Sparking up a “J” after work shouldn’t be cause for being called into the boss’s office the next day. In fact, according to data published in the journal Group & Organization Management, cannabis consumption while away from the job is not associated with any lingering adverse effects on workplace performance.
Commenting on the study’s findings, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Suspicionless marijuana testing has never been an evidence-based policy. Rather, these discriminatory practices are a holdover from the zeitgeist of the 1980s ‘war on drugs.’ But times have changed, attitudes have changed, and in many places, the marijuana laws have changed. It is time for workplace policies to adapt to this new reality.”
A pair of researchers from San Diego State University and Auburn University in Alabama compiled data from 281 employees and their direct supervisors with respect to marijuana use and job performance. Authors reported that an employee’s cannabis use either immediately before or during work hours was associated with “counterproductive work behaviors,” whereas “after-work cannabis use was not related (positively or negatively) to any form of performance as rated by the user’s direct supervisor.”
Researchers concluded, “Contrary to commonly held assumptions, not all forms of cannabis use harmed performance. In fact, after-work cannabis use did not relate to any of the workplace performance dimensions. This finding casts doubt on some stereotypes of cannabis users and suggests a need for further methodological and theoretical development in the field of substance use.”
The study’s authors acknowledged that despite the widespread implementation of workplace drug screening programs, “there is virtually no empirical research exploring cannabis use in relation to the modern workplace.”
Although the study doesn’t find any direct evidence of this, researchers contend using cannabis after work may be beneficial. Research actually suggests marijuana’s effects could play a role in relieving job-related stress.
“The relaxation induced by cannabis may help employees restore energy spent during the day and they may subsequently return with more stamina to devote to their job once they are back on the clock,” the research team proposed.