Marijuana in the Workplace:  It’s about impairment and not just presence

Quest Diagnostics just reported Increasing numbers of positive post-accident marijuana drug tests that represent an important challenge for employers.

What so impressed me with Zxerex compared to other companies was that they have the rare combination of scientific rigor and go-to-market strategy.”

— Andrew Freedman – Forbes Tate, Former Marijuana Czar, State of Colorado

SCOTTSDALE, AZ, USA, May 19, 2023/ — It was expected that the legalization of recreational Marijuana would increase positive drug test results in the workplace. As the use of marijuana became more pervasive, urine test positivity was expected to rise for random as well as for cause or post-accident testing.

Quest Diagnostics just reported that in a 10-year timeframe of 2012 to 2022, the “post-accident marijuana positivity increased 204.2%” as compared to the prior 10 years. According to Katie Mueller, senior program manager at the National Safety Council focusing on cannabis safety, “intoxicating cannabis products, including marijuana, can have a major impact on safety at work and have been proven to slow reaction time, impact memory and impair skills essential to driving….The Quest data provide compelling evidence that increased use of cannabis products by employees can contribute to greater risk for injuries in the workplace.”

Also, according to Quest, the overall drug positivity rate for general workforce urine testing was observed to increase widely across U.S. industries, and the “overall positivity in the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce based on more than 2.9 million urine drug tests climbed 9.1% year over year (2.2% in 2021 and 2.4% in 2022).”

In anticipation of this issue, Zxerex Corporation, a neuroscience-based technology company that focused on risk mitigation by identifying impairment related to drug use (such as marijuana and opioids) and workplace fatigue ( Zxerex core technology was developed at Arizona State University and the Barrow Neurological Institute and enhanced by human subject trials at major medical research institutions.

The company’s research in impairment screening led to the development of a biosignature for marijuana that rapidly detects temporary neurologic impairment in real-time (2-3 minutes).

• It is well-accepted that marijuana remains in the body for several days or weeks following its use.

• The continued presence of marijuana in the body may result in a positive urine or saliva test even though the person is no longer impaired, making real-time impairment screening an important part of a marijuana risk management program.

• Positive marijuana tests in the absence of impairment can have devastating outcomes, especially for companies with liability concerns, and where zero-tolerance drug policies lead to the dismissal of a skilled employee.

As more states adopt medical and recreational marijuana, it’s likely that positivity rates will continue to climb. Developing a marijuana risk management and deterrence policy that embeds impairment screening for impairment testing is a worthwhile consideration.

Aside from post-accident screening for impairment, the routine screening of employees with safety-sensitive positions can discourage those who might otherwise show up impaired.

Being able to detect impairment when it counts is an important benefit to the employee and company. When combined with an employer’s in-house safety program, screening performed at the beginning of a work shift can help to reduce accident and injury rates, lower absenteeism, and improve productivity.

For further information, please contact: Richard Besserman, M.D., CSO, [email protected]

Source: Quest Diagnostics Press Release:,-Quest-Diagnostics-Drug-Testing-Index-Analysis-Finds

Richard Besserman, M.D., CSO
+1 480-518-9905
[email protected]

Marijuana: Presence vs. Impairment in the Workplace

Originally published at

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