Drugs & Alcohol

What was in that brownie?

by Brie Edmonds on September 12, 2017

marijuana-edibleYou know the smell. The someone’s-smoking-pot-smell. But did you know that, when baked, marijuana can become odorless, undetectable, and may even be more potent than when it is smoked1?

Unfortunately, the Davis Regional Medical Center emergency room staff unwittingly learned this lesson firsthand. In April 2017, an employee unknowingly brought in baked goods that were laced with oil derived from marijuana. The cookies and muffins were put in the community kitchen for colleagues to enjoy, which they did. While authorities say patient care was not compromised, it easily could have been in this situation.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) article Edible Marijuana: Issues for the Workplace notes that “consumption of marijuana by edible means is becoming more common in the growing number of states that have legalized the drug’s use.” This all begs the question, “Do we need to start questioning what is in the lunchroom brownies?”

As with any form of drug ingestion and its associated impairment, employers do need to be aware of the signs and symptoms. The impairing effects of marijuana can start quickly and can last for several hours. Marijuana that’s eaten can be more potent than marijuana that’s smoked, in part because the delayed onset of effect can lead to greater rates of drug consumption. Just Think Twice shares these negative effects of marijuana edibles:

  • Psychotic episodes
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Impaired motor ability

As state marijuana laws continue to change, it’s not surprising that marijuana use and drug test positivity are also on the rise. And while willing marijuana consumption is one issue, unknowing and unwilling consumption is something different and potentially more serious, especially as cases of emergency room visits, child illness, and accidental death associated with marijuana edibles continue to occur.

For more information about Employer Solutions and drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.


  1. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/edible-marijuana.aspx

Addiction Recovery: A Celebration of Life

by Pablo Bolanos on September 6, 2017

“Recovery makes me feel like that empty space in my heart is finally filled. I have the motivation and drive that I have never experienced before. For the first time in my life, I believe I have a purpose, and I am so much more than just a hopeless junkie sentenced to a life of misery. Failure is not in the fall; it’s when you stop getting back up.”—a recovering addict’s story about her journey of recovery and rehabilitation.

Most people struggling with substance use disorders have a desire to stop using drugs and alcohol, yet kicking the habit is not easy. What begins as a voluntary choice to experiment with drugs or alcohol can sometimes turn into a habit that is no longer a free-willed choice. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), continued substance abuse can change the brain in dramatic and sometimes toxic ways that can lead to compulsive and even uncontrollable drug use.

Our brain’s pleasure center is a primitive A/B rewarded system; we indulge in activities because our brain chemistry grows accustomed to feeling rewards as dopamine surges. Overstimulating the reward system produces euphoric effects that strongly reinforce behavior and conditions a person to repeat it. Addicts battle against this hard-wired chemistry and cannot simply wake up and acknowledge the destruction drugs have brought to their lives.

Associations like Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), NIDA, and countless others observe National Recovery Month in September to raise awareness about substance use disorders and celebrate individuals in recovery—individuals like Cody who uses his sobriety to help others see a brighter future:

“I suffered from a substance use disorder and today I just try to have an open ear to people that want to talk. I try to create a safe space. I help those that come in through these doors [at HOPE center] every day, and try to give them inspiration. I’ve got a job now. I’m actually being a part of society now, which I’ve never been. I love life. I’m content with myself now. You know, life isn’t all rainbows and giggles. Stuff happens, but it’s how I deal with it now. I go out there and help someone that’s struggling and by doing that, I help myself. I just want to create a wonderful place for people to come and open up. Because I’ve never had that before, and many others haven’t had that, either.”

For more information about Recovery Month, visit SAMSHA’s website dedicated to the cause. Read stories of recovery like Cody’s and use the toolkits to bring attention to the benefits of substance abuse treatment and mental health programs.

If you or someone you know is unable to stop using drugs or alcohol, seek a referral from your primary care physician or locate an addiction specialist through the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Learn more about substance use disorders and their development in our An Exploration of Addiction blog series.

America’s Favorite Illicit Drug: Marijuana

July 7, 2017Illicit drugs

Marijuana is the product of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, containing the psychoactive chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Despite its illegal status, the drug reigns as America’s favorite and most commonly detected illicit drug. Since the 1920s, marijuana has been the subject of myths and propaganda while also being glamorized by pop culture, movies, and television. Attitudes relaxed in […]

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Fighting Opioid Prescription Addiction

June 29, 2017News

Opioid addiction can begin with the best of intentions, like managing pain. The middle-aged male visits the ER for a back sprain. A typical teenager has her wisdom teeth removed by the oral surgeon. To minimize discomfort, the healthcare professional may prescribe 20 or more hydrocodone pills. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and […]

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Employers Paying the Price of Substance Abuse

May 9, 2017Drug Testing

Substance abuse in the workplace is increasing. For the past several years, data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ has shown an increase in drug test positivity in the American workforce. We knew that employee drug use was costly to businesses in turnover, absenteeism, accidents, and insurance. However, the actual cost employers bear for […]

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Common Questions about Marijuana

April 28, 2017Illicit drugs

Many employers continue to ask questions about marijuana in the era of state legislation surrounding medical and recreational use statutes. In an effort to provide information about topics related to the science, drug testing, policy, and the law, Quest Diagnostics experts have provided responses to the some of the most frequently asked questions we receive […]

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Side-Effects of Quitting Marijuana

April 20, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

April is a month when avid marijuana consumers, distributors, and marketers ramp up their efforts to reach audiences as they hype up the unofficial pot smoker’s holiday – 4/20. It’s possible that more first-time users will try the drug this year than in year’s past because of relaxing attitudes and increasing societal tolerance towards marijuana. […]

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Cannabinol State Laws

March 28, 2017Drug Testing

Chemically complex, the cannabis sativa plant, known as marijuana, has hundreds of active compounds and cannabinoids. Ratios of chemicals and potency can differ based on the age of the plant, the origin, and the method of cultivation. Some of the more well-known chemicals in marijuana include: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): Primary psychoactive ingredient that produces a “high” Cannabidiol […]

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The Case for Maintaining a Drug Testing Policy

March 16, 2017Drug Testing

Employers conduct drug testing for a number of reasons – pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, and return-to-duty. Of these, reasonable suspicion can often be the most litigious and, as such, points out the importance of creating and maintaining a comprehensive workplace drug testing policy and program. The case of Layne v. Kanawha County Board of […]

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Employee Protections in the Era of Medical Marijuana Legislation

March 10, 2017Drug Testing

More than twenty states have enacted medical marijuana laws since Proposition 215 was passed by California voters in 1996. The earliest medical marijuana laws typically only provided criminal protections, however in the past two decades, laws are now extending protections to housing, schooling, domestic relations, and employment. State marijuana regulations uniquely address aspects such as […]

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