How Accurate is Hair Testing for Marijuana Use?

The upcoming legalization of cannabis in October has Canadian employers looking for various ways to test for marijuana and cannabis use in the workplace. This has lead to increasing interest in hair testing for marijuana use.

How accurate is hair testing for marijuana use compared to other methods? We’ll examine this question below.

Hair Testing for Marijuana Use: How it Works

Most employers are familiar with urine and saliva tests, which analyze bodily fluids to determine if drugs are present in the test subject’s body. Hair testing, in contrast, flags the presence of drugs in a hair follicle sample. Hair can be used to test for numerous substances, including prescription drugs and cannabis.

THC and other cannabinoids are deposited in hair follicles through the user’s bloodstream, binding to the tissue and cells surrounding the root of the hair. The hair containing the drug peaks above the scalp between 5 and 7 days later.

Unlike cannabinoids in blood, traces of cannabis remain in the follicle long after the person has used the drug, meaning it can be detected weeks or months afterwards. Once THC is present in the hair, there is no way to remove it. However, when the hair is cut off, the new hair that grows in its place will not contain THC unless the person has used within the 5-7-day timeframe.

Accuracy of a Hair Test for Marijuana and Cannabis Use

Hair testing is recognized as being a highly accurate method of testing for drug use. It takes just one picogram per milligram of THC to trigger a positive result in a hair test for marijuana use and requires only 1.5 inches of hair to test (an amount comparable to the tip of a shoelace.) It is said to be 6-10 times more effective than a urine test.

Hair Testing vs. Other Tests for Marijuana and Cannabis Use

  • Compared to urine testing: cannabis is detectable in urine up to 72 hours after use. A hair test can detect cannabis use over a period of months. Since a hair sample can be collected from the test subject directly (whereas a urine sample is given in private), it is impossible to ‘beat’ a hair test by surreptitiously swapping in a ‘clean’ sample from someone else.
  • Compared to blood testing: blood tests can detect cannabis for a maximum of 7 days after use, while hair testing can detect cannabis months after use. Hair tests for marijuana and cannabis use are less invasive to collect than blood tests, which are administered by technicians in laboratory environment.

Ontario Landlords Crying Foul Over Marijuana Use in Their Units

When Ontario’s rules for use recreational marijuana were announced last year, one of the more controversial aspects was where it could be consumed. Unlike some countries overseas, there would be no so-called marijuana cafes here where people could congregate and smoke. Recreational marijuana can only be smoked inside a person’s home and nowhere else. While that seemed like a compromise that some people were willing to accept (albeit reluctantly), some Ontario landlords have strenuously objected.

This group not only wants to ban pot use in their units before it is even legal this July, they also want the right to change existing leases to add the restriction (they have the right to add it to the lease of any unit rented after legalization begins). While one can understand this objection from a cost standpoint (they argue it can be about $5,000 to remove the smoke smell causes by frequent users), there is also the issue that pot fumes will seep into other units, just like cigarette smoke.

The problem for users is that if they cannot smoke at home, what can they do? It makes marijuana use illegal once again, which is one of the very things the law change was supposed to eliminate. Also, do landlords even have the right to ban what will be a legal substance for those 19 and over?

Anyone who has had dealings with the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board knows that it already functions less than optimally. If landlords try to force this upon tenants and attempt to evict those that do not comply, it could lead to many more cases at an entity that can hardly keep up as it is.

One good compromise would be common sense, just like not constantly cooking meals that have a harsh smell or playing music into the late hours of the evening. We will find out in the months to come.

 

Money Saving Tips for Small Business

Small business owners know all about working long hours and having to make their way in an often-crowded market. The ones that thrive use all manner of strategies to stand out, lure in new customers, and stay ahead of the competition. Some of these involve innovation, extensive planning, and careful timing. However, one of the main assets of any small business is shrewd financial sense. Very few have an unlimited source of capital, so what are the best ways to not only use the cash available, but also generate more?

Here are some common ways that a small business can save money:

Utility Costs

Use a programmable thermostat to turn down the heat/air conditioning during off-hours. Inspect the property for gaps in windows, doorways, and cracks that can be causing hot/cool air to escape. Also, think about whether you really need to have your sign and equipment on after a certain point in the evening.

Paper Usage

With digital storage, there is no need to print so many things. Implement optional e-mailing of customer receipts, and when you do have to print, always do it double-sided.

Consider Used Equipment

If you are running a cupcake store in a small town, you don’t really need new, top of the line equipment every few years. However, many large businesses insist upon this, even if they don’t really need it either. As a result, if you hunt around, major bargains are available when it comes to things like used computers, cash registers, printers, etc.

Take Full Advantage of Social Media

Television advertising is rarely within the budget of small businesses nowadays, and newspapers are a dying breed. However, the internet offers many cost-effective (read: free) ways to attract new customers and remind previous ones that you would love to have them back.

Create an active presence on big social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also engage the services of a digital marketing company specializing in this sort of promotion (many offer small packages for companies that don’t have a lot of money set aside for advertising).

Repealing Net Neutrality and Its Possible Effects on Small Businesses

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has made it clear that he wants to eliminate Net Neutrality, and the vote is scheduled for later today. In short, if it passes, the Title II classification of internet providers would cease. That would remove any legal barriers the FCC has for stopping internet providers from throttling a person’s service, blocking users from certain websites, and implementing paid “fast lanes.” This could also lead to new limitations on free speech. All of these should be of concern to the average American.

It is clear that corporate megaliths like Comcast will benefit from the abolition of net neutrality, but how will small business people fare under these changes?

Online Business

If a good portion of your business takes place online, this could definitely impact your bottom line. Consumers like to save money, but they also don’t like to wait. If a site becomes noticeably slower and more cumbersome to navigate, people will be less inclined to use it.

Theoretically, if your business is deemed to be in competition with say, AT & T, there would be nothing to stop that company from slowing down their subscribers’ access to your website. In addition to declining sales, fewer visitors per day will also cause your site’s search ranking to sink, making it less likely to attract new traffic. Also, if you host promotional videos, slower speed will cause them to freeze and buffer, leading to fewer views and people exiting prematurely.

Extra Cost

Of course, should these changes occur, your business would likely have the option to pay the provider a higher fee and not face these speed limitations. But who wants to pay extra for their internet, particularly when it seems likely that said fees will regularly increase? It’s essentially the equivalent of paying protection money to the mob and being subject to their whims.

It is possible that such a situation will motivate start-up companies to offer cheaper packages aimed at the small business person. Alas, everything about this bill seems like a handout to the big boys, so it is tough to say whether such upstarts could even get enough of a foothold to make a go of it.