Weed doesn’t keep you from going to work. Quite the opposite: cannabis may help you show up and not stay at home, faking or being sick. Instead of compelling workers to stay at home or not show up, absenteeism — the act of not showing up for work — decreased in states with medical marijuana laws on the books, according to a recent study.
Earlier research on the connection between cannabis and workplace productivity — or the lack of any connection whatsoever — has found that, generally, marijuana has little to no effect on workers’ desire or ability to show up for their shifts, the Washington Post reported, though chronic and heavy users may have problems.
In states with medical marijuana laws, workers reported staying home sick from work at rates eight percent less than in other states, according to economist Darin Ullman, who crunched data that included absenteeism rates in 24 states with some kind of medical cannabis allowance.
But that was all states with medical cannabis on the books. When he looked at states where the laws are “lax” — that is, where just about anyone can get medical marijuana, including California — sick time decreased even further, by 13 percent.
It’s not clear if the healthier workers are healthier because of cannabis or because of other factors, such as documented decreases in both the use of alcohol and prescription painkillers in places where medical cannabis is available.
“There are any number of factors that could have accounted for a drop in absenteeism in the states Ullman studied — better access to health care, better workplace wellness programs, improved employee health overall, etc,” the Post observed. “The decline in absenteeism could be driven more by any of those factors than by whatever happened to the state’s marijuana laws.”
Or maybe, with medical-grade cannabis available, there’s no need for people to use Spice or K2. Fewer face-eating zombies around is good for everyone, including the working stiffs.
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