Edible and vape cannabis products are due to join smoking pot on the decriminalized list this fall, and some companies are creating products they say could be used to improve workers’ job performance.
“There are plenty of products that get you really really ripped, and they do a great job, but we didn’t want to be better in that category, we wanted to create something wholly different,” says Tristan Watkins, CSO of Lucid Mood, which produces vapes called Energy, Chill, Calm, Lift, Bliss and Focus, with the intention to “Elevate your mood without clouding your mind.”
The cannabis plant has thousands of organic compounds called terpenes and around 200 different cannabinoids, with the famous ones being psychoactive THC and pain-masking CBD.
“It started from a general observation that different strains provided different feelings, moods and effects. So we asked the question is there more to cannabis? We looked at turpenes and other cannabinoids which led us to this notion that if we tightly control which cannabis compounds are delivered, we can much more directly control the intended moods people will experience.”
Companies such as Lucid Mood employ chemists to isolate each compound and then test them, both individually and in combination with others, to unlock different desired effects.
Edibles companies, such as Plus Products, market sugar coated gummies with similar claims of effects such as confidence or serenity. They often contain 5 miligrams of THC and can be used to micro-dose desired effects through the day.
But even if these claims are true, won’t workers face disciplinary action?
“Occupational Health and Safety Regulations require people to be fit for work and that means they are not impaired by alcohol, legal cannabis, an illegal drug or a prescription drug,” says Michael Howcroft, partner at Blake, Cassels and Graydon.
“But just because you took something cannabis related, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be disciplined. It would depend on the nature of the work – the more safety sensitive the work is, the risk to the public, coworkers and themselves, what the actual science of the product is and the employer’s workplace policies,” he added.
Tim Summers, associate lawyer with Crease Harman says that without tools like a breathalyzer there are issues around defining impairment.
“Firstly, there is a huge amount of uncertainty as to at what point a person is impaired by cannabis, so it would be difficult to determine what the subjective effect of a product on a single person would be without some other external indications, such as glassy eyes or delayed speech. Secondly, if the product is prescribed by a doctor as a result of a medical condition, ADHD maybe, then the employer will have a ‘reasonable duty to accommodate’ whatever the underlying condition is. If the product is in fact improving the employee’s performance, it will be hard to argue that there was even any deficit to accommodate.”
Both lawyers advise employees talk with their employer, check policies and seek legal advice on their specific situation, before using cannabis products at work.