Medical Marijuana Benefits in the Workplace
Updated: Mar 3, 2021
By now, you’ve probably heard of at least a few benefits that marijuana can have on someone's health. This includes easing anxiety, PTSD, nausea from cancer, etc. Because of the reduced inflammation and pain management that marijuana offers, many states are now legalizing the substance. The result? Less workers’ compensation claims, workers have shown less reliance on social insurance programs, and there has been an increase in work capacity among older adults. In addition, one study showed that access to medical marijuana significantly decreased the amount of workplace fatalities — a 19.5% reduction to be exact. While there is still more research to be done, studies so far have shown an overwhelmingly positive amount of feedback when it comes to marijuana’s benefits, and it’s something policymakers should keep in mind moving forward. More details from Brendan Bures below.
States legalize medical marijuana to help patients manage an array of major conditions, including cancer, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, and depression. Medical cannabis also allows individuals to manage minor injuries and general inflammation caused by their jobs. In turn, this could lead to a decline in workers’ compensation claims, a new study finds.
Published in Health Economics, the study highlights how medical marijuana laws create ripple effects beyond managing serious illnesses. By analyzing survey data between 1989 and 2012, researchers determined medical marijuana legalization causes a 6.7% decline in workers’ comp claims for workers ages 15 and older. There was also a modest decrease in the propensity to claim as well as the amount of money paid out by workers’ comp.
“The findings suggest additional benefits to expanded access to medical marijuana: increased work capacity and less reliance on social insurance programs among workers,” said Johanna Catherine Maclean, a corresponding author on the study.
Medical marijuana created positive effects beyond workers comp claims, according to the study’s researchers. Older adults in medical marijuana states displayed increases in work capacity. In addition, the study reported reduced work absences and improved workplace safety as a result of medical marijuana’s effect on workers.
Last year, a study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy found that access to medical marijuana dropped the rate of workplace fatalities. “Legalizing medical marijuana was associated with a 19.5% reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities among workers aged 25–44,” the study reported.
Making workplaces safer and lowering the amount companies pay out in workers’ comp claims seems like a win-win for both parties involved. Researchers behind the study agree.
“Policymakers may wish to consider these benefits when considering medical marijuana regulation,” Maclean said.