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Cannabidiol (CBD) is an increasingly popular substance that more people are choosing to utilize. Even athletes have turned to cannabis products to treat their bodies after rigorous games and training sessions. From epilepsy to pain and even sleep, the size of the opportunity in the CBD industry is becoming larger than ever.

With the expansion of the Farm Bill legalizing hemp-based CBD products, the use of cannabis in the workplace to combat fatigue and increase productivity is becoming increasingly popular. Whether you’re an employer or employee, understanding how CBD may increase productivity in the workplace can be beneficial.

There have been a considerable amount of studies done on different cannabinoid formulations, not just on CBD. The studies focused on all kinds of areas that could impact you at work, including memory, computer or telephone skills, even driving skills. We don’t know exactly which cannabinoid causes any type of concerning problems surrounding any of these issues. The products that were tested in these settings were formulations.

They were combinations of multiple different cannabinoids. It is possible that CBD could have an effect in any one of the places where all of these different cannabinoids impacted people. It’s worth keeping in mind and exercising a significant amount of caution so that you do things properly and safely at your workplace; you want to maintain an excellent work environment for yourself.

We used to think that people who used cannabinoid formulations regularly had ongoing difficulties with their memory and IQ. But in fact, further studies have shown that there’s really no significant changes in IQ.

Studies on CBD and work

It was initially a British study that suggested a drop in IQ of seven points when people used cannabinoids regularly. But then a subsequent New Zealand study said that there was actually no significant change in IQ. There was a US study finally done that was very well done. It had almost twice the number of people studied than either the New Zealand or the British study. The US study also had a number of identical twins. One of whom was using cannabinoid formulations and one of whom was not. In the identical twin pairs, there was no change in IQ.

The U.S. study involving several thousand people are the best research today to say that there is no impact on IQ with the use of cannabinoid formulations. However, significant heavy use of cannabinoid formulations can lead to changes in memory. Again, we don’t know which cannabinoid is implicated in this. It is possible that some people could see changes in their short term memory capacity with high dose usage or high serving sizes of CBD.

The advice previously was to wait for at least three months and memory function would return. Subsequent studies said that short term memory deficits would resolve after just three weeks.

The most recent data and the best data is suggesting that memory function will return in just one week after discontinuation of a cannabinoid formulation. If you are noticing any changes in your memory, discontinuing should have resolved your problem in just one week.

Computer and Phone Skills

There’s also some concerns around computer skills and telephone skills. Even though a CBD is not psychoactive, it doesn’t get you high, doesn’t mean it can’t result in a considerable amount of calm. Both of these have been studied with cannabinoid formulations.

It’s been very hard to determine if there’s any difference or any measurable difference that can be seen with computer and phone skills. There appears to be subtle changes. A lot of those changes are dependent on how long a person has been at their job. Also, how well memorized they have their job.

A lot of the tasks in a job are somewhat repetitive. After we’ve done them for a while, we can do them even if we’re not 100%.

A small amount of CBD or other cannabinoid formulation is probably not going to result in a significant change in computer or phone skills, especially if these skills are constantly learned and memorized.

There may be issues if you’re trying to perform a new task in the setting of having administered a cannabinoid formulation. There could be issues that you might be able to pick up in your own personal effectiveness or your own personal rapidness of getting your work done. These are not yet measurable by any testing measure applied so far.

Computer and phone skills, in conclusion, may be impacted by using CBD, but they don’t appear to be impacted in a way that can be measured by any particular test that is available. At this point, they don’t appear to be negatively impacted to the point that we could argue that there’s a problem.

Driving Skills

There could be potential issues with driving. The driving data is all over the place. We don’t know if it’s the CBD that results in relaxation and changes to your driving skills or if it’s another portion of a cannabinoid formulation. However, it does appear that people who use cannabinoid formulations may have a little more lane weave.

However, some of the best research we have looks at patients who have been taking cannabinoid formulations for years for management of chronic pain syndromes like multiple sclerosis. One company has 55,000 patient-years backing up their product that shows no increased risks of issues with motor vehicle violations, not even an increased risk of parking tickets.

So even though there may be a slight amount of lane weave, it’s really hard to say if cannabinoids are actually contributing to any risk with driving. However, that’s probably what’s come behind testing for some companies that are very rigorously testing people who are involved in transportation authority or who are driving heavy machinery. This is where your selection of CBD becomes so important.


CBD has great benefits for the workplace, but patients should keep in mind that CBD is not a benign substance. Its essential patients determine their own ideal dose as too much CBD can be harmful.

It is also important to understand the policies related to hiring and retention of medical cannabis users. Federal employees and government contractors have been warned against consuming CBD as the FDA maintains it’s illegal.

Before choosing CBD, patients should be aware of the employment risks associated with use. Patients should also be aware of how CBD affects them specifically and of CBD’s side effects before choosing to use it at work.

James T. writes about education, science, music and art. He has a Psychology degree from the University of Central Florida, and an Information Technology degree from the University of Phoenix.

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