MAR 05, 2024 8:31 AM PST

What's the Link Between Workplace Injuries and Recreational Cannabis?

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A study published in JAMA Health Forum found that states with recreational cannabis laws demonstrated a 10% increase in workplace injuries among individuals ages 20 to 34. The findings support the researchers' hypothesis that recreational cannabis hinders cognitive function and care among younger workers.

The research team analyzed workplace injury data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses from 2006 to 2020. During this period, 13 states implemented recreational cannabis laws, and ten states began recreational cannabis sales. The analysis sample included 632 state-year observations that provided information on age-specific workplace injuries. 

The researchers used a multivariate regression framework and adjusted for dummy variables for each state and year. This analysis also adjusted for cannabis decriminalization law, the presence of a medical cannabis program, demographic characteristics, macroeconomic conditions, tobacco policies, substance use policies, and the maximum worker's compensation benefit. 

The findings suggested that recreational use hinders cognitive function and care among younger workers. The study also found a decline in workers' compensation benefit receipt and nontraumatic injuries following the implementation of cannabis laws, which has implications for older workers. 

Other studies have also highlighted increased risks of injuries attributed to cannabis use. A study of Canadian workers found that there was no difference in workplace injury risk for non-workplace cannabis use when compared to no past year cannabis use. However, the study found an association between workplace use and increased risk of workplace injury.

The study findings suggest that states with recreational cannabis laws should develop policies that reduce the risk of workplace injuries associated with cannabis use. More extensive studies are needed to examine the impacts of cannabis legislation on occupational health and safety for safety-sensitive and non-safety-sensitive work roles. In addition, the study highlights the need for thorough worker education on the risks of cannabis use.

Source: Eureka News Alert, JAMA Health Forum


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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