Research Roundup: does pot affect work performance?; patients say primary care providers lack cannabis knowledge

Also: according to research out of the University of Waterloo, U.S. consumers have positive perceptions of the legal cannabis market

cannabis-work

U.S. researchers set out to determine the effects of different types of cannabis use—before, during, and after hours—on work performance. Photo by thamyrissalgueiro/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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Does using cannabis at work hurt job performance? What if you use it before or after your shift?

Researchers in the U.S. asked these questions in a recent study. They published their findings in Group & Organization Management.

Dr. Jeremy Bernerth, management professor at San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business and H. Jack Walker, management professor at Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business carried out the research. They set out to determine the effects of different types of cannabis use—before, during, and after hours—on work performance.

For their study, they recruited 281 employees and their direct supervisors through social media and with the help of university business students. They asked each employee about the frequency and the timing of their cannabis use relative to their work shift. For example, they asked how often over the past 12 months had the employees used cannabis within two hours of starting work. The researchers also asked the supervisors to assess their employee’s task performance, citizenship behaviour, and counterproductive work behaviour.

According the study’s authors:

Results indicate using cannabis before or during work harmed four of five different dimensions of performance rated by the user’s direct supervisor, yet 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.

Berneth, Jeremy, et al., “Altered States or Much to Do About Nothing? A Study of When Cannabis Is Used in Relation to the Impact It Has on Performance”

In a San Diego State University press release, Bernerth suggests that after-hours cannabis use might actually offer some work-related benefits. “Individuals deciding to consume cannabis after finishing their work may be able to distract themselves from stressful on-the-job issues,” he said. “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.”

Trust your doctor?

Research out of Vermont suggests there is a “gap in understanding” between primary-care providers and their patients where cannabis is concerned.

Researchers gave an anonymous written survey to 1,009 Vermont primary-care, patients aged 18 years and older. Participants reported on their use of CBD and THC products. They also rated the perceived knowledge of their provider regarding these products.

health-cannabis
Research suggests there is a “gap in understanding” between primary-care providers and their patients. Photo by puckons/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The researchers published their findings in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health. They wrote:

Patients in our study did not perceive their primary care providers to be good sources of information regarding cannabis. Given the large proportion of patients using cannabinoids, primary care providers likely need more education about the potential risks and benefits. We suggest that providers initiate an open dialogue about cannabinoid use with all patients in order to create a safe space for patients to ask questions and monitor use. A recent survey of primary care providers found that 45% were not ready to answer questions about medical cannabis and 77% were interested in learning more information about medical cannabis.

Wershoven, Nicole, et al., “Use and Reported Helpfulness of Cannabinoids Among Primary Care Patients in Vermont”

Positive perceptions

According to research out of the University of Waterloo, U.S. consumers have positive perceptions of the legal cannabis market.

The researchers used data from International Cannabis Policy Study, conducted in Canada and the U.S. That online survey collected responses from 5,530 aged 16 to 65 in 2018.

The study’s authors published their work in the journal Addictive Behaviors. “The current findings suggest generally positive perceptions of the legal cannabis market,” they concluded. “Most respondents, including frequent cannabis consumers, perceived legal cannabis to be of equal or greater quality and convenience, and as safer to buy and use than cannabis from illegal sources. The one notable exception was price: legal cannabis products were perceived as more expensive than illegal products, particularly among frequent cannabis users.”

Thanks for the tip

Have you read a recent study that sheds new light on the topic of cannabis? Are you conducting a single-subject study of cannabis at work? Are you a researcher working on a clinical trial? If so, send me a link and I might feature it in a future edition of CannCentral’s Research Roundup. Thanks!

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