Cannabis Consumers at No Greater Risk of Occupational Injuries

Victoria, Canada: Adults who consume cannabis are no more likely to suffer injuries at work than are those employees who abstain from the substance, according to the findings of a literature review published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse.

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of British Columbia conducted a systematic review of scientific papers assessing any potential links between cannabis consumption and occupational accidents.

Investigators determined that most of the existing literature on the subject is limited by poor research designs. Specifically, few studies “employed research designs that ensured that cannabis use preceded the occupational injury outcome.” Others failed to adequately assess or control for confounding variables, such as the concurrent use of alcohol or other psychoactive substances.

Due to these limitations, authors concluded, “[T]he current body of evidence does not provide sufficient evidence to support the position that cannabis users are at increased risk of occupational injury.”

Their finding is consistent with that of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine which conducted its own literature review in 2017 and concluded, “There is no or insufficient evidence to support … a statistical association between cannabis use and … occupational accidents or injuries.”

In recent months, lawmakers in several municipalities – including New York City, Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, DC – have enacted legislation limiting the use of marijuana-specific pre-employment drug screening.

Both Maine and Nevada have enacted state-specific legislation barring certain employers from refusing to hire a worker solely because he or she tested positive for cannabis on a pre-employment drug screen.

Full text of the study, “Systemic review of cannabis use and risk of occupational injury,” appears in Substance Use and Misuse. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Legalization and Impact on the Workplace.”