplace
A: Legalization has led to a rise in workplace marijuana use; 1 in 3 Americans now live-in states where marijuana is legal for anyone at least 21 years old.
The percentage of employees in the general U.S. workforce testing positive for marijuana following an on-the-job accident increased to its highest level in 25 years in 2022, according to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Test Index. Employees self-reporting being “high” at work increased 60% from 2014 to 2019. 39% of marijuana users admit to going to work high at least once per week. 17% admitted to getting high while on the job with 63% of employees doing so at lunch or on a break. (1-5)
A: In a 2018 study conducted by the CDC of the more than 10,000 workers surveyed, 14.6 percent answered yes to the question, “Did you use marijuana or hashish in the last 30 days?” The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported marijuana drug use increased by 2.9 million users for a total of 52.2 million users within the U.S. in 2021. (2, 6)
A: Workplace marijuana use is on the rise and causes impairment, which means skills such as reaction time, divided attention, cognitive performance, route planning, decision making, and risk taking are negatively affected. In one of the largest impairment studies of its kind, “Driving Performance and Cannabis Users’ Perception of Safety,” showed that both frequent and occasional marijuana users were impaired during a simulated driving task for up to 4.5 hours after smoking cannabis. (10-17)
Employees who test positive for marijuana have 55% more industrial accidents, as well as 85% more injuries and 75% more absenteeism. Marijuana users are more likely to cause a workplace accident and file a workers’ compensation claim. (7-9)
A: Eight states have passed laws prohibiting adverse employment actions based on the use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace. These laws place restrictions on the employer from taking adverse action on employees for using marijuana legally outside of work hours. Some states now require that employees exhibit signs of impairment before taking adverse action from a positive THC drug test.
Most of these new laws allow for testing in safety-sensitive positions and or based on the drug test method. For example, California has banned the use of tests that detect cannabis metabolites or past use. They will only allow tests that detect active THC molecules, or recent use with saliva-based tests. We compiled a breakdown of new marijuana (THC) employment laws that affect drug testing by state. To learn more click here.
*Disclaimer; this is only for informational purposes and not intended to be used as legal advice or opinion. Employers should always consult with their attorney on labor or employment legal matters.
A: We have put together a list of best practices with the following,
Impairment from Marijuana (THC)
A: The window of impairment is the length of time a person is negatively affected “high” from marijuana’s (THC) psychoactive properties. The latest science demonstrates significant impairment for up to 4.5 hours following smoking of cannabis. Other studies have shown the window of impairment can be as long as 12 hours depending on the task measured, the amount of THC consumed, the method of THC consumption, the frequency of consumption, as well as physiological differences between participants. (11-17)
A: It refers to the amount of time that marijuana is able to be detected in a drug test. Unlike any other drug test methods, saliva-based testing has a window of detection that starts after use and lasts for the entire marijuana window of impairment. This is a key difference for industries concerned with detecting recent use of marijuana and potential impairment at the workplace, making saliva the best option for employer drug testing.
A: There are two main issues with current urine-based marijuana drug tests – adulteration and the length of detection time in comparison to the window of impairment.
Adulteration refers to an individual cheating on a urine test, which can be easily accomplished as the tests are generally not supervised by a third party. The subject can therefore purchase fake urine or use a clean sample from someone else to bypass the test. The adulteration issues are demonstrated by lower urine positivity rates for marijuana when compared to increasing positivity rates among saliva-based tests. In 2020, marijuana positivity increased only 16.1% for urine tests versus 35% for saliva-based tests. (18)
The length of detection time for urine is well past the window of impairment. This refers to the amount of time that marijuana is detected in urine and can range from a few days up to 30 days for marijuana (THC). The window of impairment, on the other hand, refers to the length of time marijuana’s psychoactive properties affects the user and creates a “high.” A comprehensive review of all impairment studies from Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews suggests that cannabis impairment can last 3 to 10 hours, making urine-based testing ineffective and potentially unfair, especially in the 23 states that allow legal marijuana for recreational purposes as well as 38 states where medical marijuana is legal. (19) See (Fig. 1) below.
A: Several marijuana breathalyzer companies are marketing themselves as only being able to detect within a 2-to-3 hour window of “peak impairment”, but what this actually means is that they are not able to detect the entire window of impairment. In fact, even in academic studies, the limit of detection for THC in breath was found to be less than 3 hours. Based on the scientific evidence, breath is an inadequate technology for detecting recent THC use within the entire window of impairment and relying on breath for drug testing policies could lead to negative, and even dangerous, outcomes in the workplace. (15, 16)
In addition, the detection windows claimed by the breathalyzer companies don’t account for complications of timing and sample collection in the real-world which increase the relevant window of detection. See example in (Fig. 2) below.
