Researchers determine the effects of after-hours cannabis use on workplace performancePosted by On


Although it has become increasingly accepted for medical and recreational use, cannabis is still considered among one of the most widely used illegal substances in the United States and in many European countries. A common assumption is that cannabis consumption before or during work hours causes substandard work performance, yet there has been very little scientific exploration regarding the impact of cannabis use after working hours.

Dr. Jeremy Bernerth, management professor at San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business and H. Jack Walker, management professor at Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business set out to determine the effects of different types of cannabis use (before, during and after hours) on work performance, especially as it relates to core job requirements, helping colleagues or their organizations, and counterproductive behavior in the workplace. Their research titled “Altered States or Much to Do About Nothing? A Study of When Cannabis Is Used in Relation to the Impact It Has on Performance” was recently published in Group & Organization Management.

Given the popularity of cannabis on a national level, it should be of little surprise that organizations spend billions of dollars each year addressing what many believe is a problem. To our knowledge, this is the first study to research cannabis usage in relation to workplace behaviors in nearly 20 years. We hope this research can provide organizations with the necessary information to structure their substance policies.”


Dr. Jeremy Bernerth, Management Professor at San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business

Surveying employees and their supervisors

The researchers studied key job requirements (called “task performance” in the study), the willingness to voluntarily help the organization or their colleagues (called “citizenship behavior”), and the counterproductive work behavior of employees by surveying 281 employees and their direct supervisors. Participating employees and managers were recruited through social media and with the help of university business students, though cannabis usage was not required of the survey participants.

Each employee was asked about the frequency and the timing of their cannabis use as it relates to their work shift (for example, how often over the past 12 months had they used cannabis within two hours before starting the workday). Their supervisors were asked to assess their employee’s task performance, citizenship behavior and counterproductive work behavior.

The results

After tabulating all the responses, the researchers found a negative correlation between those who used cannabis before and during work with task performance. This…

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