- As the benefits of cannabis become increasingly accepted, more workers than ever own up to using the substance at work, regardless of the sector.
- From hospitality and entertainment to design and the arts, and even the world of business and marketing, it looks like the whole labour market has embraced the notion of consuming weed at work.
- While some workers use it to escape the day-to-day stress, others find it useful to ease muscle pain caused by a demanding occupation.
Because of the idea most people have of cannabis, one would think that using weed at work is anything but advisable. As with all thing cannabis, the first reaction is to frown at it. However, on closer examination of the work environment and its characteristics, it becomes self-evident that, if the choice of the strain is tailored to the needs of each employee, smoking a joint or vaping some oil while on duty is not necessarily a no-go. This is why workers across all sectors are relying on cannabis as a way to make it through the working day.
In this context, the Department of Public Health of Colorado, USA, where both medical and recreational cannabis are legal since 2014 - the policy was adopted in 2012 -has just published the results of a 2014-2015 survey aimed at identifying occupations where cannabis is consumed the most.
The respondents were surveyed regarding their occupation and, for the first time in the history of the survey, were asked questions on cannabis use - the survey questionnaire has evolved throughout the years, with the 2014-2015 edition focusing on this aspect to get a more accurate picture of the situation in Colorado. Out of the 10,169 workers responding, 14.6% reported using marijuana during the preceding 30 days.
1- Gold medal: The accommodation and food service industry
Respondents who answered "yes" when asked if they had used cannabis in the past 30 days were then asked questions on the frequency and the method of use. These data were then linked to their field of work - the main goal of the survey - and were used to compile a list of the occupations with the highest prevalence of cannabis use. Topping the list was the accommodation and food service industry, with 32.2% of respondents reporting current marijuana use.
2- Silver medal: Arts, sports and entertainment
Second on the list were the arts, design, entertainment, sports and media industries. It is a well-known fact that certain cannabis strains enhance creativity, so it is no wonder that creative professionals rely on it for inspiration. Athletes, in turn, who have been long claiming for access to medical cannabis in the US, turn to the substance to ease muscle pain.
3- Bronze medal: Construction and production
The podium was completed by the production industry, a broad sector made up of professionals as diverse as construction workers, assembly line operators, mechanics, administrative staff, painters and power plant workers.
Next came industries related to farming and agriculture, and to biology and physics, followed closely by retailers. The group, which makes up the largest proportion of Colorado's workforce, came fifth with 19.4% of respondents reporting cannabis use.
Other cannabis-friendly jobs
Business professionals such as representatives and marketing experts were ranked in the lower half of the table, more precisely in 17th position, followed by truck drivers and transport companies delivering all kinds of goods, with 10.3% of respondents reporting cannabis use. At the bottom of the list were social workers, teachers, librarians and security staff, with healthcare professionals ranking last with just 6.3% of respondents admitting to having used cannabis in the past 30 days.
But, what type of cannabis?
Probably because there's a tendency to believe that all cannabis strains get you high, questions regarding the respondents' preferred variety were left out of the questionnaire. This, however, is not the case at all, and aspects like the cannabinoid content of the strain - whether it is richer in THC or in CBD - and the intended use - treat a condition, deal with work pressure - should always be part of the equation.
With this kind of analysis, it is easy to fall back on clichés like "if an employee takes a weed break, they're not going to be able to get things done afterwards." But this is not necessarily the case. They might have chosen a CBD-rich strain that soothes muscle pain, resulting either from a physically demanding occupation or from sitting all day, or that helps them deal with the stress of constant decision-making.
Companies that allow their employees to use cannabis at work
In any event, an increasing number of workers across the world are turning to cannabis as a remedy for work-related ailments, either physical or psychological. Regardless of the industry and the position, the number of people that light a joint when things get tough at work grows by the day, to the point that some employers have adopted cannabis-friendly policies that allow employees to smoke during their work hours.
And while it is true that most of these companies are in the cannabis industry - or their clients are - it is also true that they look favourably on employees that use the plant to boost their creativity before a brainstorming session or to relax after a stressful meeting. Hopefully, more companies will soon join this trend, contributing to a more open-minded society where cannabis is treated non-judgmentally. This would definitely come as very welcome news.