Managing pain safely and legally on the job

The prohibition of cannabis over the decades has led to the development of many negative stereotypes associated with the use of the plant. Fortunately, cannabis and opinions surrounding it have evolved. It is now used to safely and effectively manage the symptoms of a number of medical conditions. There is substantial evidence that suggests cannabis is successful in the treatment of chronic pain, depression, anxiety and a number of other conditions in adults.

The medical use of cannabis should be treated in the same manner as other pharmaceutical drugs within the workplace. It is not correct to assume that the use of medical cannabis will impair an employee’s ability to do the essential duties of their job, especially when considering the fact that not all forms of cannabis will get you “high”. The cannabis plant has over 100 cannabinoids. Two of the most studied cannabinoids and ones heard about most commonly, are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC contains psychoactive components which can get you “high”, while CBD doesn’t. We need to stop conflating recreational cannabis with medical cannabis. The fact is “medical cannabis patients are not looking to get high, they are looking to get well.” said Dr.Peter Blecher, Chief Medical Officer of Starseed.

The number of medical cannabis users in Canada continues to increase year over year. Health Canada projects that by 2024, there will be over 450,000 medical cannabis patients. So why limit your access to alternative forms of medical treatment by buying into incorrect, old-school stereotypes? There are ways that you can safely and legally obtain cannabis for your medical use on the job.

Consult a medical professional to get a prescription, and create a treatment plan

Considering medical cannabis as an alternate form of treatment for your chronic pain? Always consult a medical professional. It is important to note the difference in being under a medical professional’s care using medical cannabis and attempting to self-medicate using recreational cannabis.

There are many variables that can affect the way that your body reacts to cannabis such as the strain or dose prescribed. It is important to consult a medical professional to figure out the right strain and the right dose and with this, create a treatment plan that meets your needs.

Cannabis clinics are an alternative to a doctor when seeking medical cannabis. These clinics assess your medical needs, assist you in obtaining a prescription and create a treatment plan that is suitable for you. One such clinic is North Star Wellness with in-person or telemedicine appointment options.

Purchase your cannabis from a licensed producer

You may be tempted to purchase your cannabis from your friendly neighborhood dealer. This is illegal and not in your best medical interest. Cannabis produced by licensed producers such as Starseed Medicinal Inc. has strict quality control. Licensed producers have strict quality assurances in place to ensure every product that leaves the facility upholds Health Canada’s standards. This is not something you will get from the illicit market.

What is your employer's policy on medical cannabis at work?

It is important to be aware of your employer's stance on cannabis. With the legalization of recreational cannabis, many workplaces have put policies into place that outline cannabis use at work and distinguish between medical and recreational cannabis use. Be sure you’re clear on your employer's policy so you can work within the guidelines. If your employer does not have a policy, follow the strict instructions of care provided by your medical professional. Pay close attention to how cannabis affects your job performance and discuss openly and honestly with your assigned medical professional whether an adjustment is required in your treatment plan.

Alternatively, you can speak with your human resources department to create a new and fair policy for medicinal cannabis use. As a starting point, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has identified key elements for a policy that includes: roles and responsibilities; rules, policy violations, and consequences; procedure and prevention; and confidentiality and privacy.

Medical Cannabis is a prescription and should be treated like any other prescription.

Not covered under your works insurance plan? You have options! You can discuss the inclusion of cannabis under your current plan with your human resources department/workers' union, or suggest a more inclusive plan for the future.

To further simplify this process, Starseed Medicinal Inc. has helped plan sponsors develop responsible and customized plan options.

Don’t let incorrect information and negative stereotypes prevent you from getting access to the information, and/or treatment that could potentially provide you with a better quality of life. Download the “Medical Cannabis In The Workplace” guide to learn more about your options.

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Stay Informed. Stay Healthy.
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Sources:

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, “Workplace Strategies: Risk of Impairment from Cannabis”. 2nd edition, January/February 2018
Ubelacker, S. May 11, 2018. “Doctors divided over new medical-marijuana laws,” The Globe and Mail