Marijuana use and safety in the workplace is an ongoing concern. According to the National Institute of Drug and Alcohol (2021), more than 11.8 million adults reported using marijuana in 2018. Now the emergence of Delta 8 is building even more fervor around marijuana use and creating more challenges for employers. Understanding this new derivative and knowing the signs and symptoms of marijuana use can help employers to maintain a safe work environment for employees.
Introducing Delta 8
Marijuana is known by many names, but now it is being recognized by its components. Delta 9, clinically known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or simply THC, is the chemical found in resin of cannabis plants responsible for creating the “high” that marijuana users seek. This also produces the metabolites that will cause a positive drug test. A close derivative of Delta 9 is Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as “Delta-8 THC” or “weed light”. This cannabinoid is produced from hemp and mimics the chemical make-up of Delta 9 with one slight difference. Users seek Delta 8 for the impact of “getting high” without the psychoactive effects of Delta 9, such as paranoia or anxiety. Yet since Delta 8 contains THC, it still puts employees at risk for becoming impaired and causing accidents in the workplace. And although it will still produce a positive drug test, the symptoms are much more discreet and difficult to discern.
Safety Impact from Marijuana Use
Marijuana use can severely impact workplace safety by causing impaired judgement, decreased reaction time and inhibited motor coordination creating a potential increase in workplace accidents. This is especially true for drivers. The National Institute of Drug and Alcohol (2021) reported a direct relationship between the concentration of THC in the blood and impaired driving ability causing a potential increase in the risk of crashes and fatalities. However, recognizing the impairing effects of marijuana or Delta 8 are not always obvious to the observer. Although Delta 8 produces no less risk than marijuana, it may not produce the classic signs of marijuana use such as paranoia or impaired body movement, making it more difficult for employers to identify its use. Other areas of observation that may help identify marijuana use include drowsiness, dizziness, anxiety or panic.
Workplace Policy on Marijuana
To maintain safety in the workplace, it is important to have a workplace policy on drug use clearly outlining the consequences of such use. With changes in marijuana state laws and the increase in marijuana usage, revisiting policies on marijuana may require updating them to reflect current laws, supervisory reasonable suspicion training or employee awareness education requirements. If you require assistance with your workplace safety policy, ASAP provides the know-how and the tools that make your policies work. Call us at 888-792-2727 x607 or visit www.go2asap.com so your team can work safely.
NIDA. (2021). Does marijuana use affect driving? https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/does-marijuana-use-affect-driving.
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