Marijuana is most commonly used as a mood-altering (pychoactive) drug. It is a plant-based substance created by drying the flower, leaves and/or stems of the cannabis plant. It contains the psychoactive substance delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol (HCT). The presence of HCT classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance that affects almost every organ in the body.
However, tests have shown that marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes, helping treat such conditions as chronic pain, anxiety and nausea/vomiting. It is the use of marijuana for medical purposes that have accelerated the legalization of marijuana in several states in the U.S. This creates the question of how to harness the useful effects of this drug while eliminating those that are “harmful,” which caused it be classified it as an illegal drug for so long. This is where the term microdosing comes into play.
With the shift toward to the legalization of marijuana for medical and in some states recreational use, it is important to understand the term microdosing. Microdosing of psychedelic drugs has been done for centuries. This has been practiced by certain indigenous people (using peyote, for example) and was introduced by the inventor of LSD, Dr. Albert Hoffman, in the 1960s. What’s more, according to a recent article in GQ Magazine, some well-known Silicon Valley “gurus” take small doses of LSD to boost their productivity and creativity during the workday.
The idea behind microdosing is to keep the mind-altering effects under control by administering the drug under the perceptional dosage. As the term implies, this practice uses a small/micro amount of the active ingredient for each dosage, to harness the useful effects of the active ingredient only. In regards to marijuana, this means administering the HCT in a small enough dosage (usually around 5-10 milligrams) to be helpful and not “harmful”. Doctors already prescribing microdosed marijuana consider it to be more like an herbal supplement where “less is more,” according an article in Mashable.
Microdosing marijuana is usually administered to the patient via edibles like herbal teas, bite-sized chocolates and candies. Long gone are the days when marijuana users were detected by the distinct smell of marijuana smoke clinging to their garments! Medical marijuana usage could become as simple as drinking tea at breakfast or helping yourself to a small chocolate for dessert at lunch.
What does this mean to employers? Organizations need to be ready with detailed HR drug policies to ensure that workplace rules are clear to their employees. This will circumvent any doubt regarding marijuana use in the workplace.
The Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Ohio
When House Bill 523 went into effect on September 8, 2016, medical marijuana became legal in the state of Ohio. However, it will be one to two years after that effective date before anyone will be able to legally purchase cannabis for medical use. What House Bill 523 has established is an “affirmative defense” against prosecution for patients in possession of legally prescribed marijuana by a certified physician. This affirmative defense only protects patients using marijuana-infused edibles, tinctures, oils, patches and plant material. This definition is very similar to that of microdosing, so everyone must be ready for this eventuality, especially employers.
For more information, visit the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program website for an updated timeline as each aspect of Ohio law is defined and enforced.
Need Help Defining Your HR Drug Policy?
SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can review and update your HR manuals and provide workplace training to ensure your employees are clear on organizational drug policies. Contact us or call us at 330-255-1101 to speak with one of our HR Policies and Procedures specialists today!