Medical cannabis was legalised in 2016 in Australia however since 2019 the demand for medicinal cannabis has increased drastically and it is gaining a lot of popularity among patients and the public alike. Patients who have tried all traditional routes of medication and are not satisfied with the outcome finally decide to try medicinal cannabis for treatment. Medicinal CBD is known to reduce symptoms for conditions such as:
Research into the therapeutic use of cannabis in cancer care has shown improved potential efficiency in relieving the symptoms of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. Additional research has also shown medicinal cannabis in cancer decreases symptom management of cancer that might include nausea and vomiting, appetite increase or decrease and pain from side effects of cancer treatments.
A 2014 study provided within the Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health highlighted pain management as a potential benefit of marijuana and a 64% decrease in pain and anxiety with better sleep while under the medications. Right now, researchers share that benefits for depression also include the restoration of normal endocannabinoid function and mood stabilization.
A study from the Chronic Pain Working Group recorded a 50% reduction in reported pain intensity. Results from the workshop also noted the significant increase in physical function, and active self-management strategies along with medical CBD utilization have proven a place in the replacement of treatment of chronic non-cancer pain.
Active ingredients in cannabis and medical use can decrease migraine duration and frequencies of headache attach. Patients suffering from migraines and headaches can benefit from medicinal cannabis therapy due to its convenience and efficacy. Survey results demonstrated that headaches were reduced by 47.3% and migraines by 49% and tolerance development to both with prolonged cannabis usage.
Chronic insomnia disorder, characterised by difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep at least 3 nights per week for at least 3 months, is present in 6%–15% of the population. As a result, this comes with poor health outcomes and reduced productivity. This study has demonstrated that using cannabinoid therapy, is well tolerated and improves insomnia symptoms and sleep quality in individuals over 2 week periods.
According to an article published in Science Direct, medical cannabis users reported a 58% reduction in anxiety levels after just two doses. Adult participants between the ages of 21 and 65 years are administered CBD oil capsules or a placebo of sunflower lecithin oil capsules. Researchers have evaluated any relationship between anxiety, inflammation and CBD causes improvement in the neurocognitive effects of a CBD treatment.
Due to the increase in popularity, patients have begun worrying about their employment rights and working while using medicinal cannabis. Alcohol and drugs should not be consumed at work by any employees. The most critical industries for safety are construction, mining, healthcare and transportation. Many employee patients and worried about working while using medicinal cannabis and fear they will lose their jobs if drug traces are found during a drug test. Medicinal cannabis can be obtained after consulting a doctor and having a prescription. Following this, each patient’s case will be sent to the Therapeutic Goods Act (TGA) that will approve the treatment and only then can patients go ahead and use medicinal cannabis for their treatment.
Every state has their own rules and regulations for providing medicinal cannabis to its patients and working while using medicinal cannabis. The Victorian Law Reform does not restrict the use of medicinal cannabis in the workplace and that the employees would be protected from unfair and biased actions. https://altmed.com.au/lifestyle/cannabis-and-driving/
According to a report, 2008 National Centre for Education and Training of Addiction, 13.5% of the workforce had consumed cannabis in the past year. With tradespeople making up the highest category of use. The survey also revealed that about 2.5% of Australians go to work under the influence of cannabis. This means cannabis was already being used at the workplace in Australia before medicinal cannabis was legalised.
How will medicinal CBD affect the workplace?
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 in 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. It will necessitate employers to address working while using medicinal cannabis.
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.