RICOVR Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions about marijuana legalization and the workplace, impairment, urine-based testing, breath testing, and XALIVA™ THC rapid drug test.

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.

In the US general workforce, marijuana positive tests increased 16.1% in 2020. The percentage of employees 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 1.4 million users for a total of 49.6 million users within the U.S. in 2020.  (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)

  • 3.6x more likely to be involved in an accident.
  • 5x more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Average cost of a workers’ compensation claim is $42,008.

A: We have put together a list of best practices with the following,

  • Treat marijuana use at work as you would alcohol, it’s not acceptable.
  • Conduct research about the type of drug test your company uses and stay on top of developments in technology. For example, urine testing detects past use up to 30 days so you may be unfairly penalizing past legal marijuana use. Saliva testing on the other hand has been shown to detect only recent use within the day.
  • Managers should be trained to spot signs of impairment and procedural next steps.
  • In states where employers must prove impairment, a positive drug test result can be combined with documented poor performance, unsafe behavior and accidents to justify adverse employment action.
  • Know your relevant state laws before setting policies and testing rules.
  • Employees must be educated about the company’s marijuana-use policy and the repercussions for positive tests, including random, post-accident or reasonable suspicion tests
  • For more information go to the article HR Policy Amid Marijuana Legalization.

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 immediately after usage 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.

Urine-Based 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 18 states that allow legal marijuana for recreational purposes as well as 37 states where medical marijuana is legal. (19)  See (Fig. 1) below.

Breath Testing

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.

XALIVA THC Rapid Drug Test

A: Rapid saliva-based drug testing prevents adulteration or cheating. This form of testing can be conducted directly on-site or at point-of-care by taking a non-invasive sample directly from the donor’s mouth. The process can also be observed and supervised for the entire duration, making cheating of any kind, whether it is through the use of additives or synthetic samples, ineffective. What is more, rapid saliva-based marijuana testing effectively solves the problem of “shy bladder” or bathroom privacy concerns.

Over 3,000 peer-reviewed research studies have used saliva samples as the test method and saliva-based testing is the only method endorsed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that can detect recent marijuana use.

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 immediately after usage and lasts for the entire marijuana window of impairment.  (11-13)

A: XALIVA™ THC is a rapid drug test for on-site recent use detection of marijuana. 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 on-site for recent marijuana use that workday. XALIVA THC helps you ensure safety, retain employees, and save money.

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 whereas most tests can only detect THC metabolites which only indicate past marijuana use. RICOVR healthcare will announce specific accuracy levels at the conclusion of our user testing.

A: Our lab results indicate a sensitivity of 1ng/ml for THC. Depending on current state laws, per se limits generally range from 2-5 ng/mL for THC drugged driving. RICOVR healthcare will announce specific levels at the conclusion of our user testing.

A: Existing solutions are based on lateral flow, which has limitations and accuracy issues. Lateral flow tests only have a sensitivity of +25 ng/mL, and are often inaccurate. Whereas, our lab results indicate a sensitivity of 1ng/ml for THC. Other digital  saliva-based tests are bulky (not portable), and at least 5x more expensive than XALIVA THC.

 

Core strength of our technology is high sensitivity, which results in higher accuracy.

Most tests are also urine-based which detects marijuana up to 30 days which is well past the window of impairment. There are also many issues with adulteration or cheating. Our  saliva-based technology has a window of detection that starts immediately after usage and lasts for the entire marijuana window of impairment. It’s easy to administer on-site, donor driven, non-invasive, and prevents cheating.

A: RICOVR healthcare’s goal is to launch as soon as possible. We are currently conducting user testing and are actively seeking strategic partners to conduct a pilot program. To learn more and sign up go to

https://www.ricovr.com/get-early-access/.

Sources:

  1. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/04/1-in-3-americans-lives-where-recreational-marijuana-legal-434004
  2. https://abcnews.go.com/US/people-marijuana-based-professions-study/story?id=54417564
  3. https://newsroom.questdiagnostics.com/2021-05-26-Marijuana-Workforce-Drug-Test-Positivity-Continues-Double-Digit-Increases-to-Keep-Overall-Drug-Positivity-Rates-at-Historically-High-Levels,-Finds-Latest-Quest-Diagnostics-Drug-Testing-Index-TM-Analysis
  4. https://www.remedyreview.com/data/survey-high-at-work
  5. https://instamotor.com/blog/marijuana-high-at-work-survey
  6. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt35325/NSDUHFFRPDFWHTMLFiles2020/2020NSDUHFFR1PDFW102121.pdf
  7. C. Zwerling, J. Ryan and E.J. Orav in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
  8. https://www.workingpartners.com/resources/facts-and-figures/
  9. https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/costs/workers-compensation-costs/
  10. https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/documents/812440-marijuana-impaired-driving-report-to-congress.pdf
  11. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2788264?guestAccessKey=c31eeaa1-94d3-4f16-8f22-8ab39c92b3cb&utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=012622
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34173005/
  13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763421000178
  14. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/cannabis-use-could-impair-your-ability-to-drive-for-4-hours#The-effects-of-cannabis
  15. https://academic.oup.com/clinchem/article/59/12/1780/5622101
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22004672/
  17. https://academic.oup.com/clinchem/article/65/9/1171/5608513?login=true#207882821
  18. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/marijuana-workforce-drug-test-positivity-continues-double-digit-increases-to-keep-overall-drug-positivity-rates-at-historically-high-levels-finds-latest-quest-diagnostics-drug-testing-index-analysis-301299762.html
  19. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763421000178