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Marijuana-Positive Drug Tests Not Associated With Elevated Risk Of Workplace Accidents

Evansville, IN: Past use of cannabis, as identified by the presence of the inert carboxy THC metabolite on a standard urine test, is not positively associated with workplace accidents, according to data published online in the Journal of Addictive Diseases.

The study’s author assessed whether there exists a statistical association between marijuana use and work related accidents by comparing the proportion of cannabis positive urine specimens for post-accident verses random samples in a cohort of employees from five states (Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania).

“This study fell short of finding an association between marijuana use and involvement of workplace accidents,” the author concluded. He added, “This study cannot be taken as definitive evidence of absence of an association between marijuana and work related accidents but the findings are compelling.”

A 2010 review of 20 years of published literature pertaining to cannabis, drug testing, and workplace performance similarly concluded, “[I]t is not clear that heavy cannabis users represent a meaningful job safety risk unless using before work or on the job; urine tests have poor validity and low sensitivity to detect employees who represent a safety risk; … [and] urinalysis has not been shown to have a meaningful impact on job injury/accident rates.”

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Marijuana use and workplace safety: An examination of urine drug tests,” appears in the Journal of Addictive Diseases.