Assembly line worker fights to use medical marijuana at work

Josh Jacquot will be meeting with his union and representatives of Ventra Assembly Wednesday to settle a dispute that started after the 23-year-old said he had to leave work after being told he couldn't use the doctor-prescribed drugs.

Cannabis oil no more effective than 'candy,' says addictions expert

Josh Jacquot displays some of the medical marijuana products he uses to treat his anxiety and depression. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

A Windsor man is fighting for the right to use medical marijuana at work, but an addictions expert says he might not have a case because cannabis oil is no more effective than "candy."

On Wednesday, Josh Jacquot will meet with his union and representatives of Ventra Assembly to discuss whether he can use cannabis oil in the workplace. Their dispute started after the 23-year-old said he was told he couldn't use medical marijuana at work.

"This obviously doesn't help my anxiety and depression," the assembly line worker said. "I actually went off work to get better, not to get worse."

Josh Jacquot says he needs his employer to accommodate his use of medical marijuana at work. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

After explaining to his bosses that medical marijuana prescribed by his physician was helping him get better, Jacquot said Ventra told him to use prescription drugs. But Jacquot said he's tried more traditional drugs in the past, and they didn't work. Without marijuana to treat his illness he's been off sick since November.

Medical marijuana more common

Ontario law states employers must accommodate employees who require prescription drugs.

Bill Bogart believes we could be seeing "the beginning of the end of the war on drugs." (Bill Bogart/Submitted)

The use of marijuana in these cases has evolved in recent years as more people have used it to treat chronic pain, according to University of Windsor law professor Bill Bogart.

"It's far better to have people on medical marijuana than opioids because we all know what kinds of problems opioids can cause," he said. "Once it's clear that you are entitled to use medical marijuana it becomes like any other use of a drug."

Jacquot uses cannabis oil with the ingredient CBD. He claims it doesn't get him high like THC, another active compound in marijuana. Using the oil also means he doesn't have to smoke the drug.

Cannabis oil a placebo

Addiction counsellor Dr. Tony Hammer said no tests have been done to prove CBD works the way users claim it does, so any evidence of its effectiveness is anecdotal.

Dr. Tony Hammer says there isn't scientific evidence to back up Jacquot's claims. (Sean Previl for CBC News)

In his opinion cannabis oil is no more effective than "candy," so Ventra isn't obligated to let Jacquot use it.

Jacquot maintains that marijuana is the only thing that's helped him and is hopeful that after the meeting Wednesday, he'll be able to get back to work.

"Basically, we're just trying to see what the company has to say as right now," he said. "I'm still dealing with anxiety and depression."

With files from Dale Molnar