Study Finds That Smoking Weed After Work Does Not Impact Job Performance

Research Suggests That Cannabis Use Can Actually Have a Positive Affect on Work Performance

As a cannabis user, you may have faced judgment from other colleagues – you don’t smoke during your shift, but people still assume that you’re lazy, unmotivated, or don’t have your priorities in check. This kind of judgment may have encouraged you to keep your weed habit a secret entirely.

But now, thanks to new research from San Diego State University, you can tell your disapproving colleagues that they’re wrong to judge with evidence to back it up.


A recently published study from the university found that off-hours cannabis consumption does not affect a worker’s ability to perform well in the workplace.

The study comes at a pivotal time for workers who use cannabis. Several states have begun to ban pre-employment drug testing, but the stigma still prevails.

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,” explained Dr. Jeremy Berneth, a management professor at San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business. He led the study alongside H. Jack Walker, a management professor at Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business.

Specifically, Berneth and Walker looked into cannabis use at different times – before, during, or after work – and how that variable may relate to core job requirements, helpfulness, and counterproductive behavior.

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,” the university wrote in its introduction of the study.

The study surveyed 281 employees and their direct supervisors. Each participant was asked a series of questions – these pertained to the frequency and timing of their cannabis use (if they use it at all) and how their use may relate to various components of their output in the workplace. Supervisors were then asked to give an honest assessment of their employees’ performances.

The results proved good news for cannabis lovers. Researchers found no correlation between cannabis use after work and job performance. This means that lighting up after a long day of work bears nothing on your ability to work hard – something you probably already knew.


“The findings are obviously consequential for scholars and organizations who believe that all cannabis use negatively impacts workplace behaviors,” said Bernerth. “Our research suggests there is no evidence that after-work usage compromises work performance as assessed by one’s direct supervisor.”

The research offers other positive observations for cannabis-using workers. Berneth suggests that, while the research does not directly show this, after-work cannabis use may give employees the energy recharge they need for the next day.

The relaxation induced by cannabis may help employees restore energy spent during the day and they may subsequently return with more stamina to devote to their job once they are back on the clock.”

Despite research like this coming forward, there’s still a strong stigma against cannabis use in many work environments. Berneth hopes that barriers can be broken down with more research.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to research cannabis usage about workplace behaviors in nearly 20 years. We hope this research can provide organizations with the necessary information to structure their substance policies.”