A: Breath testing or cannabis breathalyzers may not be able to detect edibles. These products include gummies, brownies, cookies, and other items. No academic research to date shows that breath testing can effectively detect THC consumed in an edible product. Breath testing could lead to adverse safety outcomes if implemented in workplaces, as edibles are the fastest-growing method of cannabis consumption in the U.S.
Impairment Apps and Eye Movement Testing
A: It is important for employers to maintain safe workplaces by ensuring there is no cannabis use before or during work hours, especially in safety-sensitive positions. Rapid saliva-based testing provides the optimal length of THC detection to cover the entire workday. It can establish what is causing impairment (e.g., cannabis was used negligently before or during work hours) and has numerous benefits over breath, urine, and hair testing.
Technologies based on cognitive motor behaviors or eye movement have great potential to assess impairment, but the need to establish individual baselines, currently render such technologies limited in use. An individual must be tested before they are impaired to establish a baseline. This makes this technology difficult to implement on-site and roadside. Lastly, this technology cannot establish the cause of impairment, e.g. cannabis use.
XALIVA THC Rapid Drug Test
A: Traditional drug test methods with urine and hair detect cannabis metabolites which indicate past use up to 30 days or more. Employee-rights groups have long argued those tests are discriminatory, penalizing people for using on their own time and away from the workplace.
Unlike traditional test methods, saliva testing has a window of detection that starts immediately after use and lasts for the entire 3-to-10-hour marijuana window of impairment. This provides fairness to legal users who use responsibly and maintains safety by detecting only recent use that better aligns with the potential impairment window.
There are only three THC drug testing methods endorsed by the U.S. federal government (SAMHSA) and only one supports recent-use detection, saliva.
Lastly, rapid saliva based-testing is easy to administer on-site, acts as a deterrent to workplace use, donor driven, non-invasive, and prevents cheating as the process can be observed and supervised for the entire duration.
A: The length of detection time for rapid saliva-based drug testing more closely matches the window of impairment for cannabis. As saliva testing can detect THC over a longer period of time, it is able to measure THC within the entire window of impairment, whereas breath cannot and urine testing only detects past marijuana (THC) use up to 30 days. Rapid saliva-based testing has a window of detection that starts after use and lasts for the entire marijuana window of impairment. (11-13)
A: RICOVR healthcare’s rapid THC saliva test uses the first truly portable nanoparticle plasmonic fiberoptic absorbance biosensor (P-FAB) detection technology, allowing for fast, non-invasive specimen collection and analysis. It uses only a small amount of saliva with a user-friendly workflow to detect recent THC use within 5 minutes. Watch our workflow and technology videos to learn more https://www.ricovr.com/xaliva-thc/.
A: Yes, It can detect in nanograms actual delta 9 THC molecules. Traditional drug tests can only detect THC metabolites that only indicate past marijuana use. Our lab results support a cut-off of 10 ng/mL THC in saliva. RICOVR Healthcare will announce sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy levels at the conclusion of our user testing.
A: Our lab results support a cut-off of 10 ng/mL THC in saliva. RICOVR Healthcare will announce sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy levels at the conclusion of our user testing.
A: Existing solutions are based on lateral flow, which has limitations and accuracy issues. Whereas our lab results indicate a sensitivity of 1 ng/mL for THC. Lateral flow tests require the user to interpret the test results via a visual line. This can lead to human error and misinterpretation of test results. XALIVA THC provides a clear positive or negative result on screen, removing the risk of human error.
Other digital saliva-based tests are bulky (not portable), and at least 5x more expensive than XALIVA THC.
Most tests are also urine-based that detect marijuana up to 30 days which is well past the window of impairment. These traditional tests also have many issues with adulteration or cheating and bathroom privacy concerns.
Core strength of our P-FAB technology is high sensitivity, which results in higher accuracy. Our saliva-based technology has a window of detection that starts immediately after use and lasts for the entire marijuana window of impairment. It’s easy to administer on-site, donor-driven, non-invasive and prevents cheating.
A: Marijuana legalization has led to increased use during work hours. The percentage of employees high at work increased by 60% from 2014 to 2019. 39% of marijuana users admit to going to work high at least once per week. 17% admitted to getting high while on the job, with 63% of employees doing so at lunch or on a break. Workplace impairment poses an inherent safety risk and increases the likelihood of workplace accidents and injuries. (1-5),(7-9)
Traditional drug test methods with urine and hair detect cannabis metabolites which indicate past use of up to 30 days or more. Employee-rights groups have long argued those tests are discriminatory, penalizing people for using on their own time and away from the workplace.
XALIVA THC detects recent marijuana use on-site and provides you with the objective information needed to make a better-informed and fairer decision on whether an employee is a safety risk. With high accuracy, it provides real-time THC detection using saliva within five minutes while being the most portable and cost-effective solution to screen employees.
Our solution provides fairness to legal users outside of work while ensuring safety on the job. It allows you to retain responsible employees while ensuring workplace safety with a fair test that only detects recent use.
A: No, it will not detect CBD. XALIVA THC will only detect Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).