Testing for cannabis in the work-place: A review of the evidence

Macdonald, S, Hall, W, Roman, P, Stockwell, T, Coghlan, M and Nesvaag, S (2010) Testing for cannabis in the work-place: A review of the evidence. Addiction, 105 3: 408-416. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02808.x

Author Macdonald, S
Hall, W
Roman, P
Stockwell, T
Coghlan, M
Nesvaag, S
Title Testing for cannabis in the work-place: A review of the evidence
Journal name Addiction   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0965-2140
Publication date 2010-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02808.x
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 105
Issue 3
Start page 408
End page 416
Total pages 9
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background Urinalysis testing in the work-place has been adopted widely by employers in the United States to deter employee drug use and promote 'drug-free' work-places. In other countries, such as Canada, testing is focused more narrowly on identifying employees whose drug use puts the safety of others at risk.
Aims We review 20 years of published literature on questions relevant to the objectives of work-place drug testing (WPDT), with a special emphasis on cannabis, the most commonly detected drug.
Results We conclude (i) that the acute effects of smoking cannabis impair performance for a period of about 4 hours; (ii) long-term heavy use of cannabis can impair cognitive ability, but it is not clear that heavy cannabis users represent a meaningful job safety risk unless using before work or on the job; (iii) urine tests have poor validity and low sensitivity to detect employees who represent a safety risk; (iv) drug testing is related to reductions in the prevalence of cannabis positive tests among employees, but this might not translate into fewer cannabis users; and (v) urinalysis has not been shown to have a meaningful impact on job injury/accident rates.
Conclusions Urinalysis testing is not recommended as a diagnostic tool to identify employees who represent a job safety risk from cannabis use. Blood testing for active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be considered by employers who wish to identify employees whose performance may be impaired by their cannabis use.
© 2010 Society for the Study of Addiction.
Keyword Cannabis
Drug testing
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
Official 2011 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 17 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 21 Feb 2011, 20:17:57 EST by Caroline Irle on behalf of School of Public Health