The U.S. cannabis marketplace looks nothing like it did even 10 years ago. In the last decade, the legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana has led to the development of a rapidly expanding industry. Businesses within this unique industry are finding customers with diverse needs and tastes for their cannabis consumption.
For employers struggling to keep up with changing culture and evolving laws, it can be disheartening to know that the bag of gummy bears on your employee’s desk or dashboard might actually be infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the oldest hallucinogenic drugs around, and the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. At the same time, many companies want to be conscientious and understanding of employees who use cannabis-based products for legitimate medical purposes.
As a general reference, there were approximately 14,000 registered medical marijuana users in Nevada in 2016.
By comparison, the number of those registered in California was just over 750,000.
In the dispensaries and cannabis shops that have sprung up throughout cities nationwide, customers find far more than just one or two types of cannabis. They shop among THC-infused foods, study various topical options, sort through concentrated syrups, lozenges, tinctures and tablets while choosing from a wide array of flowers (buds) and vape oils.
Options abound at these highly controlled stores, frequented by medical marijuana cardholders and recreational users, depending on the state in which you reside. On the flip side, other cannabis-related products, such as cannabidiol (CBD) oil, can be purchased online by anyone, anywhere across the county, including natural food stores. CBD does not contain THC, the ingredient in cannabis that produces feelings of being “high.”
With so many products on the market, it can be tough for employers in marijuana-tolerant states to keep track of what’s legal and appropriate for their employees to be using .
The three types of cannabis are indica, sativa and hybrid. These indicate the type of plant from which the flower (bud) was sourced.
More people than ever are using cannabis-derived oils for a variety of reasons. While some offer intoxicating effects (THC), others (CBD) lack psychoactive properties, but are said to manage pain.
WHAT IS THC OIL AND WHAT ARE THOSE PENS?
THC oil is an extract of the flower (bud) of the cannabis plant. It is taken orally, topically, or can be infused into candies, baked goods and other foods. THC is the main psychoactive element of the cannabis plant. TCH gives users the associated “high” with smoking buds. Because of its concentrated nature, the risks of overuse are high. THC oil is regulated in exactly the same was as the buds of the plant.
The primary method of use for THC oil is by inhaling it through vaporizer pens and other apparatuses. Many of these pens and vaporizers resemble popular e-cigarettes and tobacco oil vaporizers.
“Vape pens,” as they’re known, contain a concentrated form of THC called butane hash oil. Vape pens emit an odorless vapor that is nearly impossible for the average person to detect. Often, vape pens are unmarked, so there’s no way to tell whether your employee is vaping on tobacco or concentrated cannabis.
Have you heard of THCA ? It’s a compound found in live and raw cannabis,
which turns into THC when the plant is dried. THCA contains no psychoactive properties,
but is being investigated for its potential therapeutic properties.
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
Cannabidiol oil (CBD) is also known in some forms or varieties as hemp oil, CBG oil and CBN oil. It is derived from the leaves and stems of the cannabis plant, which don’t contain the same psychoactive properties as the flower.
Widely available online and in stores, CBD oil is regulated like other supplement products and is legal to buy and consume. Because it does not contain the same metabolites as THC oil, it is not detectable in drug tests.
Users of CBD oil consume it orally, either via drops under the tongue, in capsules or through CBD-infused products. While CBD oil offers similar pain-relieving and anti-anxiety effects as THC oil, it does not give users a “high” or a sense of being under the influence. Research studies have shown CBD oil is effective in relieving symptoms of anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer, chronic pain and more.
ALL ABOUT EDIBLES
Cannabis product makers have taken advantage of just about every form of food and drink to infuse with THC and CBD. Candy, beverages, cookies, brownies, pop tarts, honey, jelly, milk and more – it’s all available for those with access.
Many of these products mimic the styling and logos of common food brands, increasing the likelihood that they will be mistaken for normal grocery items. The usual recommended dose on these products is for 10 mg of THC, which some equate to about half of a joint. However, because the THC from edibles enters the system a completely different way, people’s reactions and tolerance can be quite different.
When smoking cannabis, the user feels the effect nearly immediately and can quickly decide when enough is enough. The THC in edible products must first be digested and metabolized throughout the system before the user feels any effect. For this reason, some people ingest too much. While there aren’t any cases of individuals dying from THC infused edibles, overuse can cause extreme disorientation, anxiety, and malaise.
Remaining informed is an employer’s best course of action to minimizing the risk to their employees and clients’ safety. There are many options for ingesting THC. Cannabis use can take place right at the office with no one the wiser.