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Drug Testing

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, weed, pot or a joint. No matter the term that is most familiar to you, this age-old plant has been known to many cultures and societies for centuries. Surprisingly, although only more recently used for its medicinal properties in the United States, cannabis has been used in countries like India for child birth pain, in ancient Greece for sores, nosebleed and tapeworms and in the medieval Islamic world for vomiting and fever. However, it was not until the 1600s that marijuana made its debut in the United States and is now legal for medicinal purposes in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

For a significant portion of the US population marijuana is used for recreational purposes and is considered illegal. For those who inhale or smoke marijuana its effects on the body takes place in a few minutes, peaking in less than fifteen minutes and lasts for about four hours. If cannabis is ingested orally an individual does not feel the effects for an hour with symptoms peaking in about two hours and lasting for about 6 hours.

Some of the negative effects felt include paranoia, impaired memory and altered motor function. But on the positive side marijuana can help with increasing appetite and pain management. Marinol, cesamet and sativex are just some of the synthetic forms of marijuana available for medical use.

Most states that have legalized Marijuana have seen a decrease in crimes associated with cannabis but an increase in vehicle accidents associated with motor vehicle operators who have used marijuana prior to driving.

Given marijuana’s negative effects on one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle, the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center has begun to look at ways that cannabis affects the brains of motor vehicle operators and as well, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently researching the development of a drug test for marijuana intoxication like those tests used for alcohol intoxication. This type of innovative technology is still years away. Until then it almost certain that there will be a segment of the population that see marijuana as the all good herb with medicinal properties and good for recreational use taking the user to the ultimate state of euphoria. While others will see it as a harmful drug responsible for motor vehicle accidents and criminal behavior. Whatever, the perspective, it is certain that Marijuana will have its place in modern society for centuries more to come.

Workplace drug use is on the rise. After years of steadily declining, the percentage of American workers testing positive for drug use has steadily risen and reached a decade-long high in 2015. Some of the nation’s largest drug testing labs have indicated that the positivity rate in 2015 rose to 4 percent—a level not seen since 20051. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (NCADD), drug abuse costs employers $81 billion annually2 through lost productivity, workplace accidents and injuries, employee absenteeism, low morale, and increased illness.

Signs that an employee may be using drugs include inconsistent work quality, poor concentration, increased absenteeism, unexplained disappearances from the workplace, carelessness and disregard for job site safety, extended lunches and early departures, and deterioration in personal appearance and/or hygiene, among others.

While these signs may be indicative of drug use, employee drug testing can provide employers with certainty that their workplace is drug-free. Many employers drug test pre-employment, but there are other kinds of drug testing, including post-accident, random testing, return-to-duty, and post-rehabilitation.

Benefits of random drug testing include improved workplace safety and reduced company liability. A study of the effects of drug testing at the Southern Pacific Railroad showed that it resulted in accidents decreasing from 2,234 accidents before drug testing to just 322 in the first half of the fourth year of the drug-testing program. This represents a 71.2 percent annual decrease in accidents.3 Company costs may also be reduced through incentive programs offered by health insurance and other carriers including property, casualty, and liability insurance as well as Worker’s Compensation carriers. Long-term benefits of random drug testing are deterring current employees from engaging in drug use, preventing the need for substance abuse recovery programs, and improved employee morale and productivity.

There are many companies that can assist your business with drug testing. Before choosing a company, there are some considerations to take into account, like the number of drug tests you need and what type of test you want, whether it be a hair follicle drug test, urine drug test, or breath alcohol test. Each test has its pros and cons, so be sure to choose the drug test and testing company that can help your business create the best drug-free workplace.


1. http://ehstoday.com/health/drug-abuse-costs-employers-81-billion-year
2. http://ehstoday.com/standards/osha/ehs_imp_36028
About the Author

Jessica Filippi is a freelance writer and editor with over a decade of publishing experience. Offering a full range of publishing services including editorial and proofreading, blog writing, and self-publishing, she may be contacted through her website, www.jessicafilippi.com, or directly at jessica.filippi@gmail.com.