Doctors often start by prescribing lower doses and gradually increase it over time, once the patient is used to it. Medicinal CBD can impair motor performance with high-level doses and there can be some safety issues for the employee patients. As with all medicinal CBD, it is recommended that employees should provide a letter from a medicinal practitioner confirming they will be healthy for duty during their medications.
Employers are sometimes sceptical about hiring medicinal cannabis users due to safety concerns. Cannabis can impair one’s short term memory or alter one’s decision-making process. Cannabis contains varying amounts of the potential therapeutic compound of CBD, which may help suppress anxiety attacks. However, there’s no question that marijuana can produce short-term problems with thinking, working memory, executive function, and psychomotor function. One’s body movements can become slow and this can impact the reaction time.
However, not hiring a person who has approval from the TGA and a doctor’s prescription could be a violation of that individual’s human rights. Employers can even face legal challenges if they refuse and the state still permits them to use it.
Drug testing at the workplace will need tighter policies on positive tests to keep users out of the workplace and avoid driving. Pre-employment drug testing will be subjected to new rules and random testing will also require specific guidelines on what is required and what is not. Increased use of medicinal cannabis in Victoria and Australia will push employers to make it a high priority to revise their drug tolerance policies.
THC is an active component of cannabis and this accumulates in the fat cells of the body and takes a long time to break down and be metabolised. It can take more than 30 days for the traces of THC to fully vanish from the body. Drugs do not have a cut-off level like alcohol which is 0.005%BAC. Urine drug testing kits can detect cannabis up to 10 days for non-frequent uses and 30 days for frequent users.
It is the employer’s responsibility to communicate effectively to employees who consume cannabis for medicinal purposes. They need to be reminded that using prescription drugs like medicinal cannabis will require them to notify OHS staff mainly in safety-critical industries.