Surveys carried out in Australia consistently point to cannabis as the most widely used illicit substance in the country.
Marijuana is also called cannabis, grass, ganja, pot, dope, and weed. It has dangerous effects on the user’s brain and central nervous system.
According to the United Nation’s 2014 World Drug Report, Australia ranks seventh in marijuana use worldwide. Current estimates are that 750,000 Australians use cannabis every week.
Unfortunately there also is a high likelihood that you have marijuana users among your staff.
This is why it is potentially business critical to invest in drug testing for marijuana in your workplace.
Your Brain On Marijuana
First off, you have to understand what marijuana does to a person’s brain and body. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the chemical responsible for the euphoric high you experience from marijuana.
Marijuana lets your brain focus on one thing, a singular thing, and keeps you fixed on it for quite some time. It may also lead to hallucinations. This is the reason why a person under the influence of marijuana should not drive, work, or do anything that requires good coordination and a sound mind.
Marijuana has long-term effects on the brain, specifically in areas of memory, attention, and concentration. A study on the long-term cognitive effects of marijuana showed that the drug hinders the brain from forming new memories.
Heavy marijuana use has also been linked to respiratory problems, development of schizophrenia, and social maladjustment.
Synthetic Marijuana: Dangerous, Legal, and Readily Available
Many users who crave the high that marijuana gives sometimes experiment with synthetic marijuana. Synthetic cannabis is fairly new, legal, and just reached the online market in 2004.
What it does is function similarly to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and bind to the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
The user usually smokes this drug or drinks it in tea form. It goes by the names: Northern Lights, Lightning Gold, Blue Lotus, Mojo, and Godfather.
The negative harmful effects of synthetic marijuana come from its additives. The chemicals are mixed with solvents and the chemicals are not consistent. As the law regulates and bans some chemicals, the manufacturers move quickly to replace them with new chemicals.
Due to this, different packets may produce unexpected effects. There is no telling whether what is stated on the ingredients list of the packet is what’s really inside.
The effects of synthetic marijuana are far worse than that of marijuana. In Australia, it has caused seizures in adults, violent and crazy behaviour in women, and chest pain and heart problems to younger people.
Synthetic cannabinoids are within easy reach of your employees. With the evolving chemicals used in its creation, it will be difficult for a conventional drug testing method to detect it.
Effects of Marijuana Use On Workplace Environment
You can tell a marijuana user by:
- a marked increase in appetite
- dilated pupils
- bloodshot eyes
Someone high on marijuana is unable to work well. While high they are in a stupor, and when coming down on it, are in a slowed-down state.
Marijuana users will have little valuable input when working with a team. This is, of course, likely to create ill-feeling among your other employees.
These marijuana users are not only harming themselves but also your other workers. They have the power to create a negative workplace environment and negatively affect your company’s morale.
Marijuana’s Negative Effects On Workplace Productivity
Depending on the dosage and how it is consumed, marijuana can bring on various effects.
- impaired mental capacity
- short-term memory loss
- poor coordination
- a distorted perception of reality
- loss of inhibition
- spontaneous laughter
- low interest in completing tasks
Since it causes a whole variety of impairment, your employee will not be able to perform complex tasks at work. Clearly, it is risky to entrust someone under the influence of marijuana with important tasks and documents. Drug users are prone to making errors and mistakes. These mistakes can prove to be expensive for your company.
A marijuana user who regularly operates heavy machinery or drives vehicles is posing an increased risk for everyone.
You can see how this will eventually impact insurance costs, compensation costs, and legal costs.
Coming Down On Marijuana
Coming down on marijuana, especially synthetic marijuana is brutal. Some reported withdrawal symptoms are:
- inner turmoil
- intense drug cravings
- sleep paralysis
- excessive sweating
- loss of energy; lethargy
- poor brain functioning; like being in a stupor
This drug traps a user in a cycle of dependence, for without being high on it, things get ugly.
Workers Who Use Drugs Can Raise Your Health Insurance Costs
The effects of marijuana may not be evident in the short term, but long-term effects are serious.
Marijuana users put themselves at an increased risk of acquiring respiratory diseases. In addition they risk the development of psychological problems.
Medical costs of a drug user are typically higher than those of other employees. Therefore your marijuana-using employees are raising your insurance costs too.
Employing a Marijuana User Can Ruin Your Reputation
Any report of accidents, injuries, or deaths linked to your business is a blight on your reputation. Consequently, a drug using employee has all the self-destructiveness to ruin everything you have worked so hard to build.
After all, how can a potential client trust you if you cannot even maintain order in the workplace and are blind to your employees’ drug use?
How To Deal With Marijuana Use At Work
As a business owner, you must protect yourself and your employees from the scourge of marijuana addiction.
You can do this by developing a comprehensive, well-written and well-enforced drug-use policy which includes marijuana drug testing.
Drug testing for marijuana will help you determine which of your workers use marijuana and address it early on.
Drug Testing For Marijuana: Here Are Your Options
Urine testing is the most commonly used for marijuana testing. It can typically detect marijuana use for the past month.
This is the least invasive of all marijuana detection methods. It can detect marijuana use in the past 48 hours.
Drug Testing For Marijuana As Part of a Comprehensive Drug Safe Policy
You can protect your business and employees from marijuana abuse by crafting a workplace drug policy that includes testing for marijuana.
An easy to execute workplace drug policy that is straightforward on the consequences is a proven method to combat marijuana abuse at work.
We can then roll out comprehensive and targeted marijuana and other drug testing to keep your workers and your company safe.
If you want to learn more about creating a drug safe workplace, feel free to contact us. We are passionate about keeping businesses safe and drug-free. We guarantee confidentiality and a quick turnaround of accurate results.