Study: Medical marijuana changes how employees use sick time

One argument used to oppose the legalization of medical marijuana suggests those who use medical marijuana will be less productive, increase accidents and injury, lower morale, and increase sick absences. Studies have shown that the use of illicit marijuana use had little impact on the workplace, but that heavy use was an issue. But now, research that was published in the journal Health Economics has looked into the use of licit medical marijuana and found it may actually be beneficial for the work place.

Researcher Darin F. Ullman looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey to analyze the effect of medical marijuana legalization on employee sick-days in states where it was legal. By examining before-and-after sick-day data from 24 states that legalized medical marijuana, Ullman found that respondents were 8% less likely to be stay home from work due to health issues after the medical marijuana laws were passed. In states where more conditions qualified for medical marijuana, the decrease in used sick-days was even more significant. This reduction in sick-leave may be result from patients having access to a medication that successfully treats conditions that would otherwise leave them unable to work. Unfortunately, analyses like this cannot say for certain that medical marijuana caused the decrease, it can only say that a decrease existed after the passage of medical marijuana laws.

Nonetheless, this information is great news for patients who may have been reluctant to use medical marijuana out of fear that it would interfere with their careers. This post has been provided by the Washington Post and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.